I’m back! And so is Louisville women’s basketball, although in reality they never really went anywhere dangerous. The ladies did have us scared there for a minute and emergency return flights to Louisville were considered. But a big win at N.C. State has set the Cards right back on a track towards an ACC title. Big thanks to Dave Scull, Chrissy Banta, and the Sheriff himself (Mark Blankenbaker) for keeping things covered while I was gone!

Game Info:

DATE: Thurs 20 Feb 2020
TIME: 6:00 p.m. EST
SITE: McCamish Pavilion (Atlanta, GA)
WATCH: ACC Network Extra / Watch ESPN
LISTEN: 790 AM WKRD

As it happens, there’s another team in the ACC that recently set things aright with a big win over the Wolfpack. The Ramblin’ Wreck of Georgia Tech have, by all accounts, greatly outperformed the preseason prognostications. First year head coach Nell Fortner has once again come off the bench to establish a new era for a team and so far things seem to be on the right track.

That’s not despite a few bumps along the way. A 15-3 start to the season that featured a win over Florida State was followed by a five game skid capped by an embarrassing loss to the Irish. What had been a likely guarantee NCAA bid (the first since 2014) for the Yellow Jackets began to look like a bursting bubble, but for a big win over #4 N.C. State.

The key to that win, as with many of Tech’s wins, was Francesca Pan. A 30 point career night for the senior guard was enough to help the Yellow Jackets hold off a late Wolfpack rally and secure a 65-61 win. Contrast that performance with the stat sheets from the five game losing streak and you’ll see Pan’s point total never rise above 10. In the performances against UNC, Duke, and Notre Dame she was held to less than three points in each contest.

Despite the obvious key for the Louisville defense there are plenty of other offensive threats from the Wreck with two other starters averaging double figures and sophomore guard Jasmine Carson coming off the bench with 11 points per game of her own. The Pan/Carson dynamic is eerily similar to what has developed with Dana Evans and Mykasa Robinson, albeit less potent.

In the paint the Yellow Jackets do have the length of 6’5″ Nerea Hermosa coming off the bench, but only bringing six points and four rebounds per game. The primary interior threat will come from 6’4″ junior Lorela Cubaj, but with the way in which Kylee Shook has been playing it shouldn’t be anything less than an even match. Combine this with the fact that all Louisville players contribute significantly to the rebounding battle and you have a recipe for a classic Walz style win.

Still, the Cards are most definitely taking this game seriously. Tech’s win over N.C. State kept Louisville firmly in the top spot of the ACC, but any slips in the remaining four games could jeopardize that tenuous hold. As for the Yellow Jackets, the resumé isn’t quite complete. A big win over Louisville coupled with a deep ACC tournament run would help plant Tech firmly in the four to six NCAA seed range and there’s no doubt they’re well aware of that.

All in all you have the recipe for a great late February game of basketball. As March approaches, everything comes into focus. A win over Georgia Tech in Atlanta would show that the Cardinals now precisely how to maintain theirs.

Game Info:

DATE: Thurs 20 Feb 2020
TIME: 6:00 p.m. EST
SITE: McCamish Pavilion (Atlanta, GA)
WATCH: ACC Network Extra / Watch ESPN
LISTEN: 790 AM WKRD

PROBABLE STARTERS:

#5 Louisville (23-3)
G #1 Evans
G #4 Balogun
G #23 Jones
F #33 Dunham
F #21 Shook

Georgia Tech (17-9)
G #41 Fletcher
G #33 Pan
G #31 Lahtinen
F #13 Cubaj
F #4 Diouf

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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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