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Friday, December 30, 2011

Discussions on the Lady Cards

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FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

-Thoughs and observations on the Lady Cards

With the University of Louisville women's basketball team off until Tuesday and visions of bowl games dancing maddeningly in my head...time to break the thought pattern and talk the Lady Cards. You been sending e-mails and leaving comments about Phil's rating system and advocation for a "three" big
system...so let's start there. 

WE can see a lot of benefit from it, given the current case of lack of rebounds, but it's awfully hard to just sit Becky Burke down after she's been the most or second most reliable shooter on the team this year and the leading three-point threat.  So, how about starting her with Shoni, Cierra, Shawnta and Asia?

That, of course, puts Bria on the bench. Tough to do with her very impressive freshman season. Inserting Burke later in the game just may be a viable option...Walz did with Reid off and on for three years...Mo still got her points.

So, Bria, Shoni, Cierra, Shawnta and Asia? I can hear the Sherrone and Sara backers over the roar of Washington scoring (again) on Baylor...

Here's what WE think Jeff is trying to determine. Eight (maybe) nine players to form a consistent, contributing and interacting core. Let's be honest. Shelby and (for this year) Jude probably aren't going to make this cut. That leaves:

Shoni
Bria
Becky
(a good guard rotation that offers shooting, driving and rebounding)

That leaves...

Cierra
Shawnta
Sherrone
Asia
Sara
Nita

All have their strong points and shortcomings. I like the hustle and desire of Asia. She just needs that consistent effort game after game. It's there, she needs to find it. I also like Cierra in this mix. She's the best inside player, the way WE see it..now that Mo is sidelined. She's 6'5". Just go to the basket and forget about the fade away, off angle hook shot. If you want a third "big" I think you have to go with who's been hot lately and that is Shawnta. 

So, we'll offer Shoni, Bria, Asia, Cierra and Shawnta as our picks to get introduced by Sean Moth when the game starts. 

Ultimately, of course, it all depends on what Jeff sees and he knows them better than the collectiveve reader base of CARDINAL COUPLE. With his excellent coaching staff...they will make the right call, the right decision and coach them up. 

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From some of the comments we get via e-mail, some of our readers are living under the illusion that the Lady Cards have won only two games, instead of having just two losses. Fan prognostication and speculation is all well and good. Remember...this is CARDINAL COUPLE, the fan voice for UofL Women's Sports...so we love, encourage and anticipate your comments. 

Let's just keep in mind that this is a top 15 team, their losses have come against top 10 competition and have suffered the losses of last year's leading scorer, leading defender and a promising sophomore. They've survived two challenging road trips, the majority of their games so far away from the KFC YUM! Center and are still a very talented group of ladies. Think any programs out there would turn down Shoni, Bria, Becky or any of the rest on the Lady Cards squad? 

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The BIG EAST looms ahead. Yes it will be tough. The Lady Cards can ill afford to take a night off against any of the conference members. Rutgers, Notre Dame, UConn, Georgetown, DePaul and Syracuse are very capable of hanging a 20 point whipping on this team on a home or away court. Lowly Cincinnati gave Louisville all they wanted..and the Bearcats were picked pre-season to finish down in the basement of the BIG EAST structure. Villanova is over-achieving, Providence looks improved, St. John's is still very, very dangerous despite injuries. The list goes on and on...

2012 will be a thrill packed, face in the wind roller coaster ride for the Lady Cards in the BIG EAST. IF this team can reach the BIG EAST conference championships with 4 or less conference losses, they should give Walz the Coach of the Year award. 

So, there it is. Keep your observations coming. We relish them and people enjoy reading them in columns and in the comments section. Just try to remember that this team is 12-2, not 2-12.

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6 comments:

  1. Can't leave Shelby or Jude off the list, definitely need a backup point guard. Of the bigs, two or three of them need to step it up big time! Hoping it would be Cierra and Sara, but both are still way to inconsistent for me. Shawnta and Nita have impressed so far, Sherrone is a beast at the front of the press, and Asia brings lots of energy. Almost can see why Walz plays them all, still trying to find the unit that plays best together. It changes from game to game. I'm thinking it will be that way until some kind of consistency shows up. Bria, Becky, and Shoni and it really doesn't matter much who else, they all bring different things to the table, and it will probably depend a lot on the opponent. Going into this year, I didn't think injuries would be a problem, wrong! Losing Mo and Tia has definitely hurt, have to move the freshmen and first year players along more rapidly than you otherwise would. They have got to get a lot better in a hurry if the Cards want to hang with the Big East elite.
    Stark61

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  2. I like both ladies but lets face it they are "Walz's projects".They are NOT D1 BB players,but they are all we have.Jude shows a little something here and there but it is not enough.I can't imagine either playing defense against Diggins,Hartley,Novasel,Sugar,etc.OMG!This season I dread playing big east teams.It's time for "ALL PLAYERS" to step up if we are to get any wins or to just look half decent.

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  3. My ongoing comments about the line-up really aren't about who starts; they are about how many minutes go to combinations of players, because that's where you really can see the difference between playing 3 bigs or 2 bigs. As an advocate for 3 bigs, I'd like to see 40 minutes from Vails and Warren together; 40 minutes from Hammond and Dyer together; and around 35 minutes from Taylor and Nita together. Although Shoni can play the 2, I would keep her at the point because the drop-off at the point is too great when Jude or Harper are in, and, as the previous poster noted, thinking of those two playing D against top guards in the Big East is not pleasant. Neither Shoni nor Burke is a great on-ball defender, which is why the team needs significant minutes from Nita and Taylor at the 3.
    Finally, I find the comments about players needing to "step it up" misguided. UT-Martin started killing the Cards on the boards around the 8 minute mark in the second half, when four guards were on the floor. Does anyone really think the Cards lost the battle of boards during that period because Dyer (and then Taylor, who subbed in for Dyer) weren't trying? Isn't a better explanation that the right combination of players was not on the floor? I hope that Walz can be as constructively critical of himself (or has assistants who are free to be so) as he is of his players.
    --PDX Phil

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  4. It appears that I am in a minority but I just don't see Asia as others are seeing her, at least for this year. Energy can get you where you need to be but it doesn't put the ball in the basket or block the shot.

    I have been critical of Becky as a non-improved one dimensional player for 2 years but this year I give her credit for working to expand her threats so I give her the go ahead nod to start until she shows she is not hitting then she sits down.

    Sandy W

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  5. I don't think having more bigs in the line-up longer will solve our problem. I've seen several games up close with the bigs in and still saw the other team "Dominate" the boards!! I've also seen the opponents guards/wing players constantly getting open for 3's.

    As for Asia, she's really a senior (had a redshirt) isn't she? Anyhow, when she's on the floor, well ... it's like she's on the bench. I know she brings something ... but what?

    Say what you will, but imho our core problems are with "Rebounding"(blocking out) and playing "defense". Especially, when some of the other teams are playing 3 & 4 guard line-ups. Or their bigs are no more than 6-3 and the rest are 6-1!! Fundamentals must be learned & executed!

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  6. Asia Taylor did not have a red-shirt year. She played as a freshman. Her injury happened as a senior in high school

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