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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

A Visit to WBB Practice -- WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Paulie and Jared Attend WBB Practice


A chance to witness one of the best women's basketball programs in the country practice is not something you pass up.  Paulie and I were privileged to head to the Yum Center on Floyd Street for a couple of hours yesterday.

Jeff Walz's squad is set and ready to go for the upcoming season.  Well, they're at least headed in the right direction.

For me, this was my first practice I have attended.  I had no expectations because I had no idea what would actually happen.

There were a few key things I noticed with this team:

-Yacine Diop appears to be playing with the post players for the most part.

-The full court press is not yet ready to go, but once completed it is going to be a force to be reckoned with.

-This team will be perfectly in shape this season and will be one of the quickest and most versatile rosters in the NCAA.

-The possibilities of players on the court are endless for Walz's squad and we could see different looks with whichever five were on the court.

Although I cannot go into great detail of what exactly transpired at practice I can discuss a few details.

The team started at the far goal, but we had no issue observing the action from our elevated seats on the second level balcony.  The table and chairs provided great comfort, but we were told there would be no waiter service or hors d'oeuvers. The Iowa-native Al Greener stopped by for a few minutes to join us. Sans trombone.

Sam Purcell and Steph Norman worked with the post players on their moves down low for the easy bucket.  Molly Lockhart, Bionca Dunham, Sam Fuehring, Kylee Shook, and Yacine Diop seemed to handle it well and Diop took things a step further by going for the reverse layup.

The rest of the squad found their rhythm from the corners, nailing the corner shot.  Asia Durr seems to already be in mid-season form from three-point range.  Jess Laemmle showed no fear in pulling up from deep range as she will compete for minutes from the bench. Jess also spent time with the male practice players making sure certain sets and progressions were run correctly.

Arica Carter and Dana Evans both are geared up to captain the offense on the court.  It is clear why Walz can trust these two with the ball in their hands during the game as their controls are near-flawless.

Jazmine Jones' athleticism remains and her basketball IQ has improved.  As the practice moved to full court press run-through Jones would appear out of nowhere to intercept a pass, whether by jumping in the air almost to the level to high five us or by racing around defenders.  Diop also appears to have that athleticism and I expect her to play somewhere in the three- or four-spot as she will tear apart opponents on both sides of the court.

We did not see any free throw practice today.  That is an aspect of the game that can be rehearsed outside of a full team practice.  For most of the season free throws seemed to be just fine often earning a lowercase "f" or capital "F", in the Paulie FRED review system... but there's always room for improvement, right?

It was good seeing everybody healthy and being able to go 100%.  The sight of older, experienced players coaching the newer players shows signs of success and mentoring for both the near future and many years to come.

One thing that stood out to me was the difference between a quiet practice and a loud, energized practice.  Walz did not like the first of those two as he took time out of practice to rip the players for how quiet it was.  The moment the players were loud and cheering each other on we could see an immediate difference in how much better practice went and how the energy intensified.  You could compare the silence to a cheap bourbon found in a hole in the wall place near a college campus and the loud, energetic practice to the fine, expensive bourbon that took years to make in the back roads of a Kentucky distillery.

Bionca Dunham knows where the backboard and rim are and made life difficult for the male practice players with her seemingly effortless ability to out-position them and gather missed shots. Seygan Robins showed her three-skills were alive and well. I could go into a lot of detail about the remaining players but we were just there to watch, enjoy and observe -- not critique too much.

We were appreciative of the chance to witness a practice run as it helped me better understand Walz's motives on the court (besides win) and it was a good chance to get back into the swing of things with women's basketball.

A special "thank you" to the players who gave us a nod or hand wave while warming up and to Nick Evans who checked with us several times to see how we were doing and took time to converse with us. We eventually migrated down to court level with him and got the chance to talk with Coach Walz briefly after the practice to thank him for having us. Rumors that he's going to have Paulie referee in practices were thankfully quashed at that time.

I took no pictures during the practice. That's a no-no and we did no player or coach interviews. This was their time. A time to prepare for the season and we respected that. We were just happy to watch.

Kate Tucker, the director of operations, also spoke with us briefly as we were leaving and thanked us for coming. Even Sam Purcell, who seemed to be doing 90 things at once during the practice we saw, acknowledged us and it was fun to watch him (and Walz) on the court, playing various player roles when they wanted to demonstrate a point or concept.

How this squad only got (1) player -- Asia Durr -- on the ACC 2018-19 Preseason Women's Basketball All-ACC team, while Notre Dame, who the Cards defeated twice in the 2017-18 season landed four players is an utter mystery to me and didn't set well with several individuals  we spoke to or heard from. Also, the Irish were picked to win the conference. These award were voted on by the league coaches and "a Blue Ribbon panel" -- which must have consisted of Notre Dame alumni and former players. They probably drank a bunch of Pabst "Blue Ribbon" during the process as well -- judging by their selections. Yeah, Notre Dame won the National Championship, we get that, but who gave them two losses last year and probably would have handed them a third if the refereeing wasn't so biased and selective in the semifinal game against Miss. State? Hint: it's not Kentucky.

