Wednesday, March 17, 2010
"Second season" starts tonight for Lady Cards
Start spreading the news. The Lady Cards are playing tonight. The question one must ask is if the competition against St. Patrick's Day events and pre NCAA Tournament excitement limits the number of Lady Cards fans in the stands. This writer hopes it doesn't. (Ol' Blue eyes predicts a double digit UofL win...)
The University of Louisville women's basketball team gets a chance for a small step toward redemption tonight as they begin post season play in the WBI against Bradley tonight in Freedom Hall at 7 p.m. It is said that season ending tournaments are the start of a "second season" for teams. Since the Cards went 1-1 in the Big East Tournament, maybe this is the third season. Regardless, it is a chance for Jeff Walz to continue working with this young and learning Cardinal squad against Bradley and the other 14 participants that make up the WBI.
A check of the tournament entries doesn't reveal any women's basketball powers awaiting Louisville. Indeed, most of the other teams in the WBI must be scratching their heads and wondering how Louisville, the national runner up a year ago in the NCAA Tournament fell so far and so fast. It has been the season from hades for the UofL squad...but the slate is wiped clean, the sheets changed on the bed and the Cards have a chance to string together a four game win streak that might wash a little of the bitter taste off of the Lady Cards basketball taste buds.
A question is how will Louisville rise to the challenge of facing teams that would normally grace the Cards pre-Big East schedule? Teams that would normally take a 20-30 point thumping from the Cardinal teams of yesteryear. But. let's face it. This year's version of Lady Cards basketball wasn't exactly a tricked out street rod drawing ooohs and aaaahs from spectators. Maybe the competition level matches the product? This Cardinal vehicle has been in for more repairs, adjustments and overhauls this season than the '81 Chevette I had the misfortune of being stuck with fresh out of college.
One would hope that Monique Reid's shooting is still intact, Asia Taylor and Keisha Hines still have some motivation to crash the boards and that the long range bombing and defensive skills of Becky Burke haven't headed south for spring break. We also may get to see LaToya Johnson and Nikki Burton return from the I/R list. Both could be key and essential cogs in the Lady Cards machine for 2010-11.
Fans from other schools can tease and sometimes do the "N.I.T." chant when their schools are winning against a rival or opponent that isn't having a stellar season. This is one step below the NIT. A fledgling tournament which merely offers 16 schools a chance to get a few more games in before they begin off season conditioning workouts. Either an affirmation of a season gone less than expected or a chance to put some positive spin on the plans for next year. Call it lipstick on the pig if you want...I'll take the high road here and look at it as a chance to give the home fans at least one more chance to cheer and see the Lady Cards we all love to watch...the winning version. A chance for the coaches and players to set the groundwork and frame for brighter prospect in the future. Still playing, survive and advance. I won't discuss what a loss tonight would serve. Formulate your own negativities on that one. It's the 500 lb. gorilla in the corner I refuse to acknowledge.
We'll see how the Lady Cards react. Top of the mornin' to ya. Happy St. Patty's Day! It's time for the wearing of the green...but let's hope that red and black are the colors celebrated in Freedom Hall tonight.
(You have 24 hours to get your NCAA men's and women's tournament brackets filled out. On the men's side...avoid Sam Houston State and Montana. On the women's side, just write "UConn" 63 times on the sheet.)
If you like, join us in the women's tournament selection contest over at www.ncaa.com
Our group is Louisville Cardinals and the pass code is: ladycards
Written by Paul