The University of Louisville needed some good news over the weekend.  They got it in the form of a loss.

Yes, I said a loss. The women’s team of coach Jeff Walz went toe to toe with third ranked Notre Dame, Sunday. The Lady Cards lost 66-61 to the Irish. But the Cardinals led most of the way.
Notre Dame’s Madison Cable made the second of two free throws that gave the Irish (23-1, 11-0) the lead for good late in the fourth quarter. Cable would pop in a 3-point basket with two minutes to play for a four point lead, a lead they would not relinquish.

The point here is 13th ranked Louisville matched the Irish play for play until the end. “I think Louisville is a top-five team,” said Veteran Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw. “I think when they play well like they did in the first half and they executed well. They defended well, they rebounded well. I think they are a very tough team to play.”

“That’s really nice of her,” said Walz. “I really appreciate that, but unfortunately we have some work to do before we get there.”

While the men have seven games remaining because of the schools self-imposed NCAA Tournament ban. The women will have to carry the banner.

Louisville fans might want to get behind this women’s team who drew 13,837  (the second largest home crowd of the season). Louisville officals told me the Cardinals have put in a bid to host first and second round games at The Yum Center. The Cardinals hosted in 2013 when they beat Middle Tennessee and Purdue. That spring-boarded UofL to the national championship game before losing to Connecticut.

Louisville (18-6, 10-1) had its 15-game winning streak snapped. The Lady Cards have six games before the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Myisha Hines-Allen led the Cards with 16 points and seven rebounds before fouling out. Mariya Moore added 12 points and Briahanna Jackson 11. Corned Walton had only four points but 13 rebounds. The Cardinals outrebounded Notre Dame 44-35, 20 offensive rebounds.

“They did a great job on the boards,” said McGraw, “They got so many opportuities, 20 offensive rebounds, that is unacceptable.”

Louisville led by as many as nine points in the third quarter but just couldn’t hold on. “Myisha’s a really good presence in rebouding,” said Walton, ” so I thought after she fouled out, that’s what we were kind of missing.”

The place was loud, the crowd was into it. The fans really seemed to enjoy the game. The Lady Cards have four home games left plus the NCAA Tournament.

“Coach, he just told us that we kind of gave that one up because we had the lead for most of the game,” Walton said. “You win some, you lose some. I thought we were going to win, but it just gives us more fire to win in the ACC and beat them in the ACC tournament.”

Walz is never satisfied win or lose, but he did say. “Overall, I think we showed a lot of people today that we have made a lot of progress,” said Walz. “There’s no question. But we have a lot more to go.”

Worth a lot more looks.

Louisville Baseball Note

The preseason rankings continue to pile up for the Hardball Cardinals. USA Today ranked the Cardinals second behind Florida. The Cardinals were also ranked second in four other polls.

The Louisville Nine open the season February 19 against SIU-Edwardsville at Jim Patterson Stadium. The Cardinals will also play Saturday and Sunday.

Another team worth closely watching.

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