Sunday, June 23, 2013
Sunday Cardinal Couple -- Worried about talent? Not at UofL WBB
SUNDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
- Walz's Cards 2013-14 roster full of talent
A friend and I were talking about the 2009-10 Louisville women's basketball team the other day. It was a squad that was coming off the NCAA Finals appearance but a squad that had lost several key ingredients. With Angel McCoughtry, Candyce Bingham and Dez Byrd gone, the Cardinal ranks were already thin and transfers depleted it even more. By the end of that 14-18 season, the Cards were down to Monique Reid, Keisha Hines, Shelby Harper, Gwen Rucker, Rachel Story, Asia Taylor, Brandie Radde and Becky Burke. If I've forgotten anyone, I'm sorry. I try not to think about that season much...
The 2013-14 season finds the Cards once again the defending NCAA runner ups...but that is where the comparisons with the 2009-2010 pretty much end. Only Asia Taylor and Tia Gibbs, who sat out that season, remain from that 14-18 squad. Joining them are the five starters from 2012-13, a solid supporting cast and three talented additions...sixteen players in all.
They may have to expand the Louisville bench into the first row of fan seating in the KFC YUM! Center.
Ironically, last year Walz was going with a eight player rotation a lot at the end of last season like he did in 2009-10. If he's down to eight players by the end of the upcoming season...maybe Kentucky One or Humana should open a hospital wing on campus.
There are, of course, some questions. How well will Asia, Tia and Shawnta Dyer return after sitting a season with injuries? It'll be Monny Niamke's return season as well, after transferring from Lindsey Wilson...where she started as a freshman point guard. How well will she perform at Div. I level? Can Emmonnie Henderson, Janelle Cannon, Starr Breedlove and Davionna Holmes find significant minutes in a rotation that returns Shoni, Bria, Nita, Sherrone, Sara, Jude, Cortnee and Megan?
It's not a bad problem for Coach Walz to have. He's got a lot to smile about these days. A new daughter, new assistant and new conference. If he added a new car, new suit, and some new season-ticket holders in the KFC YUM! Center... he'd have a six pack of treasures that anyone would desire.
If this bunch ever gets worried about how a particular stretch of games are going, all they need to do is have a sit-down with Asia. I'm sure some of the stories she could tell about that 2009-10 season, her own physical ailments and such will snap anyone back to reality pronto. Surviving when things were rotten gives one a great perspective on handling adversity.
It's way too early to start predicting starters and playing time rotation for these 16 girls. But...if the injured come back able to contribute...if the newest additions live up to the hype predicating their arrival...if the returning players have improved just the slightest bit from last year...
You might want to book hotel rooms in Nashville this spring for the NCAA Final Four.
And, just how many lockers are there in the KFC YUM! Center women's basketball dressing room?