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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Party crashers turned party planners



Louisville Women’s Basketball played their lone exhibition game on Tuesday afternoon with close to 5,000 elementary school kids (and a few of us adults who braved the noise) in attendance.  The kids were incredibly loud through out the game, but none moreso than when One Direction came on the jumbo tron and when the Cardinals hit the 100 mark. 

As was expected, this was a lopsided affair. The starters for the Cards were Shoni Schimmel, Antonita Slaughter, Bria Smith, Asia Taylor and Cortnee Walton.  (These same 5 also started the second half.) The Cards started off on a 24-0 run and never looked back.  The halftime score was 67-14, with 11+ minutes left in the game the Cards hit the century mark, and at the buzzers merciful end the final was 127-40.  

From the start, Pikeville was outclassed.  That is expected in an exhibition game.    This win is no real indicator of how the team will do against stiffer competition, those tests are yet to come.  With that disclaimer, I will share my thoughts and highlights of the game. 

Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back !
Asia Taylor, Tia Gibbs and Shawnta Dyer all looked great back on the court. 

Actually, Asia looked phenomenal!  It is the best I can remember seeing her look on the court.  She was aggressive around the rim, on offense and defense.  She led the Cardinal scoring and notched a double-double with 19 pts. and 12 rebounds.   She was finishing at the rim, pulling down boards and playing an overall very strong game.   Her ability to move around traffic in the paint and get to the bucket is indicative of her athleticism.  Her pure athleticism is a thing of beauty.  I’d love to know where Coach ranks her, in terms of her athleticism, compared to players he has coached.    Asia remaining healthy and this active over the course of the season will be a key to the Cardinals success. 

Hard to believe I have watched Gibbs on the sidelines more than I have on the court.  This young woman has battled such adversity.  I will be honest and say that I did not expect to see a healthy Tia back on the court.   I have never doubted her ability or willingness and desire, however, I have doubted her body.   She played with such enthusiasm and gusto, as if she knows this is her last chance.  Her first shot attempt was a made 3pt shot.  She would hit several more of those before the days end.  More importantly though, was her activity and movement on the court.  She was directing traffic with some of the younger guards, setting screens , and overall just busy on defense.   While I expected to see her markedly slower than her teammates, I did not really observe that.    Gibbs brings such confidence, poise, maturity and leadership to the team.  She is a role model for her teammates on and off the court (she will graduate with her MBA this year).   If Gibbs can remain healthy this year we fans are in for a real treat.  I expect there will not be a single moment that she is on the court giving anything less than 110%, knowing this is her swan dance. 
Shawnta Dyer was a favorite of mine her sophomore season, which was a redshirt freshman year for her (having a heel issue her first year here).  It was so good to see her on the court.  She has the ability to be a very dominant post player on both sides of the ball.   She is wearing a very bulky knee brace, and it was evident that she has been off of the court for a year.  However, she still showed that fierceness of getting inside and going to the bucket.  She ended up with 14 points on the day.  Dyer is interesting to me.  I often look at the scoreboard and am in utter surprise at her points tallied.  She is not flashy, but she is a workhorse.  She gets out there and quietly goes about the task at hand.  Before you know it, she is second in scoring on the day.  Keeping Dyer healthy will give this team continued and added depth in the post.  Without a true center on the team (Sherronne Vails is out for the season with a knee injury) the combination of Taylor, Dyer, Hammond, Walton and freshman Emmonnie Henderson will be doing all the work in the paint.  These players provide a solid combination of strength, power, and athleticism to anchor the team.  This was sorely missing from last years team that was hobbled with injuries.  Dyer healthy makes this team all the more dangerous come March.   

A box score for this game is at the end of the article.  There was not an obscene amount of fouls called, so, early indications are that the team is adjusting to the new hand check rules. 

Monny Niamke is a point guard who sat out last year due to her transfer from Lindsay Wilson.  All I can say about her is that she has speed, handles and was not deterred from getting to the basket.  Starr Breedlove is another guard, and new to the team, who also showed cat-like quickness.  I thought Jude Schimmel was fast last season.  I would love to see the 3 of them in a footrace.  While close, my money is on Breedlove.  Breedlove also seems to be very athletic. 

Emmonnie Henderson made her debut as a Cardinal on her birthday.  During a time out, while in the huddle, the fans sang Happy Birthday to her.  Not sure how in tune to that she was, as Coach Walz was his busy self with the team gathered.  Henderson is a strong, physical presence in the paint.  I expect, as is true for post players adjusting to the college game, we will see the real attributes she brings to the game during her sophomore season, much like we did with Hammond.   That being said she will be a huge presence in the paint for years to come.  She seemed to struggle hitting some gimmees near the basket, yet she stepped out to the elbow and drained a shot.   Her strength in pulling down rebounds will be invaluable as she adjusts to the physicality and speed of the college game.  I am so excited to see Henderson play and develop under Coach Walz.  She has all the tools to be a huge contributor for this program for years to come. 

Of course, the team as a whole looked good.  They played hard the entire game, never taking their foot off of the gas.  That was a welcomed sight, knowing full well that last season they were plagued with mental absences from the game far too often.    Any lack of mention of a players contribution is not indicative of how they played, but I more wanted to showcase today the newcomers and what we can look forward to with them. 

Dyer (14 points, five rebounds) and Gibbs (11 points, four assists) were among eight double-figure scorers for U of L.

Of course Shoni showed some flare, Jude got in on the sister act and was the recipient of a transition, beautiful behind the back, no look pass that she finished for two.  Hammond and Slaughter were both really pulling down boards.  Smith looked steady, Walton looks stronger and she and Deines both look more confident in their game. 

