HINES-ALLEN, CARTER REMAIN FROM THE 2014 CLASS
It was a much ballyhooed, highly ranked class. Five players that would continue to keep the Cards WBB program making NCAA regional finals and more. A talented group coming in to join an already existing talented group. Three five-star prospects, a four-star and four of the five in the ESPNW Top 100 rankings.
Cards fans were excited about getting Myshia Hines-Allen, Mariya Moore, Arica Carter, Sydney Brackemyre and Arianna Freeman on campus. Rightly so, a lot of talent existed in the bunch and they were ranked eighth in the nation.
We jump from May 2014 to June 2017. Along the way...Freeman decided that better opportunities existed at Colorado and went to play for the Buffs after a freshman season at UofL where she didn't see a lot of court time. She put up 7.7 and 3.2 for Colorado as a red-shirt sophomore on a 17-16 squad that got to the third round of the WNIT. She found the minutes she was looking for (18 per game). Would she have seen that many as a junior at Louisville last year? My guess is no.
Brackemyre, injured before she got here, oft-injured while here and seeing the court just twice in two years at Louisville...was the next to wave good-bye to The Thinker statue on the Great Lawn off 3rd Street. Hers was a northern move....to the UofI (Indianapolis) Greyhounds in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. The injuries healed, the playing time increased and the three-point shot we all knew she had returned in "Naptown"...she ended second leading scorer on the squad (15 p.p.g) for first-year coach Krystan Drayban and the 17-14 'Hounds. Would Brackemyre have been able to get close to those numbers and the 'Ville'? I just don't see that happening. We've seen it before with ex-UofL WBB players...a drop-down in competition quality results in a improved player performance. Get' em Syd!
The spring of 2017 brought a surprise when a third member of that class decided to seek other venues. Although Mariya Moore was firmly ensconced as one of the top scorers and starters for the Cards after three seasons, she gave notice, packed her grip and left the building. A desire to play closer to home. The chance to spend a coupe of years on the same roster as her younger sister. She gets what she wants. A big surprise in the women's college basketball community. Deep rumors that there may have been other reasons as well. In any event, investment in a program has to be 100% and hers was not for the Cardinal program in the future. Better to leave and be happy than to stay and sulk.
MHA. The front line force. The one you want out on the court in the paint. Carter, maybe buoyed in her injury season, seeing the game from a different angle. She'll get every opportunity to run the point for Coach Walz.
Two that survived the distance marathon. Two that showed that they are fully vested, made it through the ups and downs and have done the work. Two that have never experience the thrill of getting to an NCAA Final Four but still have that opportunity. Two of thirteen that will face the 2017-18 season with questions about the upcoming year but part of a unit that looks very strong, solid and experienced.
On this first day of summer, thoughts race to November...when the two, along with 11 other very talented and skilled warriors, go on the quest that is the women's college basketball season. How many of the three freshmen coming in will we be discussing senior seasons in a Cardinal uniform about several years from now. How will Carter come back from her injury? Who wins the battle for the vacated wing position, center and point-guard spots?
When the leaves fall from the tree...we will see.
FLORIDA FIASCO...CARDS BASEBALL FALLS TO GATORS
Leaving seven guys on base is no way to win a baseball game. Although the Louisville Cardinals outhit the Florida Gators seven to five last night...the Gators made the crucial at-bats count and tallied five runs to down Louisville 5-1 in the College World Series.
It's now do-or-die time for Dan McDonnell's diamond-dwellers. Facing the TCU Horned Frogs Thursday night will get them another chance to knock off the Sunshine State stars. A loss and it's pack-your-bags time and come home.
Long balls were the difference here. A solo shot in the third inning by UF gave them the lead. They would touch Cade McClure again for a three RBI fence clearer in the fourth. Both by guys who were batting under .250.
Dan McDonnell's philosophy with this team has been one game and one win at a time. That's everyone's philosophy now...by default "Run to the Roar" has been a team motto of sorts this season. We'll alter it a bit for the next two games. First "Leap over the Frogs" and then...be a Gator Exterminator.