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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Mid-term assessment for WBB -- Thursday Cardinal Couple

#6 Cards Doing Much Well But Room To Improve

The University of Louisville WBB squad has played 15 games so far in the 2014-15 season. Yes, fans...we've reached the halfway point of the regular season schedule...and the Cards stand at 14-1 and are #6 in the nation. And, tied for #1 in the ACC.  

There is a lot to be impressed with so far. How many of you saw this team at 14-1? Raise your hand. How many of you with those hands still up thought the two leading scorers would be freshmen so far? Keep 'em up if you did. Finally, how many of you with hands still in the air thought this team...with four main scorers from last year would be averaging 80 points a game? And how many thought we would lose to UK in the KFC YUM! Center this year?

I don't see any hands left in the air.

Based on the record and ranking so far, the Cards are easily in the top 10% of the NCAA WBB squads this season and we'll give them an "A" for their first semester.

A recent CARDINAL COUPLE POLL indicated to us that 50% of you that voted considered Mariya Moore the MOP of the season so far. We'll not disagree...she has been impressive. She leads the team in scoring, has made the most threes (25) and is a 75% free throw shooter. She's also the team leader in assists with 55. She sits at the top of our class and gets an "A".

We'll hand out two more "A" grades Jude Schimmel and Shawnta' Dyer. Jude's efforts aren't always the type that stuff a stat sheet...but she is the floor leader, ball controller and leads Louisville in steals (39). She's only averaging two turnovers a game in 26 minutes average court time. Shawnta's numbers are quite impressive for the amount of time she sees. Second in total rebounds, second in blocks and shooting 50% from the floor. She averages seven points a game in 16 minutes. Imagine where those numbers might be if she was getting 25 minutes. 

We'll hand out four "B" grades to this squad...

-Sara Hammond. Fourth in scoring (10.7), now leading in rebounding per game (6.1) and almost 70% from the charity stripe. If she makes a few more two footers, especially early in games...we'll consider an "A" for the final grade.
Early fouls also need to decrease.

- Bria Smith. She's scored two more points than Hammond on the season (161) and has the only triple-double of the year. She defense can be quite good and she's over 50% from the floor. More successful mid-range jumpers will get her an "A". 

- Myisha Hines-Allen. She started with a bang this season and is Louisville's second leading scorer. Although she's struggled a bit of other team's have figured out how to defend her...we're impressed with this freshman. We'd like to see less fouls and more rebounding.

- Arica Carter. A slow start for this freshman but has really picked up the pace. As with Jude, a lot of what she does isn't stat material...but she's blazingly quick, passes well and the mid-range jumper is deadly at times. She is 0-10 from the trifecta arc, though...improvement needed there.

Earning "C" grades for this team are four players:

- Emmonnie Henderson. She's been great in spurts at times and then there are the brief appearances where you wonder if she's playing for the opponent. "Buying in" to the team concept means learning the scout and demonstrating that on the court. A more consistent effort raises this grade.

- Megan Deines. A valuable contributor off the bench...
Deines can hit the three, create with passing and get out on the break. Her rebounding (1.5 a game), free throw shooting (46%) and defensive aggressiveness could all use a overhaul, though. 

- Sherrone Vails. Limited in playing time, Sherrone does what she can in her playing time and is still feared as a shot-swatter and shooting 50%. "Bigs" get fouled, though and her free throw % is only 61%. "Bigs" need to rebound also and her 33 grabs in 113 court minutes could improve.

- Arianna Freeman. Another who hasn't seen a bunch of minutes and it's difficult to judge just what she can do and how well it can be done so far. 2 for 13 from the floor isn't impressive but those stats could improve with time added on the court. Average, so far, in other game aspects and that gets her a "C". Give her a few more dribbles when you can, Jeff.

We're giving Cortnee Walton a "incomplete" since she saw so little action and is out now with injury. She probably would have graded out with a "B" professor Paulie's opinion...but four games just isn't enough to decide. Heal well, Arizona Archangel...

The second semester will be a lot tougher learning curve for
this team. Replacing GCU, Belmont, ODU and Lafayette with Duke, UNC, Notre Dame and Fla. St. means the wins will not come as easily (if there are wins against these four) and the stats could drop as the competition increases. 

