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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Byrd ready to fly again for Lady Cards?

THURSDAY'S CARDINAL COUPLE


-Will Dez Byrd fly high for UofL this season?

-Cardinal soccer ready to take to the grass

-Fern Creek in the Babe Ruth Girls 16U World Series

-Lady Kats lose two.



She was the point guard on the 2009 Final Four team and the emotional and vocal leader of the group that went to St. Louis. She also possesses a good mid range jumper and can take it to the hoop. The question on many UofL womens' basketball fans minds, though...is whether she has recovered from the leg injury that sidelined her after only 6 games in the 2009-2010 season.

If healthy and ready to go, Dez Byrd gives Jeff Walz's basketball team an experienced and determined leader at point guard. A player not afraid of mixing it up on the court or making the difficult pass. Byrd made the difficult choice a couple of years ago to switch from shooting guard to the point because of the needs of the team. It paid huge dividends for her and the Lady Cards in that magical 2008-2009 season. Byrd presented a major problem to opponents who faced the Cards...leave her alone and she'd take it to the hoop or pop the mid-range jumper. Concentrate on stopping her and she'd find McCoughtry, Bingham or Hines for an easy two. Who knows how close the Cards would have gotten to beating UConn in the final game of the tournament with a fully healthy Byrd directing from the point?

Fast forward to the 2009-2010 season. Byrd, still hobbled by the injury, appears in only six games for the Cards before going out on a medical redshirt. She averaged 8 points a game but it was very noticeable that she hadn't fully recovered from the off season surgery and rehab. Without her at the point, Louisville dropped to a 14-18 record and despite her encouragement and participation from the bench...could never really establish a productive or efficient point guard.

Byrd has finely developed skills and could be the catalyst and floor leader for this flock of Cardinal this year provided she's healed and in shape. We'll know soon enough and here's hoping that she makes it back to the hardwood and picks up where she left off.

PROGNOSIS: Dez Byrd is a floor leader, something that the Lady Cards lacked last year after she went out with the injury. She'll be a great point guard and contribute with scoring, passing and defense if she's ready to go. Some cause for worry that we haven't heard too much about her in the voluntary summer workouts on campus...but we're predicting that if she has recovered from her injury, she'll nail down the starting point guard slot.


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Fern Creek's 16U Girls softball team was eliminated from the Babe Ruth 16U World Series last night by Luzerne County 5-1. The Creekers won their first game of the evening by romping Lodi 12-4 but couldn't find the bats in the nightcap against the Chaos.

Luzerne County scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth to break open a 1-1 tie. Sarah Bertoni pitched a 4 hit complete game for the Chaos...striking out seven. They move on to the finals, where they will have to beat Henderson, NC twice to take the title. Luzerne County made the finals in last year's tournament also.

Still, a good effort by the Fern Creekers, a squad made up of local high school softballers from the Jefferson County area. Tim McGinty did a great job of getting this prime time squad together and now...a few days rest for the sluggers before returning to school.

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UK point guard Amber Smith could be done for the upcoming season after tearing her left ACL during a pickup game. The senior started all 36 games for UK last year, averaging 9.2 points and dishing out 4.4 assists.

Anna Cole, a 6'7" sophomore center has decided to transfer, citing a desire to play at a school closer to her hometown of Mondovi, WI. Cole, hampered by stress fractures in her right foot, played in only nine games for UK last year, averaging 1 point a game.

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Big things coming up for UofL women's soccer this weekend. Friday brings the Kickoff Dinner at the Hyatt Regency hotel, with guest speaker Brandi Chastain. Chastain was an Olympic goal medalist and was also on the 1999 World Cup team. Tickets are $35 for adults and $25 for the kids and can be purchased by calling (502)852-0101. Chastain will sign autographs, there will be a silent auction and attendees will get to play soccer in the hallways and grand ballroom of the Hyatt (just kidding on the last one.)

Chastain may be best remembered for ripping off her jersey and running around the field in just her sports bra after a U.S. victory in the 1999 World Cup. A repeat of the controversy this Friday night isn't likely...but it would no doubt increase attendance. Don't try this at schools, kids.

On Saturday, the Cards host Tennessee in an exhibition game at Cardinal Park. Admission is free and there will be a clinic (also free) from 5-6 p.m. game time is 7 p.m.

We've posted up articles about the men's soccer team over at UofL Card Game and Cardinal Dominance. The guys are ranked as high as 20th in the nation and picked to finish second in the BIG EAST. Check them out at http://www.cardinaldominance.ning.com/ or http://www.uolfcardgame.com/

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