Here's hoping things are doing well for our Cardinal Couple readers
as Sonja and I take a few days away from the website and enjoy
summer vacation. This burro was happy to see CARDINAL COUPLE on their road trip and greeted us to Custer State Park in South Dakota. HE got even more excited when Sonja fed him. The badlands of South Dakota are an incredible site to behold. David Watson weighs in today on your favorite subject...women's basketball...
The first time I actually sat down and took a look at the guards that Jeff Walz has on the UofL roster, my first thoughts were about the incredible talent level and also flexibility he
has at his disposal. Look at this list of guards-that DOES NOT include wing players-and I think you see why the excitement exists.
Shoni Schimmel. She's a returning starter from last year as a freshman and second leading scorer on the team. Comfortable at either the "1" or "2", Schimmel is a dangerous threat to create a play any time the ball reaches her hands. Recall your own favorite Shoni
memory from last season. I'm going with the torching of Xavier in the second half of the NCAA tournament game.
Tia Gibbs. Another one who got the call as a starter last year and logged plenty of minutes as a sophomore transfer from Vanderbilt. Gibbs maybe the best defensive guard returning
for last year and there's no doubt about her ability to shoot the three, create in transition or go to the basket.
Becky Burke. She's enters her senior season as an on again/off again starter for the Lady Cards. Once known for just her three ball ability, Burke has broadened her game and is now a capable defender, one who can lead the transition game or hurt an opponent with the short jumper. Her court time could take a hit this year with the wealth of talent present but she is still a dangerous threat.
Charmaine Tay. We've seen that she can run an offense from the point and also successfully get to the basket for layups or draw trips to the charity stripe. She's an aggressive player who has a bit of swagger and strut to her on-court presence and she'll
figure heavily into the rotation if she can manage to stay out of the Walz doghouse during her sophomore year.
Shelby Harper. The blond blur will most likely see the least playing time of the stellar guard crew but she has a ton of experience. Going into her junior year, she can drive the ball down the court quickly, will provide pressure defensively on the opponent's point guard and
she can be successful from three point range despite last year's struggles from there. It'll be interesting to see how Walz uses the diminutive spark plug.
Five impressive returning players that any coach in the nation would drool over. Then, you add the freshmen.
Bria Smith has the ability to be a game changer. One of those guards, like a Skylar Diggins or Sugar Rodgers, who takes over and dominates. She'll go through a freshman adjustment period, like they all do in Walz's system, and early on it could be her willingness and ability to play defense that will determine her playing time. If the press clippings and hype translate into what everyone thinks is possible out of her, though, I don't see how you keep her off the court.
Jude Schimmel. Although a bit shorter than her sister, Jude makes up for it with all-over-the-court intensity and is a leader. She's also a scorer who overwhelms taller opponents with her quickness. She could be the surprise out of all the guards and if Walz goes with a speed-based attacking off transition offense, don't be surprised if Jude sees tons of minutes in that format.
I'm going to borrow a movie title from the sixties to describe these guards. Let's call them the Magnificent Seven and one of the great things about this group is that any of them are capable of taking over a game at anytime.