Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Welcome to Cardinal Arena -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
MEET TAYLOR JOHNSON
(Over the next several weeks, CARDINAL COUPLE'S Paulie will be taking a weekly look at the newcomers to the UofL WBB program. Rest assured, we're not serving anyone's agenda here or making any grandiose claims...just reviewing what is new.)
Louisville must seem like heaven to GS point guard Taylor Johnson after her previous stop...Loyola-Chicago. While there for four years, she played under former WBB great Sheryl Swoopes...who was let go by the Ramblers July 19th. after allegations into her 'unusual' coaching style and mass transfer exodus of players following the 2015-16 season.
Take heart, Matthew Mitchell. You aren't the only coach in WBB DI that has kids running to the airport to catch departing flights.
Taylor, a 5'7" guard, averaged 15.1 points (#2 on the team behind Taylor Manuel) and shot 79.5% from the free throw line. She led the team with 120 assists. Known as a fierce, lock-down defender in her Rambler days, she ended her career at Loyola-Chicago with 234 steals in four years. That would put her seventh all-time on the UofL career steals list, in front of Jude Schimmel.
Her 2013-14 season was cut short after nine games after a season-ending knee injury.
Jeff Walz on Taylor:
"A great kid. Very mature and will bring valuable experience to our program. A tremendously talented athlete with incredible leadership qualities that will benefit our team. She has a remarkable scoring ability, sees the floor very well and has a strong knack on the defensive end of the court. I believe she can come in make a difference right away."
Paulie on Taylor:
When you get a chance to bring in experience like this for a year, you do it. Especially at guard, which was one of the areas the Cards need to improve on from last year. She'll be a defensive presence and you want good-free throw shooters on the court at the end of close games. Will she start? It doesn't really matter...but she'll be one Walz will look to in finishing close games. We know she did get a start in Cuba.
She'll prove to be invaluable in helping freshmen Jazmine Jones, Jessica Laemmle and Sydney Zambrotta hone their games and will give Walz the experienced depth he could have used several times last year at guard. When you have options with experience and talent, you sleep a little better at night.
A SIX PACK ON TAYLOR!
1) She is only the third Johnson to play for UofL WBB (Helen, her and this year's Ciera).
2) She was the only Rambler to play all 30 games in 2015-16.
3) She is from Frankfort, IL (which is the same latitude as Barcelona, Spain.) Other notables who lived in Frankfort are actor/comedian Bernie Mac and lead singer for Styx Dennis DeYoung.
(To see a music vid of Dennis with Styx, click HERE )
4) Taylor led all scorers in a Dec. 21, 2016 upset over DePaul 88-75. She had 24 points against Doug Bruno. (No wonder why Jeff Walz wanted her...right?)
5) The ACC is the third conference Taylor will have played in. She was on the all-conference teams in the Horizon and Missouri Valley conferences.
6) She had 18 points as a sophomore against UofL in the 2013 preseason WNIT. They were defeated by UofL 101-54.
So, is the addition "Taylor-made" for the 2016-17 WBB Cards? Time, of course, will tell...but all things seem to point to her "stealing" your heart (and the ball from the opponents) in the upcoming women's basketball season!