Read all about it here: 2018-19 ACC Preseason Awards and Rankings

Song reference: Red Necks, White Socks and Blue Ribbon Beer

The WBB Cards first game is two weeks away when the Cards visit Western Kentucky on Tuesday, Nov. 6th, at 7:00 p.m., EST.  They'll then travel to Chattanooga and Boise State (Round of 64 rematch) before heading to Vegas for a three-game mini-tournament.  Louisville's first home game will be against Miami (OH) on Monday, Nov. 26.  Paulie will give a game-by-game breakdown soon.

Happy Wednesday and Go Cards!

- Jared -

16 comments:

  1. Great stuff today from Jared! A fun afternoon. We appreciate the opportunity.

    Paulie

    ReplyDelete
  2. Just out of curiosity, do you know who Louisville is still after in recruiting now that Davenport and Blackwell are out of the mix?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. From what I've been able to gather, the prospects are Laeticia Amihere, Rickea Jackson, Zia Cooke and Brea Beal. Maybe a girl from Japan, too?

      Just how many Coach wants to add and when these prospects are announcing varies. I would guess it might be first, come, first served?

      Paulie

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    2. I do know the Cards were well represented in Toledo to watch Cooke https://www.13abc.com/content/sports/Cooke-Getting-Close-498382131.html last night. Check out the link

      Delete
    3. Daggone! All four coaches in Toledo to watch? Wow, that says a lot.

      Good stuff Jared on Wednesday article. That's why we come here, to get the best of UofL WBB and other women's sports.

      We need these diversions. UofL Football is a soap opera.

      Curtis "likes his drama with an alka seltzer" Franklin

      Delete
  3. Hi! Arthur here!

    Sadly, I was not the sole ticket holder for the 1.6 billion lotto that was hit by someone in our state.

    A very nice recap of your and Paulie's day, Jared. I have attended Clemson WBB practices in the past and can identify with a lot of what you saw and mentioned. It's going to be interesting with our new coach Amanda Butler. And, as usual, Clemson WBB isn't expected to do much in the ACC according to the Coaches and whatever this Blue Ribbon Panel is. I prefer a Yuengling when I drink a beer, not a PBR Blue Ribbon, although it was quite a popular beer in this area many years ago. Red necks, white socks and Blue Ribbon beer. An old country song classic from mthe early 70's. Who sang it, I don't remember.

    Your football program manages to stay in the headlines but definitely not in the way you want. I hope that WBB can divert people's thoughts. I also like the addition of Chris Mack to your MBB program. That young man is a fireball.

    Good luck and Go Cards!

    Your friend,
    #1 Clemson Fan
    Arthur
    Greer, SC

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to hear from you Arthur!

      Yep, we're a three-ring circus these days Bobby and such.

      Love the song reference! I remember that song and went to check it out. Link below:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4N3iVHxP8FQ

      (Added it to the article with a "click-thru" link as well). Song's a bit "too country" for me, but, I do remember it.

      Sorry you didn't win Lotto. Jared has some domes he wants an investor for.

      Paulie

      Delete
  4. I'm really looking forward to the women's tip off luncheon and getting the season started. I'm going to try to make it to the WKU game but have arrangements made for the trip to Las Vegas to cheer the team on. Go Cards!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll be at WKU and, hopefully, Chattanooga.

      Paulie

      Delete
  5. Great news to hear Diop is a two way player and will be an asset on D. I wasn’t sure if she was just a whole lot of offense. With Jazinstincts improving the ability of this team to make things happen with pressure D should be fun to watch.

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  6. What did you expect? The Irish are everyone's darlings after winning the NC. We'll just take it to them again this year. In South Bend and Greensboro.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I can't wait for the season to begin GO C A R D S!!!!!

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  8. I think we may be overlooking the fact that Notre Dame won the championship with very few scholarship player. Key players who were injured will be back this year including Brianna (sp) Turner plus some pretty good recruits. I think that the are the right pick. But hopefully the Cards can convince me otherwise. That's the way I'll be cheering., anyway. See everyone at the Tip off Luncheon.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Can't see it. Who beat who? We have tons of talent back, also. I'm not overlooking our blowout win and ACC Tourney win. They could have Knute Rockne, Joe Theisman, Bubba Fats and R. Lee Ermey on the bench and we'll still beat them.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Four senior on this roster and a strong junior class and a phenomenal sophomore look out ACC GO C A R D S!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete

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