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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tuesday Cardinal Couple -- Adding four will make Louisville a hard team to beat.



TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

-New blood will make Lady Cards WBB even more dangerous

-Maggie Ruckenbrod named BIG EAST Player of the Week.

-WNBA Draft: No surprises here, Griner selected first.


A very early glance at the possible 2013-14 University of Louisville womens' basketball roster brings a gleam to this writer's eyes and a smile to his lips. Returning starters Shoni Schimmel, Nita Slaughter and Sherrone Vails will be seniors. Bria Smith and Sara Hammond juniors. Add Jude Schimmel, Tia Gibbs, Shawnta Dyer, Megan Deines, Asia Taylor and Cortnee Walton to that group and you have 11 players who have logged extensive minutes for the Cards as either starters or valuable off-the-bench contributors.

Davi Holmes, who joined the squad late in the season, makes 12. Her two-sport skills in high school (hoops and volleyball) show her to be an excellent shooter, rebounder and passer. We hope she recovers from the knee injury that sidelined her before she ever got to play in a game for the Cards.

Then, there's the new kids on the block.

Monny Niamke will be eligible and gained valuable experience by practicing with the Cards this season during her red-shirt season. A lightning-quick, 5'5" point guard who started for Lindsey Wilson her freshman season, Niamke has shown she can distribute, put shots up and play aggressive defense when her number is called. She'll see plenty of court-time for the Cards in 2013-14 and we wouldn't be surprised if she manages to wiggle her way into a starter or first off the bench role.

Emmonnie Henderson brings strength, rebounding prowess and the ability to score from different locations on the court to the Cardinal front-liners. Lack of depth at the "4" and "5" won't be a problem for the Cards in 2013-14 and Henderson is the type of player that can easily post "double-doubles" against opponents because of her ability to get inside and score and rebound. She'll be a prime contributor to the paint crew and will push the returning starters for playing time.

Janelle Cannon set the juco world on fire with her legendary scoring abilities this past season. We're guessing that her role at Louisville will most likely be a two guard that will be there to add greatly to the Lady Cards three-point skills...she's solid on defense as well and transition. Was Walz will use her specifically for we have no way of knowing yet...but we have a feeling that you'll hear P.A. announcer Sean Moth boom the name "Cannon" quite frequently in 2013-14.

Starr Breedlove is a speed merchant 5'8" point guard from New Jersey who led her Trinity Valley juco team to the championships as a freshman in 2011-12 and sat this season out to work on her game under personal instruction. Walz recruited her as a point-guard and based on what we've seen of her...her skills directing the offense and getting the transition game moving are as good as any point-guard the Cards currently have on the roster. She'll challenged Bria and Jude for court time and possesses a solid three-ball and mid-range jumper.

Graduate two and add four. Four good ones. The contributions from Shelby and Mo will be missed...most certainly...but Walz hasn't just replaced...he has reloaded.

Is it October yet?

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Louisville softball catcher and designated hitter Maggie Ruckenbrod has been named BIG EAST Player of the Week for her sterling performance over the last few days.

All she did was bat .500 (9 for 18), score six runs, drive in four runs, hit four doubles and two home runs.

Golly, Ruck...if you not going to try, why even show up?

The young lady also possesses a rocket arm behind the plate. Ask any number of would-be base stealers who have arrived at the bag to find a Ruck throw already waiting for them in the second baseman or shortstop's glove.

No St. Louis blues here... Missouri Maggie makes 'em pay. At the plate and behind it.

Louisville returns to action tomorrow with a doubleheader against Pittsburgh. First game begins at noon.

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For those of you who like to follow the college WBB stars after they graduate and head to the WNBA, the 2013 draft was held last night in Bristol, Connecticut.

Shocking as it may seem, Baylor's Brittney Griner was selected as the #1 pick...by Phoenix. She was reportedly thrilled to be joining Phoenix guard Diana Taurasi.

Elena Della Donna went second...the Delaware star grabbed by Chicago. Skylar Diggins was next and the Notre Dame guard will play for Tulsa.

Other first round picks:

4) Tayler Hill (Ohio State) Washingon
5) Kelsey Bone (Texas A&M) New York
6) Tianna Hawkins (Maryland) Seattle
7) Tori Young (Oklahoma State) New York
8) Kayla Alexander (Syracuse) San Antonio
9) Layshia Clarendon (California) Indiana
10) A'dia Mathies (UK) Los Angeles
11) Kelly Faris (UConn) Connecticut
12) Lindsey Moore (Nebraska) Minnesota

Seven of the top 12 picks played against Louisville in the 2012-13 season (Griner, Diggins, Bone, Alexander, Clarendon, Mathies and Faris).

Other BIG EAST players that were selected:

14. Sugar Rodgers (G'Town) Minnesota
17. Nadirah McKenith (St. John's) Washington
25. Shenneika Smith (St. John's) Washington
35. Andrea Smith (South Florida) Connecticut

I was surprised that neither DePaul's Anna Martin nor Katherine Harry were part of the first three rounds. Big money probably awaiting them in Euro or South America hoops, though. WE figured Monique Reid most likely wouldn't get a call...knee issues and all and thought that someone should pick up Louisville's other senior Shelby Harper...just for the fan draw she'd bring to a team.

