Monday, January 25, 2010
Keeping the Faith
Every day gets a little better on the learning curve for the young Lady Cards.
It's not the season most Lady Cards had hoped for, but...my, how things have changed for the Lady Cards this season.
Flash back to this time last year. Louisville was rolling along in the Big East. You had Angel and Candyce. Dez at the point. Becky Burke and Brandie Radde were three point threats. The Cards were the second best team in the Big East. Although few fans were thinking that a deep NCAA Tournament run was in the future, we Lady Card fans knew this team was scary good and at times unstoppable.
Then, changes began to transpire. First, it was Radde...leaving the team in midseason. More emphasis needed toward a degree and medical school hopes. A major loss to the Cards' outside shooting skills but something that could be overcome.
Next, an injury to Dez Byrd in the NCAA Tournament. A knee that all figured would be healed by tip off for the 2009-10 season, but, in the end...an injury that required an early season ending surgery.
The offseason brought more changes. Three freshmen transferring out of the program. Not major factors in the Cards offensive production but players that would have provided depth, experience and skills to the squad. Say goodbye to half the incoming class from the previous year. Janae Howard to WKU. Mary Jackson to Memphis and Tiera Stephen to Wisconsin.
Still, the propects looked bright for this season. Asia Taylor hadn't recovered from her high school career ending injury but was a scoring machine that would eventually come around. Rachel Story a top Milwaukee guard. JuCo transfer LaToya Johnson with mad point guard skills. Nikki Burton...a slashing, all state selection from Charlotte. An all-state selection Ashley Rainey from Warren East. And, security for the future with transfer Tia Gibbs from Vandy. Walz's squad had reloaded and things looked promising. Even an unheralded walk-on from Scottsville...Shelby Harper
But, fate dealt the Cards another lousy hand. Johnson with a hip injury. Laura Terry still not fully recovered from a knee injury. Nikki Burton goes down with a hip injury. Tise Wright denied a final semester. Dez's leadership sorely missed. Black cats in the path and walking under ladders. Could anything else possibly go wrong?
And, after nineteen games, the Cards are down to bare bones. The walk-on leading the offense at point guard. One of two freshmen guards at the point. Nine Lady Cards left to finish a grueling Big East schedule. No seniors, one junior and ten games left in the regular season. Recall your feelings when you've coasted in to a gas station with the gauge on "E"? You could certainly understand if the Lady Cards are feeling that right about now.
Jeff Walz, however, chooses to take the high road. He talks of how the remaining girls are getting better each day. He glows over the surprising and heady play of Harper. How Taylor will eventually be a "go to" player after the recovery process from the injury is finished. How the Cards will be a very good team next year and for years to come with returning players and highly ranked recruits and signees.
And, you have to believe. You have to keep the faith. A year of additional experience for the youth movement on campus. The return of key personnel. Numbers and depth. Gas in the tank and the gauge on "F".
Most of all, Walz is thankful for the wonderful and supportive fans that are still coming out to support the team. Support that is so needed right now. Support that almost got the Cards over the hump against much more talented Notre Dame and Syracuse squads. Support that the Cards will draw on beginning tomorrow night against a Villanova team that knows a thing or two about the injury roster this year. Support that will also be counted upon in the rest of the home games...Cincy, UConn, Marquette and USF. Three out of the four are very winnable. A chance to upset in the Big East tourney and maybe secure a bid to the Big Dance. The Cards are 10-9. They need to go at least 7-3 to close out the regular season if they plan on going to the NCAA Tournament dance. All but UConn and possibly Rutgers are winnable.
Time to believe. Time to suppoet and cheer. The sign of faithful and loyal fans is demonstrated by showing up even in the tough times. Be those loyal and faithful fans. Good things are on the way. And, some fun times are still in the offing for this bunch of Lady Cards this year. Continue to be a part of it, if you've been an attendee so far. And, if you haven't..no time like the present to get on the bandwagon. These girls aren't giving up.
Don't give up on them.
Written by Sonja