SUNDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
- Is Nita Slaughter the next Cardinal gunslinger?
(WE continue our series on the 2012-13 UofL women's basketball team roster with a look at the juniors. First up is wing Antonita Slaughter.)
The first thing you notice about Antonita "Nita" Slaughter is the vibrant smile that can light up a room. Easily one of the most recognizable Lady Cards, Nita seems to bound endlessly and effortlessly across the Cardinal Arena practice floor.
As you watch her, you notice that the threes she's arching toward the rim don't miss very often. The same practiced, controlled release...the high arch and perfect rotation. The ball dives through the net...only to be followed by another and another.
Is she the next long-distance gunslinger for UofL? The mad bomber from beyond the arc? The Becky Burke of the 2012-13 squad? Her past performances would indicate she's ready to fill the position. Becky Burke is gone and Slaughter will be counted on to provide long-rang aerial support for the Cards along with the Schimmel sisters and Tia Gibbs.
It's a role Nita is ready to fill.
Nita knew early in her high school days at Christian Academy in Louisville that red and black was the jersey she wanted to don when she attended college. Verballed to Louisville as a freshman. She started catching coaches' attention as a eighth grader at Shelby County High School, leading them to the Eighth Region title. At Christian Academy, she was the Seventh Region Player of the Year. An All-State First team selection. Ms. Kentucky Basketball candidate.
The Cards were getting a good one and the 6'1" wing ended her freshman year by leading the team in three-point percentage (39.4%). She drilled three treys against Southeast Missouri, Mississippi Valley State, Tennessee-Martin and Cincinnati.
Last season, the barrage continued. "Big Shot Nita" was third in three-pointers for UofL and saw her playing time almost double from the previous season. She was also fifth in rebounding for the Cards, proving that she wasn't just a shooter. A steady contributor off the bench for Coach Walz, she led Louisville in scoring in three games and in rebounding once.
Basketball is a tradition in the Slaughter family. Her father A.J. played. So did siblings Toni (for UofL 2006-07) and brother A.J. (WKU & EuroHoops in Belgium).
Jeff Walz will tell you that when Nita is "on" and has her confidence rolling, there isn't anyone who can match her "from the deep" on the team. Opposing coaches have her pegged as a long range shooter and leaving her open has made more than one coach shake their head in frustration and implore that someone get out there on her.
We'll tell you that she's one we'll be watching closely this season. She's got the skills to be a zone-buster. She possesses a serious shot-fake also and is deadly from the free throw line with a 75% career average.
She fits well into a Cardinal squad that has so many different weapons. The importance of a wing that can consistently fill up the net from beyond the arc is obvious. It's comparable to the speed-burner wide receiver in football that'll torch you for long yards if you leave him open.
We're not sure what type of wide receiver Nita would make. But we can tell you that the "distance" Nita possesses will make a lot of opposing coaches cross their arms in disgust and reach for the Rolaids this upcoming season.
Louisville has had a great tradition of three-point shooters over the years. Kristin Maddox, Sara Nord, Jill Morton, Misty Smith, Connie Neal, Brandie Radde, Becky Burke and Shoni Schimmel. Nita stands at the ready to join this elite "downtown" group.
Kurt Vonnegut wrote a book years ago called Slaughterhouse Five. Louisville has Slaughter (in the) House (For) Three and it's a best seller...
THE SLAUGHTER FILE
GAMES PLAYED MINUTES PER THREES PPG REBOUNDS
2011-12 32 15.3 27-78 4.7 118
2010-11 34 9.4 28-71 3.2 57
Thanks for spending part of your Sunday with Sonja. As we roll into August, we'll be picking up our coverage of Cardinal womens' sports live events with increased frequency.
I'll still devote my Sundays to the review and commentary of the UofL womens' basketball team roster. We've covered the seniors, one junior down and a couple to go. By the time we reach the freshmen...basketball season will be very, very close and that's a good thing!
Have a great Sunday and week ahead!