Lady Cards Deliver the Win Over UConn
Lady Cards Deliver the Victory over UConn
by Steve Thompson
It was an electrifying atmosphere at the KFC YUM Center Thursday night, as the Lady Cards defeated the UConn Lady Huskies, 78-69. It took many years and 18 attempts to achieve this milestone, and Cardinal nation showed up to celebrate, 17,023 strong.
The nervous energy was everywhere, the fans, media, staff, everybody was feeling the Chi pregame. Although the University has struggled at times this year to “get it right”, with the changing face of their athletic culture, they earned the sixth man award last night.
The epic event started with 8 year old Addison Clarkson, who is blind, singing the national anthem, all by herself without any musical accompaniment. Not only did Addison hit all the notes and deliver a moving rendition, her courage, strength and enthusiasm ignited the YUM center into an ovation fit for someone like Bruce Springsteen. I watched the faces of the Lady Cardinal players as they stood in awe of this beautiful child, it was then, I felt the stage was set for what turned out to be a great performance.
UConn came out swinging as, Katie Lou Samulsen proved why she is one of the best players in the country. The Lady Huskies pressured the ball early, with traps and double teams to try and interrupt Louisville’s offensive flow and most of all, stop Asia Durr from scoring. Coach Geno Aurriemma’s strategy worked early, limiting Durr’s scoring. Although Geno rolled the dice, he forgot to factor into the equation, multiple other Lady Cards that can knock it down…and they did.
Tied 21-21 after the first quarter, Auriemma had to adjust his defense to stop the kickouts, and inside dumps that were building Louisville’s momentum. After the second quarter adjustment, Durr was open and she went all-in, full Asia, completing three consecutive 3 pointers, to send the YUM center into the ionosphere of noise. Durr scored 14 of her 24 points during the second quarter and played extremely tight defense, Asia Durr however, is not the reason the Lady Cards won this game.
The reason the Lady Cards won this game, Asia said, as she put it in her own words, “everybody got loose and got going”. Dana Evans dominated her defenders as she poured in 20 points, while Jazzmine Jones found her touch inside and added 13 points and 12 huge rebounds.
The unsung heroes of this great victory are Sam Fuehring and Bionca Dunham. Both played exception post defense, combined for 10 and 8 (18) points and 12 and 7 (19) rebounds collectively. They took the lumps and cleaned up inside.
The Lady Cardinals are the real-deal and now they must sustain it, every day, every possession, every game. This might not be the last time they see U Conn this year and there are multiple high caliber opponents between now and tournament time.
When coach Jeff Waltz was asked how big a moment this was for him and the program, he replied by saying, “We just beat a coach and team who have a record of 205-6, this is huge for our program”.