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Friday, November 1, 2013

FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE -- My favorite time of year...BASKETBALL is here!


FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

( Staff columnist and radio personality Jenny O' Bryan dusts off her crystal ball and looks into the future...of Louisville WBB this season. She likes what she sees...)


With the opening tip officially 8 days away (the official start to the season is the WNIT on Nov. 9) I wanted to take a brief look at the OOC slate of the women’s basketball schedule. 

University of Pikeville- Is an NAIA institution that plays in the Mid-South Conference.  As an exhibition game one could expect a very lopsided win in the Cardinal column.  Coach Joanna Bernabel-McNamee, who is embarking on her first season at Pikeville, leads the Pikeville Bears.   Of local interest is Lelanda Matthews,  a freshman on the team and Louisville native, out of Western High School.
Interesting fact:  Coach McNamee was on the 2006 staff at Maryland when they won the National Championship as a recruiting coordinator (Pikeville website). 

Loyola Chicago- This is the opening round game of the preseason WNIT and the official kick off of the season.   While Louisville should advance through the rounds of the tournament hopefully to the championship, this is the only game I will comment on, since the future opponents are not yet determined. 
The Ramblers are coming off of a 17-15 record from last season that ended in the Horizon League Championship loss to Green Bay.  Recent opponents of note for the Ramblers, were losses, to both DePaul and Marquette last season.   Losing only one starter from last year the team returns a veteran squad.  Still, the expectation is an easy win for the Cardinals.  Put this one in the win column as well.
Interesting fact: Sheryl Swoopes is the coach of The Ramblers and is a highly decorated athlete who was one of the original members of the WNBA.  This is her first season with Loyola Chicago, having been hired in April of 2013. 

Ohio- The preseason 5th place team in the Mid- American Conference (MAC) East, the Bobcats should easily be tamed by the Cardinals.  The Bobcats return only two starters from last years team and have a rather large freshman class of 6.  The Cardinals are still all in the win column after this game. 

Florida State- lost 4 starters from last years team and adds 8 newcomers to the squad, most notably 6-5 freshman stand out Kai James.  The lone returning starter is All-American contender and Senior Class award nominee forward Natasha Howard.   The Seminoles are a future ACC opponent and are picked to finish 6th in the conference by the coaches.   Another player of interest for the team is Morgan Jones who is a redshirt sophomore transfer and is on the ACC Newcomer Watchlist.  FSU has the potential to give the Cardinals some trouble.  I expect the Cardinals will win this match at home, however, and remain undefeated at this point in the schedule. 
 

Western Kentucky- Louisville West!  The staff of the Hilltoppers are loaded with former Cardinal affiliates.  Coach Michelle Clark-Heard in her second year at the helm was an assistant to Coach Walz.  Assistant Candyce Bingham is a former U of L player who helped lead the team to the first National Championship game, alongside Angel McCoughtry, in St. Louis.  Finally, Laura Terry is the student manager who has spent countless years on the bench as both player and manager.  It will be a reunion on the sidelines but a battle on the court.   The Hilltoppers play in the Sunbelt Conference and have two players who are All American Candidates, juniors Alexis Goovan and Chastity Gooch.    This game also finds its way in to the win column for the Cardinals.    I expect to see Coach Heard increasing the ranks of the Hilltoppers, competing for conference titles in the near future. 

Kentucky- Ahh, the team we all love to hate, and hate to lose too.  Kentucky provided Louisville with their first loss of the season last year, and have the real potential to do so again this year.  This year the Cardinals are at Memorial Coliseum, which has not been kind to the team.  The Wildcats lost do-everything Louisville native Adia Mathis to graduation, but return the rest of the starting lineup and add serious firepower and speed to their roster.  The Cats are a veteran squad with 5 seniors and 3 juniors and have some real power in the paint.  As we all know the Cats love to play pressure defense and thrive in the transition game.  Much like Coach Walz proved last year, if you slow the Cats down and get them in a half court game, their offense really tanks.   Of particular note is the freshman class, specifically Linnae Harper, a phenomenal guard out of Chicago, Illinois.   Harper is an impact freshman who is expected to impact the program immediately.  Combine that with Makayla Epps and Kyvin Goodin-Rogers (both former verbal commits to Louisville) and the Cats have a top ranked class of freshman.  I expect Coach Walz will try to slow this game down again.  I also expect that the new rules in women’s basketball will have the potential to hurt this high-pressure defense of Kentucky.  How they adjust to the changes could be the difference in this game.  If this game were being played at home I would easily give the win to the Cardinals.  However, an emotionally charged game, on the opponent’s home court, gives the slight edge to the Cats.  I hate it, and I hope I am proven wrong.  PLEASE, PROVE ME WRONG CARDS!  This is the first loss of the season for the Cardinals. 
Interesting fact- Goodin- Rogers will sit out her freshman season due to the recent findings of a pulmonary embolism.  We wish her a very speedy and healthy recovery!

