Anybody remember that Ohio State game? No? If anyone of the Louisville women’s basketball players does, it seems it’s become just a faded learning experience. The Cards return to the KFC Yum! Center after two games on the road to host two games in the friendly confines. The next three games feature the ACC’s current bottom dwellers back-to-back-to-back. Pitt comes to town this Sunday before the Cards travel to the surprisingly awful Notre Dame. But first up it’s Virginia on 90’s Night tonight in downtown Lousiville.

Game Info:

DATE: Thurs 23 Jan 2020
TIME: 8:00 p.m. EST
SITE: KFC Yum! Center (Louisville, KY)
WATCH: Fox Sports South
LISTEN: 790 AM WKRD

During the last season the Virginia Cavaliers were a relatively weak and struggling team. The struggle continues under hall of famer Tina Thompson, but the ‘Hoos are starting to show some strength thanks to the addition of Thompson’s first recruiting class.

The Virginia offense, however, centers on a crafty veteran. 6’0″ senior swingman Jocelyn Willoughby is the linchpin for the Cavs with an average of 20 points per game. She also happens to lead the team in nearly every other stat category as well, including turnovers.

Ball handling was an issue for Virginia last season and continues to plague their efforts this year. While slight improvements have occurred during conference play the ‘Hoos are still averaging an abysmal 0.7:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Pressure defense from the Cards could mean a quick death for the Cavs.

The Cardinals are already holding opponents to an average of around 59 points per game, which just so happens to be the Cavs average scoring total for the season. Things haven’t been easy but still there are signs of hope in Charlottesville. Wins against Duke and Boston College are nothing to sniff at, and the Cavs did manage to hang tight with Kentucky before losing by three earlier this season.

Freshmen like Shemera Williams are the future for Virginia and have been spending a significant amount of minutes on the court. Two other freshman and a third-year redshirt freshman represent the bulk of the ‘Hoos depth off the bench, but haven’t managed to contribute significant offensive numbers. Only fellow senior guard Dominique Toussaint presents a reasonably potent offensive threat along with Willoughby. But whereas the Cards faced two teams in a row where all five starters averaged double-digits, they now face a team with a minimum of targets.

Despite a tense fourth quarter in Chapel Hill the Cards continue to impress. Dana Evans received well-earned ACC Player Of The Week honors and while still #5 in the AP, the coach’s poll has Louisville at #3. The key for the next three games will be to maintain focus. Despite facing the worst in the ACC there is still plenty of talent on these teams that could hand the Cards an embarrassing first ACC loss of the season.

And waiting after this three game stretch is a four game gauntlet against the very best in the ACC after Louisville.

Game Info:

DATE: Thurs 23 Jan 2020
TIME: 8:00 p.m. EST
SITE: KFC Yum! Center (Louisville, KY)
WATCH: Fox Sports South
LISTEN: 790 AM WKRD

PROBABLE STARTERS:

#5 Louisville (18-1 | 7-0)
G #1 Evans
G #4 Balogun
G #23 Jones
F #33 Dunham
F #21 Shook

Virginia (7-11 | 2-5)
G #4 Toussaint
G #13 Willoughby
G #23 Toi
G #1 Miller
F #14 Jablonowski

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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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