We'd be happy to see this 2014-15 team get through ACC play with a conference record of 12-4. We'd be thrilled to see Louisville go 8-0 in January...trips to Wake Forest and Florida State will be challenging, though. And Syracuse visits in January. They are to be feared.

14 games left... seven in the YUM!, seven on the road. Eight of them on national or regional TV. Three of them ESPN2 games.

They've reached the halfway point in the race and the Cards are looking good so far, among the leaders and strong on the approach. We'll see how this race is looking when the contenders hit the top of the stretch in February.


Don't forget to e-mail us your pick in our January CARDINAL COUPLE CONTEST. This month the contest is...

How many points will Mariya Moore score in January? Your prize is a CARDINAL COUPLE T-SHIRT!!! (and the respect and admiration of the staff chimps here at CC). Regular reader The Real Joe Hill is going with 110. 

E-mail to:  




  1. Walz has done a great job of coaching this team. He has definitely played to the players strengths. I think we will lose anywhere from 4 - 6 conference games, I don't see over 6 losses. Walz has only lost more then 6 conference games when we had a ton of injuries and little Shelby Harper running the point.

  2. Pretty generous on the grading, Paulie, IMHO. Dyer is a "B". Maybe that would improve if she saw more court time. I think Walz should be starting her. Hammond is a "C" the way I see it and Moore is, too. I give this team a B+ overall. Losing to UK, struggling against GCU and Pitt and least amount of three-pointers made in the ACC make that a more reasonable grade.

    Curtis Franklin

    1. Whoa...remind me to avoid your class. A "B" for Dyer, and even a "C" for Hammond I can understand, but a "C" for Moore? The leading scorer on the team as a freshman? Ouch!

    2. Hahaha agreed. C is just a crazy rating for Mariya. We would not be 14-1 without ms. Moore right now... I can tell you that much Mr. Franklin.

    3. OK. Maybe a "B" at best. Here's why I say "C"

      1) They've had to work with her on not being just a three-point shooter.
      2) No freshman is deserving of an "A" because there is so much they have to learn. Even Shoni and Angel would not have gotten "A" grades in their freshman year. IMHO.
      3) Her mid-range jumper needs work. It's equal to Bria's right now. Sometimes there, sometimes not.

      I just wonder what Walz would grade them out at? He would probably respond with something like each game is a different gradin cycle and a comprehesive would have to wait until the last game of the year.

      Curtis Franklin

  3. Great Piece! "Grading" is always a challenge due to the issues you call out like intangibles / unmeasurables, playing time, etc, but your take seems pretty fair. Another factor that doesn't always get considered is experience / leadership, i.e. I'd expect much more from our seniors, particularly Hammond & Smith than I would a freshman. The leadership issue probably won't be reflected in the stats. The only senior that deserves an "A" in leadership so far this season is Jude. Jury is out on Bria and Sara. Personally I expected more but then we're just getting into the conference wars so they've still got a chance to step up.

    The only change I'd recommend is bumping Megan up to a B. I think she's done a really good job with very limited minutes. If we measured production per minute I think we'd all be impressed with how she would score out.

    In that context I was thinking about how everyone bought into the "we can't shoot threes compared to last year" thingy. I looked back at last year on the U of L website and here's what our "Big Three" shot on three pointers for the season last year:

    - Shoni - .381
    - Tia - .371
    - Nita - .310
    ...which looks pretty good and of course all three of these women ended up with at least a chance to play pro ball.

    So...this year here's where we are through half the season. As a team we're at .353 which is a tad worse than last year at .355. That said here are the individual results so far:

    - Jude - .419
    - Megan - .389
    - Mariya - .385

    So even after absorbing Arica's 0 for 10 for the season so far our three best tre shooters have a better percentage than last year's WNBA All Star MVP winner had in her senior year. I'd say we don't have much to apologize about on threes and I think we'll surprise some folks in the conference that think we can't drain them.

    We've got a chance to win every single game this year unlike in years past. That's all we can ask for is a legitimate chance to go do battle.

    Go Cards!

  4. I think your grades are pretty much spot-on with one exception. Even though Jude has been playing well lately, I can't give her an "A" when, in the UK game (the most important, most pressure-packed game of the season so far), she played what in my opinion was the worst game of her career. So I'm dropping her down to a "B"

  5. Team gets an A. I projected 11-4 at this juncture. Walz an A. Jude an A++ if grading after the Kentucky game. D+ up to that point for no offense. Hammond a B just alone for the great job in the Cal game!!
    I see our conference record as 10-6 which means we'll be 13-3

  6. Sunday's Wake Forest game shows as a listen only even on the Louisville location of the premium CBS sports site but when i search that site for Wake Forest the game shows and audio and video.