Missouri State- The Lady Bears are picked to finish 5th in the Missouri Valley Conference.  They
had a terrible road record last year of 3-10.    The KFC YUM Center will not be kind to this team.  Another win. 
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Wright State-The Horizon League Raiders return a veteran squad of 10 upperclassmen.   I still don’t see that as enough to pull an upset on the Cardinals.  I count this one in the win column as well. 

Austin Peay- Another mid-major conference team comes in to the YUM Center trying to pull of an upset for the ages.   This is highly unlikely in my mind.  Another notch in the win column for the Cardinal squad. 

Ball State- Another MAC opponent, who are the Cardinals, for our Cardinal squad.   Ball State returns all 5 starters from last season and adds 6 newcomers.  However, our Cardinal (Louie) is a much better looking mascot and I expect another win for our team. 
 
Colorado- provided a road trip loss for the Cardinals last season.  If memory serves me Sara Hammond did not make that trip last season due to a death in her family.  The match up this season will be very, very different.  The Buffaloes are coming off of their best season in school history and are picked to finish 3rd in the PAC-12 behind Stanford and Cal.  The biggest loss here is in the graduation of Chucky Jeffery (who dropped 22 on the Cardinals last year).    Lose Jeffery, add Hammond and a home game, and this is the Cardinals final win of the non-conference slate. 

Heading in to conference play I predict our team has a one-loss record.  As I mentioned before, I hope I am wrong about that. 

In case you missed it, a long time reader posted in the comment section on Wednesday that he sees the Cards with 3 losses, KY, FSU and a loss in the WNIT.    I agree Joe, the FSU game is likely to be one of the more challenging games in OOC play.  I give our gals the edge.   I hope you are wrong on that one, my friend. 

What are your thoughts?  Let us know in the comment section below!


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FIELD HOCKEY has a say in their BIG EAST regular season finish tonight when they face Providence at Trager Field @ 6 p.m. A win and they guarantee themselves a share of first place in the BIG EAST. They are tied at the top with UConn and Old Dominion. Here's hoping the Cards win and ODU and UConn lose...the Cards would win the title outright if that happens!

Get out and support Justine Sowry's stick swingers tonight!

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Editor Note: If you are looking for Paulie's Friday Breeders Cup Selections...they are at Paulie's website.  www.paulsykes.com   A marvelous job by Jenny today to get this article in place. Last night's high winds and storms knocked her power out temporarily...but being the trooper she is, she braved the weather, finally got power restored and the article up and running. TEAM!

jenny obryan

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4 comments:

  1. I will say that...this year...we find a way to beat UK in Lexington for the first time since Angel McCoughtry was a junior (2007-08 season). WE are UNDEFEATED before we head into AAC play, is my guess.

    Curtis Franklin

    ReplyDelete
  2. Louisville OOC? Outta sight! They lose twice...FSU and UK. Hope I am wrong on each. WKU scares me down there (that's gonna be one geeked-up crowd) and Colorado poses challenges.

    Paulie

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hoping our pal Arch's CENTRALINTELLIGENCE steps up big at Santa Anita today!

    Tommy Boy

    ReplyDelete
  4. If the Cards lose to Florida State than it might not be a banner year for the Cards. Florida State is down this year. Plus, this is one of only a few real tests for them this season outside of UK and Uconn. A loss to Florida State would be bad for their rpi and could hurt tournament seeding for the Cards.

    ReplyDelete

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