SUNDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
-Our 2012-13 WBB player preview continues with junior Tia Gibbs.
-USA WBB fries the French 86-50 for Gold
If you look at the box score for the 2008 Ky. High School Girls State Championship, you'll see that Butler High School won the title. You'll also see that the name Tia Gibbs is missing. A further look shows she was the Most Valuable Player in the Sweet Sixteen Tournament. A concussion in the morning semi-finals kept her out of the title game, but it only took three games to show the coaches that the all-time leading scorer at Butler was the cream of the crop.
The concussion must have had lingering effects, because Gibbs ended up at Vanderbilt University her freshman year of college instead of UofL. While the Cards were marching to a Final Four appearance, Gibbs was sitting the bench at Vandy, a non-starter averaging about twelve minutes and five points a game. There was also shoulder trouble for the 2008 Miss Kentucky Basketball. Eventually TG decided that there's no place like home sweet home, and returned to the 'Ville and transferred to Louisville.
Sitting that first season at Louisville because of transfer rules must have been rough for Tia, the Cards struggled because of lack of depth at guards and when 2010-11 rolled around Gibbs was ready and anxious to get back on the court and show Cardinal fans those All-State skills. And, the skills were still magnificent. Back in her #25 jersey, Gibbs started all 35 games for the Cards and Louisville returned to the NCAA Tournament...Gibbs sparking an upset of Xavier in Round 2 action with 12 points and 6 assists. She also tallied 19 against her former teammates at Vandy in opening round action.
Things looked bright for the Lady Cards and Gibbs for the 2011-12 season. But, in the first half of the Cards opening game against Missouri State, Gibbs gets fouled with 16:10 remaining. Hitting her second free throw, leaving the game in obvious pain. A right shoulder injury again, this time a torn labrum with bone fragments effectively ending her season.
After another season of rehab, Gibbs is ready to return to the floor...rejoining a Cardinal squad that looks strong, deep and very talented. A conversation with her at the Cardinal Caravan at Captain's Quarters reveals that she's fully recovered, ready to go and excited about the Cards chances. With Gibbs available at guard, the Cards have depth, talent and experience that is unprecedented in Coach Jeff Walz's tenure as Cardinal WBB head coach.
Her defense, scoring and hustle will be an integral part of the Louisville attack in 2012-13. The Cards will try to get her an extra year for 2013-14 as well, because of the injury status.
For now, though...it is the immediate task ahead for Tia and her UofL teammates. Gibbs ready to fulfill whatever role Jeff Walz has for her on the Cardinal squad. Despite setbacks and adversity, Gibbs retains her engaging personality and optimistic view. Eager to help the younger players. Ready to resume her own goals and desires on the court. Focused on the team and comfortable with whatever role she plays on it.
You could say that Tia might have a lot of responsibility on her shoulders this season...here's hoping the shoulder(s) stays strong.
The Gibbs Numbers
GP GS Pts Reb Avg
2008-2009 (Vandy) 29 0 147 71 5.1
2010-2011 (Louisville) 35 35 307 135 8.8
2011-2012 " " " " 1 1 1 1 1.0
USA takes Gold in the Olympic WBB competition, disposing of France 86-50 in the championship game. Taking a 12 point half-time lead and expanding upon it to once again prove their dominance in a sport that has been very good to the USA over the past five Olympics.
Candace Parker providing the spurt, eight straight points in a 13-2 USA run that provided an insurmountable lead.
Angel getting token playing time...11 minutes, seven points, three steals.
After a brief respite, the "Ladies of London" return to the WNBA wars...where Angel will get the chance again to improve on her WNBA leading scorer stats and be an opponent, instead of teammate, against Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Parker, Big Syl, Lindsey Whalen and the other USA stars. Geno can't gum up the works this time.
First of many Olympic appearances for our Angel. Hopefully, a new skipper in 2016. And a few less UConn alumnae.