Kansas and Duke are the only other schools, whose men’s and women’s teams have both advanced this far.
It was the Cardinals’ first W ever against the Boilermakers, having lost the five previous encounters with the ladies from West Lafayette.
U of L never trailed. Purdue missed its first nine shots, but knotted the score at 4. Sheronne Vails hit a FT at 14:48. The Cards moved on from there, taking a 12-4 advantage and never looking back.
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I frankly don’t pay as much attention to the women’s team as the men, so it’s hard to provide acute analysis.
But here’s what I did see.
Sara Hammond is turning into the force that had her high on Geno Auriemma’s recruiting list. 21 points. 10 rebounds. 2 steals and a block. In 36 minutes of action. Most of her damage was inflicted after the break, during which the Cards never allowed the visitors to come within single digits.
Jude Schimmel controlled the game for the Cardinals. The substitute point guard had 6 assists and 8 steals, to go along with her 7 points and 4 rebounds. Hers was a steady hand on the throttle. Her measured, cerebral play is the yin . . .
. . . to the yang of her more highly touted sister, Shoni Schimmel. Who, by the by, played a much more mature game — by her unique standards — than I’ve seen her play. She tallied 14 on 4/11 shooting, including 5 important points when Purdue was attempting a surge midway through the final stanza.
Schimmel the Elder also committed 10 turnovers. When referring to her maturing game above, the operative phrase was “by her standards.” She is to be given credit for the weight she lost during the season. And, for her acceptance of a new role as the 2 guard. If only she calmed down another notch or three.
Antonita Slaughter scored 16 and snared 7 rebounds.
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Starting point guard Bria Smith had a tough night. To say the least.
Her contribution was significant, though her numbers were modest.
What she’ll remember were the two moments she spent woman down on the hardwood.
Once she was mugged at mid-court, plundered and pillaged of the ball. She lay there while the Purdue perpetrator took in for a layup. No foul was whistled.
The other moment was more spectacular, though, frankly, more innocent. If no less painful for Smith. Purdue has a marvelously talented sub in the pivot named Taylor Manual, who has superb ball skills and footwork. But, who is at least 75 pounds overweight. She is an immovable force in the middle.
On one play, Manual grabbed a rebound with Smith on her back. She shrugged the Cardinal off her back, sending Smith hard to the floor. The refs reviewed the play to see if there was an elbow thrown or flagrant action. Despite the crowd’s reaction, the zebras correctly called a foul on Smith and nothing on Manual.
Though Manual was booed now and again when getting a touch during the game, she did not play dirty, and displayed admirable sportsmanship throughout. It would be interesting to see how good she’d be, should she drop that avoirdupois.
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To be honest, it was unfair that Purdue, a higher seed than the Cardinals, had to face U of L in the Yum!.
That hosting schools are guaranteed NCAA tournament home games, regardless of seeding (if they qualify for the tournament) is evidence that the women’s game is still evolving. That all the #1 and #2 seeds are alive, having advanced easily so far, is further proof that there is little parity in the women’s game.
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Next up for U of L: the top seeded and defending champion Baylor Bears.
– Seedy K