Isn't it about time we get a WNBA franchise here in Louisville?

Louisville will have seniors Shoni Schimmel, Sherrone Vails, Tia Gibbs, Asia Taylor and Nita Slaughter available for the 2014 WNBA Draft. How many of them will get picked? Or, why not add a few to join them and start our own WNBA franchise?

No, I will not accept or seek the head coaching job. Jenny would be a good pick, though. The Louisville Force. My choice for the name. Jeff and I could do radio broadcasts...

-Paulie


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11 comments:

  1. Great info on the incoming recruits. Only concern is the apparent lack of height. How tall is Emmonnie? What would it take forbLouisville to acquire a WNBA team so we have BB available during summer UL break?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Think we would be okay with the returning players as long as they all play. Adding to them just makes us deeper, just in case. Next season right now pretty much looks how this season started, lots of bodies! But give me Sara, Shawnta, Asia, Courtnee, Sherrone and Davionna manning the paint, Nita, Megan, Tia, Shoni, Bria, and Jude as wings or backcourt players, and of course the evil genius Walz masterminding them, and this team should make another deep tourney run. And should any of the new girls push their way into playing time, all the better. Looking at all the combos we have with this group, with multiple girls being able to swing between 1 and 2, 2 and 3, 3 and 4, (Nita anywhere from 2 -4!) and we should easily be able to switch back and forth between big and small ball.
    On the subject of the WNBA, I've been wondering when TPTB will finally get off their NBA kick (ain't gonna ever happen here, IMO) and get on board the WNBA kick. Think it would go over very well here in Louisville.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Chicago Sky, Tulsa Shock and Atlanta Dream are the three lowest in attendance in the league. I doubt Atlanta is going anywhere. The Tulsa Shock just landed their a couple of years ago. Chicago would seem to be a logical candidate for a new home.

      The key seems to be + or - 7000 average atendance. The three listed above are below that. The rest of the league above it. Could Louisville pack over 7000 fans into the YUM! in the summer months to watch a WNBA team?

      We think they could...here at Cardinal Couple.

      Paulie

      Delete
    2. I don't want to be a negative commenter and I rarely am, but every year it seems Louisville loses 2 or so to transfer and 2 or more to injuries. Will it happen between now and before the new season starts? Who are candidates for transfer?

      Curtis Franklin

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    3. Playing time and team chemistry are usually the two most stated (or unstated) reason for transfers. Looking at the stat time for the 2012-13 season, in terms of minutes played per game...the six lowest were Shelby Harper (7.9) who graduated, Cortnee Walton (11.9) who was a freshman, Sheronne Vails (15.6) who was a junior, Megan Deines (15.8) another freshman, Mo Reid (18.3) also graduated and Shawnta Dyer (19.5)who was a redshirt sophomore. It is hard to see any of the four that sren't seniors leaving...

      The team chemistry appears to be very solid.

      Injuries? Well, that's another story. Asia appears to be almost back to 100%. Tia is a question mark, we'll see how the summer goes for her. Will Shawnta be 100% by tip?
      How will Davi Holmes come back from her knee injury?

      WE hope ALL the Lady Cards stay healthy and are 100% when the season starts, obviously. With 15 players slated to dress (I think that count is accurate) Walz will have a multitude of options. All good ones.

      Paulie

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    4. I have Schimmel, Schimmel, Smith, Hammond, Vails, Niamke, Taylor, Gibbs, Holmes, Walton, Deines, Dyer, Slaughter, Breedlove, Cannon and Henderson. That's 16.

      Honestly, I don't expect Gibbs back. I hope I am wrong.

      Blue Lou

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    5. Your count looks right to me. I always seem to forgot about Holmes. Hopefully, she'll have a season that make me remember her name.

      Paulie

      Delete
  3. Paulie - Why do we think a WNBA team could get 7,000 into Yum! in the middle of summer when a Top 10 Lady Cards team, with stars like Shoni and Sara and a top-notch schedule, can't get 7,000 butts into seats in January? Yeah, I know that announced attendance is 9,000 - 10,000 but you and I both know that several thousand season tickets are purchased only to enhance "priority points" standing and are used only for UK, ND and UConn every other year, if then. All you had to do was be at the Purdue game to see what a real crowd of 9,000+ looks like.

    Most WNBA franchises are in NBA cities and sort of partner with the NBA. Won't have that here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your points are very valid, Mike. Add in higher costs for a WNBA ticket, etc and it would be quite difficult for any WNBA franchise to draw 7000+ here...even if it featured a bunch of former UofL or UK players.

      And, to my knowledge, no local groups are looking to bring a team to Louisville. Just food for thought, a whimsy. Would love to see Angel, Shoni, maybe A'dia, Victoria Dunlap...some other locals play here...but it will probably never happen.

      Paulie

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    2. Guess we are just stuck with our local team :-)

      Delete
    3. And a great team it is!

      Delete

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