My friends, I think this season has the opportunity to be very special.   This team appears to be clicking on all cylinders and has the chemistry and confidence in each other that I did not always see last year (certainly I did see it by the end of the season).  However, starting the season with that kind of confidence is exciting and I think it is going to make for a very fun season. 

It all gets started on Saturday, Nov. 9 at 7:00 p.m..  The team is talking about unfinished business.  They played today like they meant that.   Last season they were dubbed the party crashers, this season I believe they intend to be the party planners.   (Paulie stole that from someone, and I like it, so I stole it from him.)

If you do not have your season tickets yet, now is the time to get them.  It is going to be a fantastic year for women’s basketball; you are not going to want to miss a minute of it.   I look forward to seeing you at The YUM!
PIKEVILLE vs Louisville (11/5/13 at KFC Yum! Center Louisville, KY)

Box Score
Official Basketball Box Score

Official Basketball Box Score
PIKEVILLE vs Louisville
11/5/13 11:06AM at KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, KY

                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
32 Cheyenne Madden..... f  1-2    0-0    1-2    2  3  5   2   3  0  1  0  0  25
00 Christin Haney...... g  1-7    1-7    0-0    1  0  1   0   3  2  3  0  0  26
11 Brogan Conley....... g  2-6    2-5    0-0    0  0  0   1   6  0  2  0  0  14
23 Jayme Jackson....... g  2-6    2-5    0-0    0  1  1   3   6  3  3  0  1  28
42 Callisha Johnson.... g  2-12   0-3    0-0    1  0  1   5   4  0  4  0  0  13
02 Kayla Day...........    0-2    0-1    0-0    1  0  1   0   0  0  3  0  0   7
12 Patrice Tonge.......    1-3    1-3    0-0    0  2  2   1   3  0  3  0  0  16
13 Kandice Porter......    0-2    0-0    0-2    1  4  5   1   0  0  2  1  1  17
14 Lelanda Matthews....    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   4
22 Breanna Fraley......    0-1    0-1    1-2    0  0  0   0   1  1  3  0  0   5
24 Kelah Eldridge......    1-4    1-3    2-2    0  1  1   0   5  2  6  0  0  21
25 Courtney Haney......    0-2    0-1    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   6
31 Brittany Swindall...    4-7    1-1    0-0    3  4  7   3   9  0  1  0  0  18
   TEAM................                         1  1  2             2
   Totals..............   14-54   8-30   4-8   10 16 26  16  40  8 33  1  2 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half:  5-24 20.8%   2nd Half:  9-30 30.0%   Game: 25.9%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  2-12 16.7%   2nd Half:  6-18 33.3%   Game: 26.7%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  2-5  40.0%   2nd Half:  2-3  66.7%   Game: 50.0%    1

HOME TEAM: Louisville
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
13 Walton, Cortnee..... f  5-5    0-0    1-1    2  3  5   2  11  0  2  0  1  18
31 Taylor, Asia........ f  6-9    1-2    6-7    7  5 12   0  19  1  0  0  3  15
04 Slaughter, Antonita. g  3-6    0-1    1-3    1  6  7   1   7  3  0  0  1  15
21 Smith, Bria......... g  1-9    0-0    1-1    0  0  0   0   3  3  1  1  2  13
23 Schimmel, Shoni..... g  5-10   2-7    0-0    0  2  2   1  12  7  0  0  2  16
00 Hammond, Sara.......    4-6    1-1    2-3    2  2  4   1  11  0  1  0  1  13
02 Niamke, Monny.......    2-3    0-0    0-0    1  1  2   0   4  1  0  0  1  12
10 Breedlove, Starr....    3-3    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   2   6  2  3  0  1  12
12 Dyer, Shawnta'......    6-8    0-0    2-2    2  3  5   3  14  1  1  1  3  17
15 Deines, Megan.......    3-4    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   6  4  0  1  1  21
22 Schimmel, Jude......    4-6    2-2    0-0    0  2  2   1  10  7  0  0  1  17
25 Gibbs, Tia..........    4-7    3-6    0-0    1  4  5   2  11  4  0  0  3  15
32 Henderson, Emmonnie.    6-12   0-0    1-2    5  3  8   3  13  0  0  1  0  16
   TEAM................                            2  2
   Totals..............   52-88   9-19  14-19  21 33 54  16 127 33  8  4 20 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 28-46 60.9%   2nd Half: 24-42 57.1%   Game: 59.1%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  6-12 50.0%   2nd Half:  3-7  42.9%   Game: 47.4%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  5-7  71.4%   2nd Half:  9-12 75.0%   Game: 73.7%    4




  1. Is it too early to read anything into Walton starting and Hammond coming off the bench? Nice report, Jenny!

    the original Joe Hill

  2. Replies
    1. I don't pay attention to who starts, but I do pay attention to who substitutes for whom in competitive games. In those competitive games, I think that Walton and Dyer are interchangeable, and Hammond and Taylor are interchangeable. A front line of Hammond, Taylor, and Slaughter is too small to beat the teams Lville is going to have to beat to make it to the final four. Someone else posted that Walton looked good, which is great to hear, because given Vails injury, I think Walton is going to be critical to this team's success.
      --PDX Phil

    2. Did you not watch us beat Baylor, Tennessee, and Cal last season in the tourney? They were much bigger. You worry too much about size, tbh.

  3. Walton looked very improved. Some nice moves under the basket and a nice touch from outside. Henderson is going to be a beast for us, btw.

  4. Was hoping Bria had improved her shot. 1 for 9 is a bit discouraging. Hopefully just some nerves. Good start.

    1. Agree that it always seems to take Bria and Shoni awhile to get untracked each season. Asia Taylor! Wow! Hope she can produce like that every night!

      Blue Lou

    2. Has Shoni kept off the weight that she lost last Spring?


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