Listen to our weekly show !!

Listen to our weekly show !!
CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO'S LATEST BROADCAST IS UP AND RUNNING IN THE ARCHIVED SOUNDCLOUD. . We are all about the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports from a fan's perspective! CLICK THE CRESCENT HILL MICROPHONE TO HEAR OUR LATEST BROADCAST !! ***DOWNLOAD THE WCHQ APP*** AND PLEASE CONSIDER DONATING TO CARDINAL COUPLE AT THE PAYPAL LINK BELOW! YOU CAN ALSO SEND YOUR DONATION TO: CARDINAL COUPLE LLC c/o Paul Sykes PO BOX 91521 LOUISVILLE, KY 40291 ( make checks payable to CARDINAL COUPLE) Thank you for considering!

Donate to Cardinal Couple via PayPal. NOVEMBER IS FUNDRAISING MONTH FOR CARDINAL COUPLE!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Louisville women's basketball -- A follow up on the freshmen...TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE



HOW IS THE LARGEST FRESHMAN CLASS IN THE WALZ ERA DOING? 



Six true freshmen joined the UofL women's basketball roster this season, making it the largest freshman class in the Jeff Walz era at UofL. This was a subject of discussion the other night...an esteemed colleague of mine thought the 2009-10 class had six freshmen. He was close. Walz brought in five that year. My colleague was sure it was six. Here is who he named off. See if you can pick out the one that wasn't a freshman in that class.  Answer at the end of today's article. 

Shelby Harper                                      Nikki Burton
Tia Gibbs                                             Asia Taylor
Rachel Story                                        Ashley Rainey

As good as that class turned out...all six had success, even if it was ultimately at different schools for three...this 2016-17 class has the potential to be even better. Let's see how they are doing.


Kylee Shook. The 6'4" forward out of Mesa Ridge, CO...(And some will debate the height listing...claiming she is at least 6'5"...maybe taller) has given Louisville strong minutes at the "4" or stretch forward spot. She's been called on to play the "5" or center at times...but stretch forward is where she'll serve this squad best. Shook has played in 20 of the 22 games for a total of 225 minutes...third highest of the freshmen...for an average of 11.3 a contest...also third best. Her field goal % is .518 -- second best for the freshmen. She's 8-21 from three point range...those eight makes second best and she has 61 rebounds, which is tied for tops for the freshmen. 

She poses a dilemma for the opponents. Very capable of scoring either inside or out...how do you defend her? Leave her alone outside and she'll make you pay. Defensively, she needs to be a bit more aggressive...but with 21 blocks (second-highest) front-line opponents think twice when going up inside when she's on the court. Her length poses problems for foes in the passing lanes and she runs the court well for a "big". You can team her up with about anyone inside and she performs well. So far...we're impressed with her skills and feel that we'll see continued greatness as her career progresses. 


Ciera Johnson. Also listed at 6'4", this Duncanville, TX All-American has proven to be a valuable addition at the "5" for the Cards. Put into a starting role at the beginning of the year with Cortnee Walton's elbow injury, she held her own in the early competition and has continued to give the Cards quality minutes in a reserve role.  

Johnson has seen action in all 22 of the Cardinal's games and has logged 264 minutes...second best for the frosh...for 12.0 per contest. Her field goal shooting is 41-82 (50%) and she has 55 rebounds...good for third highest among the freshman. She is a student of the game and knows it quite well for a first-year. Still a bit slow on defensive assignments, she does use her size and strength to command position in the offensive sets and has shown the ability to go to the board strongly. We'd like to see the free throw accuracy improve (20-35 .571) Opponents have had trouble with her strength underneath and she has the most blocks (23) of the freshmen. So far...we like how she has performed in the Walz system and can only see better things down the road for her. 

Jazmine Jones. The Tallahassee terror has made quite an impact her in first season at the "Ville". Blessed with one of the smoothest mid-range jumper we've seen in awhile, extremely quick and athletic...Jones has been getting "first off the bench" assignments for Louisville and usually provides a spark when she does enter a contest. She's appeared in all 22 contests and put in 315 minutes (14.3 per game) which is tops for the freshmen. She is first in assists (23) steals (15) and tied for first in rebounding with 61. Her shooting (40-88) is at 45% and free throws (16-26) register in at 62%.

