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Friday, February 24, 2012

Senior Day, Becky Burke

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FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

-Lady Cards, Becky Burke in final home game



The Cardinals take to the court at The KFC YUM! Center for the last time this season on Saturday, February 25 vs. DePaul with a 12:00 p.m. tip time. This is also Senior Day. Becky Burke is the only healthy senior on the squad and will play in front of her home court fans for the last time.

Before we wish Becky farewell, perhaps we should take a small trip down memory lane to remember how she found her way to Louisville. Did you know that Becky was originally recruited by Coach Susan Walvius and signed to play with South Carolina? With a coaching change prior to her arrival to South Carolina, Becky re-opened her recruitment and found her way to the University of Louisville.

Upon her arrival at Louisville Becky was quoted as stating that she “brings energy, toughness and shooting” to the team. When asked what her Sport Center Highlight would be Becky stated, “knocking down a 3 pointer at the buzzer to win the National Championship”.(Louisville Women's Basketball Media Guide, 2008-09) While that is not exactly the highlight reel to date, she came eerily close in her freshman year.

In her freshman season Becky was known as a stand still shooter on the wing. Her job was to stand beyond the 3-point line, wait for Angel to kick the ball out and shoot her shot. She saw action in 38 games. Becky led her team at the foul line shooting 88.4%. Late in her freshman season she hit the proverbial freshman wall. She had a tough February, which garnered her a heart-to-heart talk with Coach Walz, and later Coach Norman. It was that talk with Coach Norman, Becky stated, that set the stage for Becky’s post -season play. Becky went on to have great post-season play, guarding some of the best players at the time in Kristi Toliver (of Maryland) and Whitney Hand (of Oklahoma). Becky hit some clutch 3 pointers in the game vs. Oklahoma and was on the only team in Louisville Women’s Basketball history to make it to the Championship game. While the Cards went on to lose that game against UCONN in St. Louis, it was an incredible run and the freshman who was supposed to be at South Carolina found herself on the national stage with the rest of her team celebrating an outstanding post-season run.

(Photo by Charlie Springer - Card Game)
Her sophomore season Becky started all 32 games. This was a rebuilding year for the Cards. Becky led the team in assists averaging 2.9 per game and ranked second on the team from the foul line at 80.4%.

As Becky’s junior season rolled around and came to an end she had amassed staggering numbers as the 3 point baskets continued to drop and she shot a razor sharp 91% from the charity stripe.

As Becky’s senior season quickly arrived, and has rapidly come close to the end of her career, she is just a shadow of the player that arrived on campus and to the Louisville community 4 years ago. Gone is the stand and shoot player on the wing, and instead a more mature, confident player who moves about the court. Over the years the ball handling has grown, defense has improved,the precision from beyond the arc has continued to grow, and Becky has learned to dribble penetrate and has continued razor sharp precision from the charity stripe. As the lone senior on this team, since the knee injury to Monique Reid, Becky has led by example stepping up to fill the gaps of injured teammates and transferred players.

Becky surpassed the 1000 career point mark early this season against Murray State. In a very recent match up against Syracuse Becky further established her nickname as “Big Shot Becky” knocking down 8 3 pointers tying four other players for the most 3 point baskets in a game. Becky is 12th on the all time scoring list with 1213 points and 3rd in career 3pt. goals at 235, 25 away from tying the second place holder, Sara Nord.

While these are all very impressive numbers and Becky will long be remembered by Cardinal Fans as having a great 3 point shot and hitting big shots, when it counts, I will remember a few other things, too.

Jenny O'Bryan (left) is a
contributing writer for
Cardinal Couple and a
big fan of UofL women's
sports.
As a fan, I do not know Becky personally. The above information was gathered from news articles over the course of the last 4 years. I did not interview Becky for this piece. I have met Becky over the course of the last 4 years on 4-5 different occasions. On every occasion, and a very recent occasion in the lobby of the YUM! Center after a volleyball game, Becky has been an approachable, gracious and appropriate face of the University. She has always been genuine in her small talk and went out of her way to meet my stepdaughter at the volleyball game when my stepdaughter not so subtly pointed across the lobby and at the top of her voice stated “that’s Becky Burke!” The star-like status she has acquired over the years at Louisville has not dampened her approachability. I truly appreciate that, Becky. I appreciate that you took the time to go out of your way to introduce yourself and meet my kiddo. My guess is Becky has done that thousands of times over the course of her career. It makes an impression, and a difference, to young female athletes (my kiddo included). Thank you!

Way back in her freshman year, at that heart to heart talk Becky had with Coach Norman, Coach Norman apparently asked Becky to come up with 5 positive attributes about herself. The news article went on to say that Becky had a hard time doing so, as she was in the middle of a bad stretch of her freshman year and was terribly down on herself. Coach Walz was quoted at this same time as stating, “when you actually invest in this, you’re going to be a good player”.("Burke leap of faith pays off", ESPN, 2009)

I think as Becky’s senior season comes to a close Coach Walz would say that Becky did invest, and she has become a good player. I also imagine Becky could easily come up with 5 things she likes about herself. If not, I have a few that come to mind:
Character.
Heart.
Courage.
Passion.
Toughness.
Phenomenally.

(We wish Becky and the rest of the Lady Cards the best of luck and a win against
DePaul tomorrow and a big thanks to our Jenny for a revealing, heartfelt and great tribute to one of the most popular and talented players to ever don the Cardinal colors.)

Finally, check out this link from April of 2009, quoted above. Great read on Becky's contribution in the post-season run in 2009:
http://sports.espn.go.com/ncw/ncaatourney09/columns/story?columnist=hays_graham&id=4047517




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Sonja with UofL
Softball team.
Happy Birthday to CARDINAL COUPLE Co-Owner and Managing Editor Sonja today! CARDINAL COUPLE might not be in existence if it wasn't for her. She was writing for Charlie Springer at Card Game and several other places and told me she wanted to start a blog exclusively about women's sports at UofL.




Now, over two years later...CARDINAL COUPLE receives over 2000 hits a day. Sonja doesn't write much anymore - preferring to handle the managerial and editing aspects of the blog - but is still a essential part of the site. 


Happy birthday, little "deer" Love ya mucho!
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4 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday Sonja! Thanks for the Louisville Women's sports blog, Cardinal Couple. As the brains behind it's start up you showcase the best in Louisville women's athletics. With a young volleyball player kiddo myself, I hope where she attends school is lucky enough to have dedicated fans like yourself (and Paul) to help showcase talent and drive.
    Enjoy your day!! Paul, treat her extra special today.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Happy Birthday, Sonja!
    If you didn't know, it was you who "friended" me on facebook thru Becky that led me to this site, been here ever since! Big thanks for that!



    As for Becky, a testament to her approachability is the way she accepted me as a friend on facebook, not knowing anything about me except that I am a fan, and they way she ALWAYS answers me when I inbox her!
    Great write up, I remember her shadowing Whitney Hand in the second half of that OK game as much as I remember her calmly hitting that big crunch time three! Been a great ride!
    Stark61

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sonja - you should take the birthday gift you deserve and give yourself a 3 day holiday which includes enjoying the Saturday women's game, but without blogging duties. I am glad that Becky reopened her recruiting and took a step up by coming to Louisville.

    S Walker

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sandy! And all. It's been a good day/evening and looking forward to game tomorrow.
      Sonja

      Delete

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