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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Second half of Big East awaits Lady Cards

So far, the University of Louisville women's basketball team has played eight games in the Big East this season. Eight more to go, so...at the halfway point of the conference schedule, let's look at and grade the Cards performance.

RECORD: Walz's crew is 3-5 against Big East foes. No real blow out from any of the opponents yet and Louisville has led in each game they've lost. Only Notre Dame has looked convincingly dominant against UofL and that wasn't until late in the contest.
Big surprise there, they are #3 ranked in the nation. Late game rallies against Georgetown, Syracuse and DePaul fell just short and the Cards had West Virginia down at halftime before losing to the Eers.

Grade: C+

PERFORMERS: It's been the Monique Reid, Becky Burke and Keisha Hines show for Louisville for most of Big East play. Shelby Harper has gotten better at point guard and Ashley Rainey helping with some valuable contributions on the boards. Still, more is needed from Gwen Rucker and Asia Taylor on the front line and Rachel Story continues to get very few minutes at point guard. A healthy Nikki Burton showed she can play at this level and the return of LaToya Johnson will only help strengthen the Cards scant numbers.

Grade: B-

INJURY REPORT: Dez Byrd was the first Card to go down. Followed by LaToya Johnson, Nikki Burton and a still hobbled Laura Terry. Add in Tise Wright being hobbled by the NCAA and the Cards resemble an emergency room waiting lobby on a Saturday night.

Grade: Depending how you look at it...A+ for injuries received or D- for the effect it has had on the team.

THE ROAD AHEAD:

Out of the eight games remaining, only UConn looks to be a guaranteed "L" in the win/loss record. The Cards are capable of playing with St. John's, Pitt, and Seton Hall on the road. Capable of win in Freedom Hall against Cincy, Marquette and USF. The Rutgers game in the "RAC" to end the regular season is anyone's guess, but right now I'd have to hand it to the Scarlet Knight because of the home court advantage.

BEST CASE SCENARIO: Louisville wins 7 of 8, takes a 10-6 record into the Big East tournament and may avoid playing in the opening round.

LOGICAL ASSUMPTION: The Cards lose to UConn, Rutgers and St. John's and head to the Big East Tourney 8-8. Definitely playing in the first round.

WORST FEARS REALIZED: Only Cincy and Marquette fall to Louisville at home and the Cards limp into Big East tourney play at 5-11. On the bubble to make the Big East tournament at all if this happens.

Stay tuned for the second semester. And no cheating or looking on your neighbor's answer sheet!

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