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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The regular season tips off!


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WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

-Cards WBB starts regular season vs Texas A&M

(Staff columnist Jenny O'Bryan previews the Louisville vs. Texas A&M game on Friday)


Basketball tips off the regular season on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. at The KFC YUM Center against #12 ranked Texas A&M.   This opening night match is a strong matchup on opening night, is a Red Out, and is  hopefully a sold out affair!

Two years ago Texas A&M won the National Championship for the first time.  Nearly one year ago Louisville travelled to College Station, Texas and took a hard loss 76-58. 

A lot has happened in two years.  A&M has only 5 players on the roster from their championship team.  They also lost 5 seniors last year to graduation and return only two starters from the team that beat Louisville last season. 

Louisville limped in to College Station last year with a severe loss of personnel.  Tia Gibbs had already been injured, Mo Reid was sidelined with back and foot injuries and Shoni Schimmel was serving a suspension.  Instead of heading in to this game with an experienced team, three then freshman (B. Smith, S. Hammond and J. Schimmel) played 34, 14 and 31 minutes (respectively). 

Kelsey Bone (6-4 Center) led A&M with 9 boards and 15 points in last year's match up.  For Louisville, freshman Bria Smith led Louisville in points scored with 20 and tied Cierra Warren for the lead in rebounds with 7. 

I expect a wildly different affair this go round.  While Louisville is still plagued with some nagging injuries (Gibbs, A. Taylor) and not-at-full-speed Reid and Walton, Louisville returns some very seasoned players (Reid, S. Schimmel, Vails, Slaughter and Harper), sophomores who got a wealth of experience during last year (Dyer, Hammond, Smith and J. Schimmel) and what looks to be 2 great freshman in Deines and Walton.   On paper I give Louisville the nod with experience and strength players. 

Louisville will need to find a way to contain Kelsey Bone while finding a way to score around her in the paint.  This will be Louisville’s biggest challenge, I believe. 

Texas A&M has a very strong freshman class, their highest ranked class ever, at #2.  There are 6 freshmen that signed in this class and 4 of the 6 are top 25 kids.  Courtney Williams, a forward/guard leads this class as the # 9 ranked player in the country.   I expect these kids will be making a big impact for this team. Will it show up in their first game? I do not know.  But look for these kids, with some experience under their belt, to offer a big impact for this team later in the season...if not before. 

What do we need to see from our team?  Shoni at the point is a huge advantage for us.  She needs to have a strong showing in leading this team and minimizing turnovers.  Look for some snazzy no-look passes and a hopefully good night of shooting.  The combination of Shoni, Smith, J. Schimmel, Harper and Deines gives us a strong presence on the perimeter. While Reid’s time in the game will be limited, due to continued swelling in her knee, she will need to be efficient in her scoring and her athleticism inside with rebounding is a must.  Combine that with a strong showing from Dyer, Hammond and Vails and Louisville wins the battle inside.

It will be a battle, though.

Louisville's  'bigs' are going to need to rebound and defend against Bone.  This is no small task.  With the wealth of experience Dyer and Hammond gained last year in Reid’s absence -- I think we have an edge in this category.   Hammond will need to stay out of early foul trouble (hopefully summer workouts on footwork will minimize this) and Vails needs to have a big game defensively.   I am a little concerned about rebounding, as Taylor seemed to carry the load last season when Reid was out, but, she is sidelined still for a bit.  Reid can impact this stat while she plays, but the others will need to step up in a big way in this area. 

Another area that doomed Louisville in last years match-up was turnovers.  Louisville had 27 turnovers to A&M’s 15.   With Shoni and Gibbs not in this game last year, one could have predicted turnovers from the young guards.  Combine the Cardinals primary guards being out and the very strong guard play of Sydney Carter and Tyra White (both having since graduated) and the full court press was very difficult for Louisville to handle.  This looks to be, and needs to be, a very different stat this year. 

In my humble opinion Louisville can, should, and will win this game.   I do not expect it to be an easy win, but a win none-the-less. 

As a fan base, we can impact this game with our attendance.  This is a great opportunity to showcase our growing fandom.  Coach Walz has thrown down the gauntlet and has asked for a sell out for the opening game.   I’ll be there, will you?

( As Jenny mentioned, it is a Red Out game, so get there and cheer on the Cards!)  

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( Editor's link. Watch this girl absolutely tear up the competition in youth football! LINK BELOW:


Sam Gordon blows by the boys....

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11 comments:

  1. I'll be there. Go Cards!

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  2. Tough news out of Waco, TX. Imani Wright has verballed to Baylor.

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  3. this game airing locally on whas digital channel number 2? they aired a lot of the homes games last season. I can't make it out Friday night.

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    1. No WHAS TV listed yet for the broadcast that we know of yet. Available on 790 AM WKRD and Cards TV.

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    2. I hope there is something. I guess I will listen to radio if all else fails. CARDS TV is a rip-off, imo because the picture always comes out fuzzy and not worth the price. Tennessee & Baylor are broadcasting all of their homes games on their feed for FREE!

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    3. Updated info...game WILL be shown on WHAS 11.2 digital, Insight 432 and Comcast 207

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    4. ^^^^^. But please don't let that discourage you from coming to the game!!!

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  4. 2013 turned out to be a nightmare. This would have been a very good class if we didn't lose Epps & Rodgers to Kentucky. UK, imo, is overrated this year.

    I thought we had Imani but it is hard to get kids like that out of a state with such great wbb programs. We need to start getting all the top kids in ohio, indiana, and illinois.

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  5. This class isn't a terrible fail though. Henderson is the real deal and might start here from day one. She can defend, rebound, and score. She can create her shot better than any of the bigs we currently have besides Mo.

    Cannon # in JUCO also look good. I am worried about Montgomery. We have a lot of scholarships for 2014 if we want to use them. Sydney Brackemyre will be our first commit from that class I believe

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  6. I believe we are ok with our commits and there is still the spring signing period which has been very good to us in recent years. The recipe is to add our new recruits to those who will remain and combine with Jeff's coaching. Bake at 350 for a season and the result is a wonderful and competitive NCAA tournament.

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  7. While it is hard to lose out on these top recruits, you have to go after them. The fact that we were in it till the end with these kids, going up against storied programs, only shows the strength of this program and Coach Walz. Considering Russell, Chong and Wright all chose schools who have been at the top of WBB for years, and all have won multiple championships , and we were in it til the end, speaks volumes!!

    While it can be a bit discouraging, I find it heartening that Walz is making these storied programs really work for these recruits rather than it being a forgone conclusion where they are going.

    We had high hopes for the 2013 class. Not exactly what we expected, but we have some great kids signed on that will make an impact. I am particularly excited to see Henderson get to work.

    AND, remember, at the end of every season there is a coaching carousel. Any 2013 recruit who finds herself headed to a school that no longer has the coach that recruited her, can usually reopen her recruitment if she chooses.

    So, while I am not sure of anyone on the horizon for 2013, don't consider this class closed, either. Remember, this is how we got Bria Smith.

    Louisville and Coach Walz and company are doing, and will be, just fine.

    Jenny

    ReplyDelete

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