Women's Basketball Season is Here!
Louisville opens up the 2019-2020 season with the same team they led off with last year- Western Kentucky. The Cards won that game 102-80 in Bowling Green. The Hilltoppers still hold the series with a 20-17 advantage, although Louisville is is 9-5 at home in the series.
Western Kentucky returns over 85% of its offense from last year and over 80% of its rebounding. The top five scorers from last year's squad are back on the roster this year.
Second year head coach Greg Collins has plenty of ties to Louisville. He holds a bachelors degree and masters degree from UofL and was an assistant coach from 2002-2007. He led WKU to a 20-15 record last year and an appearance in the WNIT.
Dee Givens has already joined the 1000-point club. Givens is a threat from anywhere on the floor and is near-automatic at the free throw line.
The Lady Toppers (like many schools, WKU's women's basketball team still carries the "Lady" in front of their name) were picked to finish 3rd in Conference USA. WKU has finished in the top two in C-USA the last two years. They're 35-11 all-time in season openers.
The Cards and What They'll Do
Louisville has three starters to replace from last year's team- Asia Durr, Arica Carter, and Sam Fuehring. The trio played a major part in the Final Four run two years ago and the Elite Eight run last year.
Dana Evans returns as a junior and is expected to become the primary point guard, captaining the
Cards down the court. Yacine "Yaya" Diop is back to healthy and will play her final season. Diop can be a big scorer and rebounder, possibly picking up a scoring role for the void in the offense. Mykasa Robinson will also be in the frontcourt. Robinson was more of a one-on-one defensive threat this year but has worked on her shooting in the off-season. She is a game-time decision for Tuesday, though -- with a shoulder issue.
Bionca Dunham and Kylee Shook will have some help down low this year, but carry senior leadership. Molly Lockhart comes in as a redshirt freshman and Georgia Tech transfer Elizabeth Dixon will fight for playing time as well. Dixon was a major force on offense and defense for the Yellow Jackets and has the potential for a breakout season. She'll start Tuesday night, per Coach Walz.
Kianna Smith is another transfer in. Smith is a three-point threat and does an excellent job of finding players for an open shot. She'll sit this season, along with Green and Parker, as red-shirts.
Other returnees include seniors Jazmine Jones and Jess Laemmle and sophomores Lindsey Duvall and Seygan Robins. Jones is probably one of the most-athletic and most-electric players you'll see in all the NCAA this year. Laemmle has been a crowd favorite and has proven to be a major leader. Duvall continues to be an exterior shooter and Robins will look to make a bigger impact in her second season.
Norika Konno joins Diop as the only international players on this year's squad. The Japanese native is a do-it-all player, finding ways to fill up the stat sheet in all categories. You can expect her to see significant minutes at the wing Tuesday night.
Here is Walz's presser from Monday. It's a good listen:
LINK: WALZ PRESSER 11/4/19
WKU will keep the game close for the first half, giving fans a way-too-early panic feel before the Cards wear them down in the second half.
Attendance won't break 10,000. Between opening night being on a weekday and the men's basketball team playing at Miami (FL) at the exact same time circumstances are not good for a great crowd.
Paulie and I will be on the floor to give you in-depth coverage as well as a juicy recap, a (hopefully) fun postgame, and some fresh pictures for you.
Happy Tuesday and Go Cards!
PS: It's Election Day here in Kentucky so make sure to go vote! Kentucky has had notoriously low voter turnouts lately so it's time to change that. Here at Cardinal Couple, we do not directly endorse or oppose any of the candidates and our thoughts and views on our personal social media pages do not directly reflect the views of Cardinal Couple.
We do think that everyone who is registered to vote, though, should get out Tuesday and exercise that right. And do your research, as our buddy Paige Sherrard so eloquently put it on the Saturday broadcast of THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR If you don't vote, then you have no right to complain.
Paulie has inserted two of his favorite "election" songs at the bottom. Joe Walsh's "Vote For ME" and Alice Cooper's "ELECTED".
LINK: WALSH'S "VOTE FOR ME"
LINK: COOPER'S "ELECTED"