Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Senior Class Ready to Meet 2014-15 WBB Challenges -- Wednesday Cardinal Couple
EXPERIENCE AND SKILLS HIGHLIGHT WBB SENIORS
( This is the second of three articles about the 2014-15 Louisville WBB squad. Today, we look at the five seniors.)
What do you get when you have five seniors, all starters at one time or another...and a common denominator?
Meet the "S" troops...Shawnta Dyer, Sherrone Vails, Sara Hammond, Bria Smith and Jude Schimmel. Besides sharing the 19th letter of the alphabet...they have a combined 250 starts between them. Vails and Dyer arrived on campus for the 2010-11 season...Schimmel, Smith and Hammond arrived in 2011-12 and the five have been a part of 107 wins and just 37 losses.
Experience? Yes, indeed. Without too much heavy thought...you can visualize a senior starting lineup with Bria and Jude at the guards, Sherrone and Shawnta steadying the paint and Sara doing what she loves best...popping threes from the wing.
We doubt we'll see that combination as a pre-dominant lineup (there is a bunch of talent on this squad that will earn playing time)...but, it is within the realm of possibilities. Sara's talents will most likely be used in the paint along with Sherrone and Shawnta, while Jude and Bria will add depth and experience to the guard slots.
It is the largest senior class in Jeff Walz's eight seasons at Louisville. In height and numbers. Maybe not the most talented of all-time (are there three WNBA picks in here?) but one that will give any opponent a lot to prepare for and think about.
Bria came in her freshman year, won a starting guard role and hasn't relinquished it yet. A slashing, penetrating guard that has also developed a sweet, mid-range jumper. She'll be looked to repeat these skills again in the upcoming season and could likely draw the opposing squads' best guard defensive assignment. She can be used as a combo guard, too...a valuable asset.
Jude is the most legitimate three-point threat of the
seniors. Add her crafty ball hawking and steals capability and her deadly passing skills and you have a player that Walz probably won't have seated for very long in games. The question for some is how effective will she be without big sister Shoni out there with her...we feel she's had sufficient time to learn the moves and tendencies of her 12 teammates and will be just fine.
Sara has been one of the main inside forces over the last two years and with the added ability to step outside the arc and drain threes...she's a defensive match-up nightmare for opposing coaches. Her leadership skills will also be counted on...especially in times when the younger players on the roster are on the court. She was the senior that went to ACC Media Day with Walz and made both preseason ACC first teams.
Shawnta is one of the unanswered question as of yet. With the last two seasons cut short with a torn ACL, MCL and a hip stress fracture...plus red-shirting her first season with a hip injury...she's only endured one year where she played 30+ games. If healthy and ready to go...she'll be a force inside...scoring and rebounding. Walz might meter her playing time due to the depth of the paint prowlers...but Shawnta can dominate inside when she is on her "A" game.
Sherrone returns after a knee surgery that kept her on the sidelines last year. The best shot-blocker on the team, Vails has shown she can score from inside and outside...plus go to the boards with power. She, too, must be considered an unanswered question as well...how does she return from a year on the sidelines...but the word is she's mobile and mixing it up in preseason practices.
The "S" troops. Speed, shooting, strength, seniority and size. For the Cards to put "W's" on the slate...the "S's" will need to score, stop, sync, surround and soar.
(We'll look at the five freshmen on the roster in the Thursday edition of CARDINAL COUPLE).