  7. LOL Paulie. Grade those little Cardinal Birds all you want. Just remember who the best two women's basketball programs in the Commonwealth are. UK and WKU.

    Matthey Mitchell for Governor

    1. How ya doin' Mattie? How was that bowl trip? (Ooops...sorry, wrong school) Actually the third and fourth best women's basketball programs in the Commonwealth are Spalding and Bellarmine. Great graduation rates, successes on and off the court and no Epps or Goodin-Rogers to gum up the works. No dancing coach with a "designer" hairdo. YIKES! Louisville and WKU remain 1&2 in the state. See you at the Final Four in Tampa. If you get there. That seems to be a trip that the Kitties can't get a booking or show up for...


  8. Gov, Gov, Gov - Whats Up? Trying to get some shots in before your kittens get devoured by SC the 11th? That assumes you can handle Auburn tonight which is far from a given.

    We've already had the discussion about the best program in the State. Just slide those two you called out down one place and put the two time final four program on top and you've got it right.

    I understand that Staley and her staff have fully digested the Ilini & Duke tapes and will be ready to feast on you in a few days.

    Be sure to check back in after it all comes down.

    1. SC is playing UK? When did SportsCenter @ ESPN get a team?

    2. Pretty Funny. I'm not much of a prognosticator but I'll step out on this one:

      1) By about mid-afternoon on Sunday those UK fans that didn't know what SC stands for should have a full understanding of it.

      2) We'll all most likely have the pleasure of watching an undefeated #1 and a once defeated #2 do war on February 9. Should be fun.

  9. Guys, I understand the fact that the tourney is the prize, and all of that, but the fact remains that UK has beaten us four straight years. Most observers would agree that, based on the past five years or so, Louisville is the more-accomplished program, but I'm not going to talk smack to UK fans until we beat them.

    1. I'm not going to go looking to talk smack to the Gov, but if he brings it here first, which he does, he gets it back. Particularly since he seems to like to single out some of our ballers out by name, which doesn't seem particularly cool to me.

    2. That said you're right. We need to beat UK toe to toe. Hopefully we get a shot in the NCAAs if not then next season will have to do.

    3. LOL. Not to worry guys. I met "Matthew Mitchell For Governor" at a UofL WBB several years ago (and it wasn't vs. UK). She's a die hard UK fan but is a UofL grad. She likes to get our goat from time to time and (she'll kill me for this) a nice looking middle age lady with two sports playing a UofL fan. She also lost her husband about a decade or so ago and sports have helped fill that gap

      She'll bring it to us at times...but she pays admission to watch the Cards many Cats fans do that more than once every two years?

      Paulie (for mayor?)

    4. Matt Mitch for Guv is funny... good job Burn Brother and Paulie laying the smack back. SC will devour UK ... just a waiting game till it happens I will say this Epps is a player. Just learned how she reneged on us as well as Goodwin-Rogers and then smacked it to us good this year. Didn't follow recruiting back then

    5. Ha! So Paulie you've been holding out on us about The Gov's non de plume. Now that really is funny. Mystery solved. Makes me glad I've been "nice" to her.

      Big night...three top 25 teams lose...ND & UNC go down in addition to our friends at Iowa losing to the Illini (who also took down UK).

      Our league play is really going to be fun to watch. Although I'm not crazy about the chance we may lose a few it sure makes for a more interesting season compared to the AAC. Watching UConn take apart Tulsa by about fifty the other night reminded me of how tough most AAC games are to watch.

  10. Here's some ACC halftime craziness!!!

    - Pitt up by 10 over UNC
    - Miami up by 20 over Notre Dame! ND shooting 24% and 0 fer on threes!

    Good Stuff

  11. Anyone have any inside info on visitors coming in for 2016 class

    1. Not sure how much of that has been set up yet. Rumor is a few interested parties will be visiting to check out the YUM! for a couple of ACC games but I don't have any specifics.


  12. At it shows Cards Wake Forest game is going to be streamed video Sunday Hope that's correct. The WBB Louisville website doesn't show its a TV game


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