We report on the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports here. Thanks for checking us out! Click the picture of Louie to hear the latest Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast!!

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Beginning with Bender, Is Louisville WBB back to refocusing on local talent? -- WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


Reagan Bender

It's not that Louisville women's basketball and Jeff Walz haven't shown an interest in local talent over the years -- names like Monique Reid, Tia Gibbs, Candyce Bingham, the Slaughter sisters and Jess Laemmle are just a few of the well known locals who have gone to the's just that there hasn't been much of a concerted effort in recent years to get the homegrown talent to stay and play at home.

 Maybe Grace Berger is the best example here. Cardinals fans would have loved nothing better to have the now Indiana Fever WNBA player spend  her college career at the Ville...but, somewhere along the way, the connection failed. My guess is that Berger just might have been a better "team" player than the self-centered Hailey Van Lith, but, of course, we'll never know. Louisville's loss was IU's gain. It is entirely possible, I suppose, that Berger did not want to play for Louisville or maybe the Cards interest was enough to get her interested. 

It's all water under the bridge now. I hope she does well in the WNBA.

So, it is with interest that we see Jeff Walz has offed 2024 Sacred Heart H.S. prospect Reagan Bender. She's been on three state championships as a starter and huge contributing scorer and will no doubt be a contender for Miss Basketball in this next season. A lot of schools are after Bender and if the Cards could capture her, it just might help convince class of 2025 Sacred Heart superstar and teammate ZaKiyah Johnson that Louisville just might be the place to be. 

Leah Macy

Leah Macy is another 2025 wunderkind -- the Mercy sophomore is 6'2" and getting plenty of attention from the nation's elite college programs. Arizona, Oklahoma, LSU, Kentucky, Louisville, Tennessee, Ohio State are just a handful of the top programs who are trying to woo Macy to their campus. And, the Jags also have Alyssa Murphy at a guard spot and she's one that is drawing national attention. 

On Bender, it's not as if she just suddenly appeared on the horizon. She's the niece of Sacred Heart coach Donna Moir and had attended Louisville camps for several years now  She's scored over 1300 points in her three years at Sacred Heart so far and has 162 threes in her time as a Valkyrie. . 

Zakiyah Johnson

The message should be crystal clear to Coach Walz and his staff...these next couple of years are a golden opportunity to draw and land some of the best talent in the nation. Talent that is in your back yard. 

How important is the challenge of "transfer portal" mania compared to incoming freshman. Let's face it, the Cards stumbled with last year's freshman -- only Mobley and Harris remain, losing Brown, Lester and Walker to the portal. Would more playing time kept those three around??? Or, was the die cast and Louisville wanted to go with the experienced transfers. Not playing freshmen is certainly a way to keep you from having much luck in recruiting them, and I got a sizable amount of queries on why Walz wasn't playing them. To be clear...Lester had agreed to redshirt before the season ever started. Mobley was still recovering from injury and the Cards were pretty deep at guard. 

Let's hope the Cards go for the high school stars here in the Kentuckiana area. It just might help attendance, too, and pave the way for more local talent down the road. 

Blunders with Linz DuVall and Seygan Robins probably couldn't have been avoided, that was a case of better talent winning out...but it's not like Louisville won any national championships either. And Duvall became a local legend and huge star at NKU...could that have happened here for her?  Local kids who can play are worth their weight in gold to a program.

It's time for Walz and the staff to go mining and prospecting here in the local hills again. It.  just may result in paydirt.



  1. I for one will be glad when the portal crap is OVER. Success during Walz's time here has been built MOSTLY on good underclassmen accepting their role in learning behind good upperclassmen.

  2. Walz fosters an environment where players are unhappy. Believe that and I'll also sell you the Brooklyn bridge.

  3. The Lowe's of the lowest💯 Ls UP!

  4. It got us Engstler and I'll always be grateful for that.


Please leave your comments here. We ask you be respectful of other posts, no matter how ridiculous they may seem to you. After all, it is CARDINAL COUPLE.

Any attempts to advertise a product or other website here in the comments section without the prior consent of CARDINAL COUPLE will result in a bill rendered for advertising services and possible legal action. We're serious. No more bots.

Now, have your take...