Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Harper joins USA U23 squad...WSOC around the corner -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
LINNAE HARPER ADDED TO USA U23 SQUAD
Just in the few times I was able to watch Ohio State guard Linnae Harper perform in the USA U23 trials...I thought she had the stuff to be one of the 12 to make the roster. That happened for her yesterday...as South Carolina center A'ja Wilson is now sidelined with a groin strain and Harper gets added to the roster for the practice sessions and upcoming trip to Japan.
We all remember Linnae...right? She began her career at UK and was instrumental in helping the Cats beat the Cards in her freshman and sophomore years. Things didn't quite work out for her in Lexington...so the Chicago, IL native decided to move north and join the Ohio State Buckeyes after the 2014-15 season...one of the schools that was in her top five consideration list in high school. She took to Buckeye ball quite well in 2016-17 and was named the Big 10 Sixth Player of the Year in the 2016-17 season as a junior after sitting out 2015-16 under NCAA transfer rules.
She joins Buckeye teammate Kelsey Mitchell on the squad and also brings an extensive USA and international basketball resume to the roster. She was on the 2011, 2012 and 2013 FIBA World Championship teams playing for the U16, U17 and U19 USA teams. She was on the 2015 USA Pan American team and also played on the 2016 FIBA USA 3X3 squad.
Maybe a bit interesting that the committee replaces height (in Wilson) with guard play (Harper)...but certainly the experience factor Harper has in International play should be beneficial for the team. Erin Boley, at 6'2" impressed me during the medal round games and she can also step out and hit the three. Naturally, I would have loved to see Myisha Hines-Allen get the call...but I'll trust the deciders' judgement here.
With the addition of Harper, three teams now have two players on the roster....UCLA (Monique Billings and Jordin Canada) and Tennessee (Jamie Nared and Mercedes Russell) and Ohio State. Louisville's Asia Durr is also on the squad that includes ACC and Notre Dame's Arike Ogunbowale, Ariel Atkins, Kalani Brown, Sabrina Ionescu and Brittany McPhee.
USA U23 continues their practice sessions under Jeff Walz in preparation for their August 12th. opener in Tokyo.
FINALLY, THE COMPETITION IS HERE
We get to see some actual competition in women's fall sports this week...with Louisville women's soccer starting the action off tomorrow with an exhibition game at Ohio State and then returning home to face DePaul on Saturday in another exhibition contest. The DePaul game is part of a double-header at Lynn Stadium...the girls will go first with a 5 p.m. start and the #9 ranked men's team takes on Lipscomb around 7:30 p.m.
We'll get our first look at some very talented freshmen that have joined Coach Karen Ferguson Dayes roster...including a couple with International backgrounds in Nadage L'Esperance (Canada) and Mollie Rouse (England). There's also some local flair on the roster...with Emina Ekic DuPont Manual) and transfer Kennadi Carbin (2015 Kentucky Player of the Year).
The Kickin' Cards return a wealth of experience on the attack with standouts from last year. Nine of the Cards top 10 scorers return and Ferguson-Dayes will have plenty of options in Shelby Cohen, Daryl Bell, Brooklyn Rivers, Gabby Vincent, Sarah Feola, Alison Price, Kaela Dickerman, Allison Whitfield, Niahm Nelson and Callie McKinney.
Senior Inger Katrine Bjerke returns to lead a defense that allowed just 1.11 goals last season. She'll get help from Arianna Ferraro and Bailey Florek in front of the goal. With the graduation of goalkeeper Taylor Bucklin...we've heard the competition between Gabrielle Kouzelos, Tori Gabor and Lana Batson has been intense for the net-keeping spot.
Admission is free for the exhibition games at Lynn and season tickets get you into both men's and women's soccer....so why not grab a few for the family and enjoy the action on the pitch?