Women’s Basketball: Cardinals hand Raiders worst loss in program history
Riding a wave of emotions coming into their matchup with No. 7 Louisville Saturday, the Raiders looked at ease during the pregame shoot around, seemingly unfazed by the bright lights and big stage often associated with playing a national powerhouse opponent.
But very quickly-within about the first five minutes of the game- those smiles and feelings of exuberance turned to blank stares and looks of confusion. The game was out of hand and the Wright State was in catch-up mode.
Louisville used a noticeable size advantage and stingy defense to stifle, confuse and completely frustrate WSU at the KFC Yum! Center. The Cardinals handed the Raiders the worst loss in program history, 99-40.
“Obviously we didn’t play very well. I don’t know…I’ll have to watch the tape,” WSU head coach Mike Bradbury said. “They (Louisville) played in the championship game two of the last five years for a reason. They’re good and they outplayed us tonight.”
There will be plenty of footage for his team to learn from.
The Cardinals shot 56 percent from the field, including 7-of-14 from 3-point range and outrebounded the Raiders 57-36.
Perhaps the most dominating statistics the Cardinals amassed Saturday night, however, came on the defensive end. UL blocked eight shots, recorded 13 steals while only committing 11 team fouls for the game. Louisville head coach Jeff Walz characterized his team’s effort as one of the best of the season.
“We did a really nice job of defending without fouling,” Walz said.
Though the Cardinals defense shined on all sides of the court against the Raiders, the effort was punctuated by what UL did against WSU’s best player, Kim Demmings. Coming into the contest, Demmings averaged over 24 points per game, shooting over 42 percent from the field. Her final stat line read 2-of-15 from the field, four points.
“Our goal was to try and make sure we were there on the catch every time she touched the basketball,” Walz said. “Kim is a special player. You didn’t get a chance to see it tonight.”
If the fans in attendance did not have a chance to see Demmings command the Raiders’ offense in her usual way, they were not the only ones. The Cardinals’ size and quickness- which surpassed the often more athletic Raiders- forced Demmings to hoist unusual and uncomfortable shots. Even a few wide open layups did not come without its difficulties for Demmings, who could offer little explanation for what transpired on the court after the game.
“I guess they just played their game,” Demmings said. “That’s it, really. We just tried to play our [game] to the best of our ability, but we just couldn’t execute.”
Tay’ler Mingo led the Raiders’ offense with 15 points. Ivory James added eight points and five rebounds.
Louisville, however, found it quite easy to execute against WSU’s defense. Shoni Schimmel- one of four Cardinals’ players to score in double-figures found several open looks from distance, hitting 5-of-9 threes en route to a team-high 17 points.
“I think what we did a really nice job of was going inside-out. They (WSU) do a really great job of playing help side, especially because of their size, they have to give a little more help in the post. We did a really nice job of throwing it in and our post [players] did a really nice job of kicking the ball back out,” Walz said.
The Raiders (7-3) will now have eight days until their next game against Xavier on Dec. 15 to make sense of what happened against a far superior opponent.
“We just have to go out there and compete, and if we’re going to compete, we have to do it at the highest level to win games like this,” Demmings said.