CARDS WBB BEGIN 2020-21 SEASON AT RED HAWKS
It is here.
After all the talk, speculation, changes and implementations -- the University of Louisville women's basketball squad will take the court for their first game of the 2020-21 campaign,
Today's opponent is the Southeastern Missouri State (SEMO) RedHawks and the contest will be played in the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. A trip west on I-64 for the Cards, about 4-1/2 hours from the Belknap campus. (Last we heard there were $6 tickets available, in case you aren't doing anything today and fancy a drive).
For Louisville WBB fans, the broadcast will be available of ESPN+ (a pay-for-view internet platform) or on radio. 93.1 FM will have today's coverage, since Louisville's men's squad will be on the normal home for Louisville women's basketball 790 Cards Radio WKRD. 93.1 is known as Real 93.1 , the call letters are WTFX and their normally a rap and R&B genre format..you can catch Nick and A.J around 2:40 p.m. this afternoon for pre-game festivities leading up to the 3 p.m. live call. Whether Nick tries any Jay Z or Flipp Dinero styling remains to be seen...
So what will the Cards face today?
SEMO plays in the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) and did quite well their in the 2019-20 season. They posted a 14-4 conference mark and the Red Hawks were 25-7 overall. They won the OVC Conference Tournament, downing UT Martin 67-47. They return leading scorer, senior 5'11" guard Tesia Thompson, who averaged 19.7 points per game and seven other players from last year, including starter Pruitt Taelour, a 5/6" junior guard who averaged 9.6 points per game.
The Red Hawks added five freshmen and have three transfers into the program. Of particular note is freshman, 6'2" center Ambrea Gentile
A key loss is Carrie Shephard, who started her career at Missouri, and was the Red Hawks leading three-point specialist, going 96 for 239. The tallest SEMO player is 6'4" forward LaTrese Saine, who is a red-shirt senior and averaged 4.8 p.p.g with no starts.
With three starters gone and three of their top scorers graduated, it looks to be a rebuilding year for sixth-year and OVC Coach of the Year last season... head coach Rehka Patterson. SEMO was picked to finish third in the pre-season OVC poll. Thompson and Pruitt were pre-season All-OVC Team picks.
SEMO hasn't had much luck against the Cards in their two visits to the KFC YUM! Center, winless in both visits. They fell 97-43 in 2010 and 80-40 in 2017.
And the Cards?
I expect Walz to utilize the speed and depth this team possess in the opener. Defensive pressure will be a key and if pressed for a starting lineup, I'll venture a guess and go with Dana Evans, Elizabeth Balogun, Kianna Smith, Hailey Van Lith and Liz Dixon. I expect a lot of situational substitutions and Olivia Cochran, Ahlana Smith, Kasa Robinson and Norika Konno could see 20+ minutes. Coach has said he has a lot of student-athletes that can "fill up the bucket" and we'll see if they fulfill Coach's proclamation in the opener.
Louisville will need to crash the boards on both ends of the court and Nyah Green and Ramani Parker could be key elements for Louisville in the rebounding. I'll look to see how Walz uses Canadian sensation Merissah Russell as well, and I won't be surprised to see Louisville in a four-guard set throughout the game. Three-point shooting looks to be a strong suit for the Cards and if Evans, Balogun, Van Lith and the Smiths are knocking down the three ball with consistency, it could be a very good outing for the Cards.
We'll have a full recap of the action here tomorrow and make sure to follow our in-game Tweets as well. Feel free to leave your comments on what you expect in today's game.
Go CARDS! and let's hope everyone has a safe, successful and super start to the season.