LOUISVILLE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL GOES TO BOWLING GREEN TONIGHT
The 2018-19 Louisville women's basketball season gets underway this evening when the Cards travel to Bowling Green to face the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers tonight at 7 p.m. CST (8 p.m. Louisville time) in E.A. Diddle Arena.
They'll face a team that was 24-9 last season and 11-1 in C-USA play (remember that conference, Cardinal fans?). It is a WKU team that has undergone some big changes, though.
Gone is former head coach (and former Jeff Walz assistant) Michelle Clark Heard. She's north of Louisville now, watching the Cincinnati Bearcats bounce basketballs. Gone are their top two scorers from last year...Tashia Brown and Ivy Brown...who accounted for almost 40 of the Hilltoppers 75 points per game last year.
Greg Collins is the head coach up on "the Hill" these days. He's no stranger to Tops basketball, having served as an assistant on the staff for six years before being named head skipper. You might also remember Greg from his time at Louisville. He was former assistant to Tom Collen for the Cards and followed Collen to Arkansas when he took that head coaching gig. Collins basically held the program together during the transition time from Martin Clapp to Tom Collen back in 2003.
|WKU's Greg Collins|
For Louisville, the major question confronting Cardinal fans is who and how will Walz fill departed graduate Myisha Hines-Allen's minutes with? We've heard conversation about a variety of players picking up and improving small pieces of their games to cover the gap.
My guess, and it is purely a guess, is that Walz will go "big" to counter-attack the taller front line possibilities that WKU can employ...and have Durr, Carter, Fuehring, Shook and Jones out there on the hardwood for tipoff. And, that's purely a guess. I have no "inside scoop" or advance copy of the starters. Coach himself even said a few days ago that there were a whole roster-full of players that could start for this team. Or more importantly, who will be out there at crunch time?
(Watch him counter with Durr, Diop, Dunham, Fuehring and Evans, right? This is the "three D's, an E and F" -- or Paulie's semester report card option.)
One thing you can count on. Jeff will play just about everyone who is eligible and not injured tonight. He has mentioned the freshmen might see first quarter action. This game is a chance to see who will step up and lay claim to minutes. We wonder how Sam's "stinger" on her neck is doing and will she be able to contribute significant minutes if needed?
In any event, it should be fun and we'll have full CARDINAL COUPLE coverage on site with Paulie, Sonya and Jared on hand...plus rumors that Worldwide Jeff might come out of his map-building room of secrecy and Daryl Foust, frequent CARDINAL COUPLE radio guest, all bouncing into Bowling Green for basketball.
Look for Louisville to try and force the pace early against WKU and possibly press after made baskets. Asia Durr will have the "green-light" to create and it'll be interesting to see how the Cards front line will do against a WKU squad that has a 6'4", two 6'3" and a 6'2" players available for action.
Video coverage is allegedly on ESPN +...so you'll have to pay for that. You can do what Paulie does when the Cards are on the road and he can't get there. Tune into 790 WKRD AM -- Cards Radio -- for Nick and AJ's call. We'll have the recap of "Big Red" vs. "Louie" tomorrow in Jared Anderson's article.
The start of what promises to be a very-exciting, challenging and enjoyable journey for this 2018-19 WBB squad gets underway this evening. Don't you miss it!
WSOC SELECTED FOR NCAA TOURNAMENT
Karen Ferguson Dayes and the kickin' Cards are headed to the Big Dance! Louisville received a #15 seed in what looks to be the "west" or the Palo Alto region and will face #2 seed Tennessee in Knoxville at 5 p.m. Friday this weekend for first round action.
The teams have met once before, when UT took a 6-0 win back in 1998. They played that one in Nashville, oddly enough.
UT went 13-2-3 this year and was ranked in the top 25 most of the season, getting a #12 ranking in the last poll. Their RPI is #9.
Louisville earns the bid after a 12-6 regular season, finishing tied for 5th. in the ACC and got an "at-large" bid. They would face the winner between Arizona and Denver if they vanquish the Vols.
All told, ten ACC schools got selected for the 64-team tournament. Joining the Cards are Clemson, Boston College, Virginia, Duke, Wake Forest, FSU, Virginia Tech, NC State and North Carolina...who received a #2 seed in their region.
A well-deserved honor for seniors Gabby Vincent and Kennadi Carbin. Emina Ekic was named first team ALL-ACC and Vincent to the third-team.
Always a tough task when a #15 faces a #2 seed but Louisville has employed a very strong and low-goals-allowed defense this season and has several scoring options when they are on the attack.
This is the fifth all-time NCAA Tournament appearance for the Cards in the history of the program...last visiting in 2013, when the Cards lost a first-round match against Illinois State in the old Cardinal Park 2-1, after the teams went from a 1-1 tie to a shootout-status that I.S.U won. Louisville finished 12-5-1 that season.
Good luck to the Lynn Stadium Louisville girls in Knoxville on Friday!
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