Jones is an exciting, dynamic and powerful addition to this squad. She provides valuable minutes at the "3" despite not having that great of a three-point proficiency (0-2 for the season) and can easily go to the "2" or even "4" if needed. Quickness and athleticism are two good descriptions for her. Prone to freshmen mistakes at times...sometimes she needs to adjust to the pace of the game...but we've heard people compare her to a young Angel McCoughtry. It will be up to her to develop the leadership skills, ability to take-over a game and strong all-over-the-court domination and three-point ability Angel had as her career progressed...but she has the talent, motivation and love for the game to become one of the best at Louisville. All it takes is the execution, hard work and dedication to get better and better. We look forward to "hearing the Jazz" the rest of this season and for a long, long time in the KFC YUM! Center. 



Sydney Zambrotta. Syd is a shooter. It's what she does best and it's the reason she is here. Especially from the three-point range. Out of Christ The King high school in New York, she has played in 18 of the 22 contest this year...for 124 minutes (6.9 a game). She's 18-42 from the floor this year and of those attempts...13-34 from beyond the arc. She also has the best free throw percentage on the squad (7-8  .875). 

Can she become a Becky Burke or Brandie Raddie type specialist for the Cards...being brought into games to do the outside bombing effectively? She's already shown she can be a force from the deep...five 3's connected against WKU and two other games where she's made two or better. Along with Asia, Mariya and Kylee...she's the outside threat and her playing time could increase as she gets more and more accustom to the pace of D1 basketball and her defensive skills improve. We hope she'll continue to work hard and continue to develop all aspects of her game...but perfection at trifecta distance when called upon is what the squad needs from her and is how she'll continue to help this squad.

There's a certain pride in knowing you're the "gunslinger" on the squad and that role could be hers if she is willing to work for it.


Bionca Dunham. The 6'2" Philly flash (once again...there is debate if 6'2" is correct...she seems taller) comes to the Cards as the least experienced baller...she didn't start playing serious, competitive hoops until her sophomore year in high school...but one with perhaps the most upside. Entered in 16 games this year...she leads Louisville with a .621 shooting average (18-29) and has seen 95 minutes on the court. 

Offensively, we see the ability and potential. Going strong to the boards in the paint certainly isn't a problem for her.  Defensively, there is still a lot of work to be accomplished...but that really isn't that uncommon for someone who has been playing as short of a time as she has. With time, experience, hard work and learning the D1 pace and mechanics...we think she can become a very valuable presence inside for the Cards. She reminds us of Asia Taylor in so many ways...Asia had a better basketball knowledge and talent when she got to Louisville...but Dunham has shown she can produce inside and Monique Reid and "A-Tayy" made nice careers out of that very same skill set. She may be the most gifted athletically of the freshmen...turning that into productivity and overall court-awareness and performance is the challenge that we hope she continues to pursue with abandon and embrace with a work-hard ethic.



Jessica Laemmle. Everyone's favorite "attack Yorkie" at 5'2"...she walked on the Louisville squad after a very successful career at Louisville Mercy. Fulfilling a lifelong dream to be a Louisville Cardinal, she's probably never going to be the Cards starting point-guard...but is the perfect candidate to lead the second squad on the court. Above average ball-handling skills, excellent court awareness and skilled at being the on-court leader...Laemmle is the type of hustle and drive player every team needs on a squad. 

Appearing in 14 games for the Cards, she's seen 79 minutes and provided eight rebounds, six assists and four steals in her court time. She fully understands her role on this deep and talented squad and works as hard as any player on the roster. A crowd favorite when she hits the floor, Laemmle is one of those girls you love to see on the roster and gives it her all when called upon. 


*          *          *          *          *          *          *

We're not going to rank the freshmen on who is best, most effective or valuable to the team. You probably have your own ideas in those categories and feel free to share them in the comments section if you wish.

We will point out that they've been an integral part of Louisville's successes this season and given Coach Walz a multitude of options in game situations. Continued success and improvements are essential from them if the Cards are going to "March" to the Final Four. We feel confident that they'll respond successfully. 

( Answer to the question at the top of today's article:  If you picked TIA GIBBS, you are correct. Gibbs started her career at Vandy and joined the Cards her sophomore season. )


Paulie
xxxxx









38 comments:

  1. Great Piece Paulie. In my opinion if Walz brings Shook along right she's going to be a big ULWBB star.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally agree. she is a combination of size and talent that we have not seen here.

      Delete
  2. A great article! Question for debate is who assumes that center role once Cortnee graduates? Ciera? Bionca? Sam? The incoming Kakala?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Shook will have a great career and Louisville and there is no way I'll speculate on a starting lineup yet for next year.

      Paulie

      Delete
    2. In my opinion Ciera Johnson
      Kylee is stretch 4 forward
      .

