THURSDAY EDITION OF CARDINAL COUPLE:
-Jeff Walz talks Lady Cards Hoops
-Lacrosse hosts LAX for the Cure tournament Thursday
A nice surprise last night during Charlie Strong call-in show at the Tumbleweed over in New Albany. Jeff Walz got a little air time and discussed Lady Card hoops with Paul Rogers and the fans. CARDINAL COUPLE was actually tipped off that Walz would appear and we got his words for you.
On starting practice before the men's team:
"Yes, we've been hard at it. The NCAA changed some rules for the women's teams. We actually allowed to start 40 days before our first game. Within those 40 days you have to take 10 days off. We started on Sunday of last week, went Sunday to Thursday...I gave the kids off for fall break, a few of them went home, went to see some family and we actually got back to it last night (Tuesday) in the downtown new arena. It was fantastic, the kids were excited. For those of you who have not had the chance to view the new arena..it's breathtaking...it's a beautiful place. "
On Shoni Schimmel:
"Shoni is a native American and I'd do her unjust if I tried to name her tribe. (Laughter). She's a unique young lady that has seven brothers and sisters, a big family and I had the opportunity when the football team was playing out in Oregon State..we have some recruits on the West coast and I went out there. She grew up on a reservation in Pendleton, which is about 3 1/2 hours east of Portland. She finished her last year and a half of high school in Portland. My assistant and I went out there and I actually got to experience the Pendleton Round Up. It's a event that they put on each year, it's a rodeo, bull riding...a little bit of everything and I actually had the opportunity to spend Friday night in a tee pee. so, it's one of those things I can cross off my list. Something that I've done. Shoni is a special player and we're very fortunate that she decided to come as far away from home as she did. She's adjusting well, she passes the ball extremely well...she can shoot it and she's really going to bring a lot of flair to our team. "
On Shelby Harper:
"Shelby is doing fantastic. She came on to the team last year as a walk on..a freshman. It's a cute story...She came out to our first day of workouts last fall, last August...and she lasted for about a half hour of it. Really struggled and I said 'Shelby, why don't you just come back on October 15th and we'll have you for practice.' She came back, she had some work to do on her own and I told her she had to get in shape. I even told her 'you're probably not going to travel to away games until you earn a spot' and...by December, when we started to travel I told her 'don't carry your bags...I'll carry them for you. (Laughter). It speaks volumes for a kid when you're willing to put the work in. That you can do anything you set your mind to. She's done a fantastic job."
On Tia Gibbs:
"We finally got her back for practice last night. She suffered a concussion about a week and missed about a week of practice. She's doing fantastic and will add a lot of ability to the guard spot for us. A very smart player, competitive player and really is doing everything I ask her to do. I'm really expecting her to be able to step in and fill some needs for us. "
On practice at the KFC YUM! Arena:
"We'll probably have the opportunity to practice in there 8-10 times before we play our first game. In Freedom Hall we probably went in there one or two times before our first game. It's just the opportunity to get in, get adjusted to the depth perception, the size of the arena. I was really impressed last night...the same thing that they did at Freedom Hall...the lighting is directed right onto the court, so when you're looking up at the seats from the floor it's dark...which is great for a player because you don't get lost in all the space. It was a great opportunity for us last night and we're really excited to get back down there soon."
On the advantage of good lighting for shooting:
"If you ask my players, they'll all tell you that they're shooters..but the problem is that they're not all makers (Laughter). They all shoot it fine but they don't all go in. I tell our kids it doesn't matter where you play, if you're a shooter..you're a shooter. We actually did shoot the ball very well last night for our first time in the new arena so I'm excited about that."
On playing in the BIG EAST:
"We're very fortunate to play in a fantastic league. We'll probably have six teams ranked in the preseason top twenty five and when you've got sixteen in your league you've got to show up every night. The encouraging thing for us is that we ended up going 5-11 last year with injuries and things..but we lost six of those games by six points or less. That's one thing that I've really tried to explain and emphasize to our players...that we have to work harder this year. We have some players that will fill some needs...but we were actually in the majority of our games last year and had the chance to win them in the last three minutes and ran out of gas and out of players."
On red shirting any players this year:
"Just Cierra Warren, who has to sit out because of transferring from North Carolina. We have 14-15 players ready to play, I'm still waiting to see if Nikki Burton will be cleared (recovering from hip surgery). At the rate we lost players last year, I'm afraid to red shirt anyone and say that you're not going to play and then end up having to play them later in the year. I've told them all that all five starting positions are open to compete for and it's just a matter of what five want to step up and take them."
Ohio State and Vanderbilt visit the UofL Lacrosse Stadium to play in the Lax for the Cure tournament Thursday. Lax is an abbreviation for the word lacrosse and the tournament is held to raise awareness for Breast Cancer awareness.
The Cards will face the Buckeyes at 3 p.m. In the round robin format, Ohio State will play Vandy at 4:15 p.m. and Louisville goes against the Commodores at 5:30. A "battle of the sexes" contest...pitting the Louisville ladies vs. the Bellarmine men was cancelled due to the death of Bellarmine's long time coach Jack McGetrick from prostate cancer. The tournament participants will be wearing pink ribbons and light blue ribbons to show support in the fight against breast cancer and prostate cancer.
Louisville has fared well in the fall tournament exhibitions...winning twice at the James Madison Tournament and four times in the Melting Pot Tournament in Boston.
The regular lacrosse season begins in late Feburary.