A Top 10 matchup in Connecticut today as the Cardinals get ready to take on the Connecticut Huskies. The Hall of Fame Women's Showcase, which this game is a part of, is not on UConn's home floor, but it might as well be. Mohegan Sun Arena has served UConn well over the years.
After a stumble to start the season, and a few early games where Louisville ended up in the win column, but definitely had some things to work on, the game plan is starting to come together for the Walz squad.
Today they'll be facing an injury depleted UConn team, with only eight players expected to be active today. Notably, the Huskies are missing their lauded superstar Paige Bueckers, but also sidelined for UConn is another notable name in freshman guard Azzi Fudd, along with Nika Mühl, and Aubrey Griffin.
Even with those players out, UConn will still have the likes of Olivia Nelson-Ododa, Aaliyah Edwards, and Evina Westbrook.
The Cards season calling card seeming to be withering defense, and The Cardinal Couple Semi-Irregular Awards Committee is taking comments from interested parties about potentially raising the height requirement to be consider for the Attack Yorkie squad. The proposal is to lift it to 5'7" to allow Mykasa Robinson, Chelsie Hall, and Hailey Van Lith to be eligible for the squad designation. The squad is currently limited to players 5'6" and below. If the proposal gets out of committee discussion, we'll submit it to our Board of Chimps (along with nacho dip and Tostitos !)
Even without any currently official Attack Yorkies, UofL will be leaning on the lock down defense to set the tone of the game. Increasing the tempo definitely works in the Card's favor. When the opponent only has eight dressed players, fatigue can become a factor by the end of the game. Geno Aurriema's teams typically have been well conditioned and haven't shown susceptibility to fatigue, but it's a weapon in the arsenal that you have to try to use.
The Huskies will be looking to try to take advantage of UofL's aggressive defense, playing off of defensive over commitments and using back cuts to try to get open looks at the basket.
Of active players, Christyn Williams is the highest point scorer, followed by Westbrook, and then Nelson-Ododa. Williams, and particularly Westbrook, are threats from three point range, while Nelson-Ododa hasn't even attempted one all season. UConn isn't much of a threat to the passing lanes, so if UofL can force some turnovers, that could lead to a fairly lopsided matchup.
The game is on ESPN (us Youtube TV folks will have to make other arrangements for this one) at 3:30pm and we'll have Eric Frede, Rebecca Lobo, and Andraya Carter on the call.
An Open Letter to Volleyball
Dear 2021 UofL Volleyball squad,
These names may not mean all that much to you, but for longtime fans of UofL Women's Basketball, many of these names bring smiles to faces. These fine women are thought of, almost with reverence, but certainly with gratitude to anyone that knows much of the past decade plus of history of the program.
You see, these are the members of the 2008-2009 basketball roster. That team was the first UofL women's basketball team to advance to the Final Four.
These players are forever remembered, and thanked, for the major milestone that they achieved for the program.
I've heard Jeff Walz talk a number of times about how a successful program gets built. He thanks Angel, and Mo, and Laura, and others for not only what they did on the court that season, but for how they helped build the program for the future. He usually talks about hosting recruits, and points out that some of these players hosted recruits on campus for official visits, and some of those recruits end up becoming the core of the team several years down the road. The impact of a special team is felt in a program many years down the road.
You all have taken this team from "Upset Queens" to the best team in the land in two years. The future impact of that work will be felt far beyond two years.
Numerous people have posted open letters like this to you all. Most have focused on your season this year being a breath of fresh air in a year filled with a lot of distractions and chaos at UofL. They're...not wrong. Your character, integrity, and spirit have shown through in a period that has been challenging at UofL, and frankly around the world as well.
But what I want you to know, particularly to the graduating seniors and super-seniors, is that, though this season is over, and some of you may not be putting on the jerseys anymore, you are still a part of this program, and you are still having an impact on the court. Over the next four years when Alexis Finnvold, Hannah Sherman, Nina Moorer and others even farther in the future step out on that Taraflex at L&N FCU Arena, you are there alongside them, and when I and others are cheering for them, we're also still cheering for you.
Thank you for a season beyond words, and when you come back to visit and cheer, and I hope you do frequently, you have an open invitation to join me, for I would be honored to have any and all of you by my side, when the opponent calls a timeout.
Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast
Due to the way the holidays fall on the calendar, the last CCRHP episode of the year was yesterday. Case, Jared, Paulie, and myself were on the call.
We spent most of the hour wrapping the magical volleyball season and talking a bit about the bright future for the program.
We did preview a bit of the UConn basketball game today. I expect basketball to be the core of the discussion for the next couple of months.
You can check out the replay on Youtube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aP4WkFqaPBI.
You can also listen to it on via your favorite podcast directory and app with some tweaks to the audio that Case always does so well with. He posts it via anchor.fm, so you can catch it at: https://anchor.fm/cardinal-couple/episodes/Volleyball-Comes-Up-Short-Basketball-to-Face-UCONN-e1bt1cr or search for "Cardinal Couple" in whatever podcast source you use.