      Delete
    3. I really think next year they should use them like Coates and Wilson from South Carolina..... But with Shook's shooting ability that would make them even harder to guard. Next year starting 5

      Johnson 5
      Shook 4
      Hines Allen 3
      Durr 2
      Evans/Carter 1

      For her Sr year Moore comes off the bench. Assuming Johnson and Shook develop that could be the best front line in Basketball Hines Allen needs to add the three point shot and get accustomed to guarding Guards if she wants success in League.

      Delete
    4. "Assuming Johnson and Shook develop that could be the best front line in Basketball"

      Lots of potential but UConn will have Collier, Stevens, and Williams though Williams will be able to play the perimeter on defense.

      Delete
    5. You can keep moore out of the starting lineup she's a triple double threat ,she has a high basketball IQ
      NO WAY!

      Delete
  3. Way too early but I'll call Hines-Allen, Moore, Durr, Ciera Johnson and Carter as next year's starters. That's if Carter can come back healthy. Watch out for Dunham.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes I agree, that's my starting five.

      Delete
    2. Not seeing it. If Shook doesn't start at UL as a Soph she can go anywhere in the country and get serious playing time. Walz is going to have to get creative. Shook will be an epic 3 /4 with her outside touch, shot blocking game and ability crash the boards for the next three years. If she can put on a little weight and get stronger over the summer and she'll be unstoppable.

      Durr & Moore will have to figure out the 1 /2 between them. Carter can come off the bench. I'm open on the post...Johnson is OK but she's going to have to lose the baby fat, get in shape and keep her head straight to start. Will have other options with the incoming class.

      Delete
    3. She'll split time with Ciara and Myisha 25min. PT

      Delete
    4. Maybe..but if I was her folks and thought she'd be fighting for playing time as a sophomore I'd be considering my options. Shook has the same body/game/temperament type as Stewart & Samuelson. The only question is can Walz bring her along like Geno brought those two into their games?

      If he wants to be a big time coach he's got the kid and the Geno's model. Will be interesting to see if he can develop her. Big test for Walz and the Program. She can't develop sitting on the bench and I doubt she'll be doing it for long no matter what program she's in.

      Delete
    5. OK, point made but do you sit Myisha so Shook can play the stretch forward next year? She is too weak on defense so far and both Stewie and Samuelson could/can play "d"

      Delete
    6. Next year she'll(kylee) get 20 to 25 min.playing center & forward.
      Also she'll get stronger next season.The bottom line she'll get time.Remeber if you practice good you play.

      Delete
    7. I'm no coach but if I had the call I'd go high / low with Shook / Hines Allen at the forwards and guards being Moore, Durr and BJ this year and Jones or Carter next year at the third guard replacing BJ.

      Shook can step out and hit the three and can pass the ball in addition to being a big defensive deterrent around the rim.

      Walton is solid but can't score and rebounding is spotty. Doesn't have the shot changing capabilities of Shook. Walton, Johnson & Dunham off the bench this year and backfill next year whoever is solid.

      The idea of you get to play if you practice well sounds great but not so sure you want that level of uncertainty going into the last third of the season. If you look at the really good clubs they are on a 7 or 8 baller rotation...not the "what have you done for me lately approach". Kids need to perform but you have to jell the base club in a meaningful way before the tourney. Top 7 or 8 should be able to have a bad practice and not lose their spot.

      Delete
  4. I have to agree with what you said on radio this morning Paulie and what Walz said last night on his radio show. These top 16 rankings mean nothing right now. Nice for fan debate, I suppose, but irrelevant and subjective. I do think if Louisville can avoid Connecticut's region, they're a Final Four team. Miss. St. had South Carolina beat last night and two "no calls" by referee Bryan Enterline late handed the game to Dawn Staley. The Deb Factor.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree one sided affair for the foul situation late in the game.

      Delete
    2. Agree. All late close or non-calls went SC's way. The coach's kid got totally steamrolled on a pick at the end and didn't get the call. Worst missed call I've ever seen in a game like that. Seemed like a homer job at the end.

      No doubt MS didn't hit the shots they should have at the end but to me the one way calls were painfully obvious.

      Delete
    3. That late "no call" on Coach's kid happened right in front of Tina Napier and the kid did slightly lean into the player. Whether Napier was watching that or the ball movement is the question. It was a forceful collision, no doubt, but was she trying to draw a foul or simply not able to get out of the way quickly enough? LOL...here I go...defensing refs again.

      Paulie

      Delete
    4. You and I are normally on the same page but if that had been my kid and I watched her getting pile driven into the court like that I'd have had a conversation with the ref that probably would have gotten me T'd up or thrown out but it would have been worth it. Kudos to her Dad for not coming out of his skin on that deal. I would have.

      Refs were never my favorite people in any case.

