Beantown! Louisville Cardinals women’s basketball is up in Boston to pahk the cah at a college not to fah from the Hahvahd Yahd. The #5 Cards have opened ACC play with five straight wins and look to be leaving the loss to Ohio State well in the rear view. Meanwhile the Eagles of Boston College are treading water as best they can with a 2-3 conference record. The Eagles did pick up a quality win at Notre Dame, their first there since 2006, but given the Irish’s woes this season that win loses some luster. Statistically BC looks fierce, but the Cardinals may find them to be a paper tiger. Or eagle. Whatever.

Game Info:

DATE: Thurs 16 Jan 2020
TIME: 7:00 p.m. EST
SITE: Conte Forum (Chestnut Hill, MA)
WATCH: ACC Network Extra
LISTEN: 790 AM WKRD

First off, kudos to the Cards who are rolling right along. A rough quarter against Wake Forest was erased by three solid quarters of play, and that’s the kind of poise that gets you far in March. Dana Evans’ performance so far earned her a spot in the mid-season Wooden Award top 25 watch list. Evans is settling in to the point quite well despite a few early jitters, and her assist totals are on a steady rise. Jaz Jones, meanwhile, is doing Jaz Jones things. Her 58.9% shooting average is third in the ACC and has led her to double-figures in all five conference games. While it’s always a team effort, Dana and Jaz are standing out.

The Eagles of Boston College, on the other hand, have taken team effort in the most literal sense. All five regular starters average double figure scoring, with a slight edge given to post players Emma Guy and Taylor Soule who both average just above 12 PPG. Marnell Garraud and Makayla Dickens are right behind with just over 10 PPG apiece, with Garraud heading things up at the point with close to four assists per game.

Although we weren’t able to gather any information, it appears as if starting guard and number two scorer Cameron Swartz may not be dressed for tonight’s game. Swartz played well against Notre Dame but sat versus Virginia without a clear reason being made available online. Swartz’s 12.6 PPG will be missed if she doesn’t play, as senior Taylor Ortlepp is managing just two points a game. Ortlepp has only started two games, and has only seen minutes in six of 16.

As to the Eagles’ statistical beefiness, things get a bit lean when you look at them from another angle. Looking at the full schedule you’ll see Boston College out-rebounding opponents by a comfortable margin, hitting close to seven threes per game, and generally running amok despite the 9-7 record. To be fair, Garraud presents a Dana Evans-like presence with a second-best in the ACC 2.6 steals per game while Emma Guy is just above Jaz Jones in shooting accuracy at 59.3%. While those two stats have carried over into conference play, the other categories have lost some of the polish over BC’s first five ACC games.

Tying it all up, look for the Eagles to move the ball around. A lot. And if you give them an open look at a three? They’re definitely going to fire one up. BC is averaging 22 three-point attempts per game, but hitting less than a third of those. In that vein, several Cardinals stats will likely be decisive. The Cards are averaging just 10 turnovers per game in ACC play, coupled with an average of 16.2 assists per game. Over the past two games it’s an even better 20 to 10. That’s never a bad ratio, but is doubly good against the likes of BC’s Garraud and her aggressive defense. But the kicker, of course, is the fact that Louisville has limited conference opponents to just 53 points per game on average. The Eagles may be averaging 70+ at the moment, but that’s about to be called to account in the Conte Forum.

Game Info:

DATE: Thurs 16 Jan 2020
TIME: 7:00 p.m. EST
SITE: Conte Forum (Chestnut Hill, MA)
WATCH: ACC Network Extra
LISTEN: 790 AM WKRD

PROBABLE STARTERS:

#5 Louisville (16-1 | 5-0)
G #1 Evans
G #4 Balogun
G #23 Jones
F #33 Dunham
F #21 Shook

Boston College (9-7 | 2-3)
G #14 Marnelle Garraud
G #10 Makayla Dickens
G #04 Taylor Ortlepp
F #11 Emma Guy
F #13 Taylor Soule

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Your source for UofL Women's Basketball + Men's/Women's Soccer news via the The Crunch Zone. If I'm not at a UofL game you can find me at a Louisville City FC game, or doing Men's Basketball post-game on ESPN680/93.9 The Ville with my man Joe Kelly. Husband, cat owner, sports consumer.

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