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Friday, August 5, 2011

Gwen Rucker makes National team....Lady Cards trip much more than just playing hoops.


-Gwen Rucker named to preseason national team

-Lady Cards hoops looking for more than just a few games in Canada trip

Decisions and doing the right thing are sometimes very hard to do. We've always liked the phrase that "integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching. In Gwen Rucker's case, visibility wasn't an issue. Following her heart was. Part of a highly heralded recruiting class that arrived on the UofL campus to play basketball in the fall of 2008, Rucker was actually a two-sport star...garnering All-State honors in both volleyball and basketball at Lexington Henry Clay High School. The mere fact that the Cards had wrestled
Rucker didn't back down to anyone during
her hoops stint at UofL.
her away from hometown UK was impressive enough. The game that she brought with her added to the resume. As a freshman with Becky Burke and Monique Reid, Gwen saw valuable minutes as a post player in the Lady Cards march to the National Championship game. She was also making a name for herself as a middle blocker in the "wide-net" sport of volleyball for Leonid Yelin and the Volleyball Cards. Original plans were for her to sit out hoops her sophomore year...but shortages on the 2009-10 Lady Cards roster necessitated she continue the two-sport duty one more season. With additional depth in the paint joining the UofL roster for the 2010-11 season, Rucker chose to concentrate solely on volleyball and became one of the most feared middle players in the BIG EAST.

Rucker makes the center of the
volleyball court a "smash and burn"
zone for UofL.
Those accomplishments have reaped rewards. Rucker has been named a captain on the 2011-12 UofL Volleyball team and also to the second team on the preseason Cobra Magazine's All=Preseason Team. She also participated on the USA Volleyball A2 National Championship team this summer.

As she enters her senior season, more changes await. A new coach, and the transitions and adjustments that occur when leadership roles are changed. The Cards are considered a contender for the 2011 BIG EAST Volleyball top spot, along with always tough Cincinnati and UofL returns quite a few experienced and talented players from last year's squad that won the BIG EAST Tournament. Louisville will get it underway August Cardinal Arena with a exhibition game against Cardinal alumnae.


As we go to press here early Friday morning, we assuming the Lady Cards have safely landed in Portland or wherever the journey is scheduled to begin. Hopefully, a good  night's sleep for all...and then to the Umatilla Reservation for a day of activities and a practice.

We're glad that Louisville's "one great newspaper" here in River City provided a little press to the Lady Cards westward journeyin Friday's edition. WE applaud Jody Demling for his efforts. Of course, plenty of press about Pitino's players headed to the Caribbean. Reality check time...who got past the first round of the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row in college hoops? (Hint: it wasn't Peyton Siva). 

We're incredulous when we hear some so-called "experts" predict a "final four finish...or better" for the men's hoops team. Maybe try winning one tournament game first, compadres? Sometimes the rose-colored glasses block out reality.

Which leads to the "grab your head and moan" joke being circulated lately by some Big Blue braggarts:

Q: How do you stop Rick Pitino from winning basketball games?
A: Invite him to the NCAA tournament

Two obstacles in the way of a 2011-12 Lady Cards Big East
Winning isn't what brought the Lady Cards out west. Look at it as more of an exercise in team bonding before classes, regular practices and the season begins. Sure, it would be great to demolish all three Canadian opponents, and the Cards probably will...but the commmunity involvement, historical site visiting and cultural exchanges will go a lot further than any no-look passes, deep trifectas or steals off the transition over the next two weeks.

The days after the Canada trip will be pressured for Walz's 15 hoopsters. The rigors of academia. Competing for playing time against talent levels that may be the best since the days of Angel, Candyce and Dez. Going to war in the BIG EAST...unquestionably the best conference in college women's basketball. The next two weeks can serve as a unifying, cohesive opportunity for a group of basketball players to jell as a team. Let's hope the Lady Cards make the most of it.

Even if it isn't on a tropical island.


  1. The abs exercise for now. So many people lose SO much time doing crunches, sit-ups, leg raises, and other core muscle exercises because they think it’s the best way to lose belly fat fast.

  2. Sad that there will be no local media coverage of the Cards games. Sad.

  3. Hey guys~
    according tweets they headed to Minnesota first, then to Portland and then a 3 hour bus ride to the Rez.
    According to tweets it looked like they got in somewhere around 2:00 a.m. our time. They seemed to all arrive in one piece, though exhausted from the travel.

    BTW, our local coverage of the Lady Cards SUCKS!! One of the best things going right now at U of L and all the CJ can talk about is the guys this and the guys that. Aggravates me to no end.

    Keep a watch for a blog the women are supposed to be doing while away. As well, I have found articles on line from atleast one of the Canadian teams(who just played Ole Miss and lost, but it was close). I guess we will have to watch other newspapers for coverage.

    The Oregonian Times also does a really nice job of covering all thins Schimmel. So, I bet we can find some nice write ups there, too. I will post any links I come across.


  4. If there's any coverage of this trip by the "main" Oregon media, you will be able to find it by going to and doing a search for "Schimmel".
    --PDX Phil

  5. Portland Tribune and Eastern Oregonian was there today, there were a few other reporters but Idk who they represented--Umatilla23


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