      Delete
    5. A lot of it is me, Burn. I refereed for years after ai finished playing. I'll give them a little more slack than most because I was in some pretty intense situations as well and can't say I always made the right call...although I always tried to make the best call.

      Paulie

      Delete
    6. Ah. Now I get it. I've always been amazed that folks were willing to put on the stripes. Probably goes back to my bad attitude back in the day. I got my share of technicals and ejections.

      It's a tough gig and I wouldn't want to do it but credit to those brave enough to take it on.

      Delete
  5. I'm going to disagree here, Deb. The leading scorer for MSU...Vivians...misses her final three shots and a key free throw. Free throws did MSU in...going 3 for 9. Of course, I'm a fan of officials Bryan Enterline, Dee Kanter and Tina Napier...so may views may be a bit subjective. South Carolina was 21 for 28 from the free throw line. Coates and Wilson are the best inside combo in WBB this year. The starting and back up center for MSU fouled out against them. Too many factors to point solely at the refs and say the refs decided this outcome.

    I will agree that avoiding UConn's region is something the other 63 teams in the tournament are probably hoping for as well. I'm not sure if an ACC or SEC all-star team could beat the Huskies.

    Paulie

    ReplyDelete
  6. Only team that has a shot at the current UConn team is one of the UConn teams from the last 2-3 years. Or the Minnesota Lynx.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Let us not forget about David & Goliath , England Patriots vs The New York Gaint.
    It can be done.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Captain cortnee haven't played her best game yet.
    Cortnee is the last one from that final four Squad.

    ReplyDelete
  9. You have to move Hines-Allen to center next year and put Shook in at the four. Are you listening Walz?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe, but that leaves Louisville very weak in a defensive sense in the middle. Hines-Allen hasn't bothered to effectively learn defense in three years and Shook hasn't picked it up yet either. That's surprising, since Walz stresses they play defense so much.

      Nick O.

      Delete
  10. No way you put MHA @ center,you have two good centers shook & Johnson.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Love all the freshmen, they all have upsides, and love how we should have plenty of options next year. We'll just have to wait and see how all that pans out. I'd love to see more improvement and more playing time this year for Kylee and Ciera, think Jazmine is holding her own so far. Gosh, we're actually loaded!
    And as far as last night's game, regardless of calls, no calls, and the fouling out of the two post players, Ms. State still had the last shot and could have won. My first time getting to see them, they're deserving of their ranking. Surprised to see UK as one of the top sixteen, strength if schedule or not, they have more than one bad loss. Actually surprised at were the Cards are at also, all our losses si far are to teams ahead of us in those rankings. Solve that by just win, baby, just keep improving and winning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Spot on Not sure how UK could have the same ranking as U of L we beat them and all our loses were to times ranked higher other than Duke they were ranked lower when they beat us. UK may have a high SOS but whats their record against the top teams? Just Seems Louisville Men and Women get no respect nationally.

      Delete
  12. Baby fat!!!! Perhaps getting into better shape would have been a bit kinder!...She doesn't need a gentleman to state that to her! Not my daughter but she is a young women. After that I won't comment!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd have described a guy baller in her kind of shape the same way. Remember Title IX is all about treating athletes equally. There shouldn't an expectation of special treatment or comments because they are female.

      Delete
  13. I love her size (Ciera) she strong, she'll get more muscle on her body next year.Her hands have to get stronger,so guards won't be able to strip the ball always.
    Bottom line great talent @ the post.

    ReplyDelete
  14. The very nature of Louisville women's basketball and Walz's teams over the 10 years indicates that the Cards will have 2-3 transfers at the end of the season. Just go back over his career here and you'll see that pattern. Last year it was Cole, Brackemyre and DeGrate who left.

    This year? Everyone has their own opinion, of course. I'd like to see them all stay but, quite frankly, that probably won't happen. Most likely to go? I could see Brianna Jones, Sam Fuehring and Syd Zambrotta all headed elsewhere looking for playing time. I hope I'm wrong. Players want to play, though, and all of these three could go to a mid-major, start and probably average double figures.

    Curtis "One ball, 15 players, 200 minutes" Franklin

    ReplyDelete
  15. Yep, can see some transfers coming, likely those three. The minutes just aren't there, and IMO they are all good players who will do well elsewhere. Like to see Sam and Sydney stay and be determined to get playing time, though, not an impossible task.

    ReplyDelete

Please leave your comments here. We ask you be respectful of other posts, no matter how ridiculous they may seem to you. After all, it is CARDINAL COUPLE.

Any attempts to advertise a product or other website here in the comments section without the prior consent of CARDINAL COUPLE will result in a bill rendered for advertising services and possible legal action. We're serious. No more bots.

Now, have your take...