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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Harper will adjust to the upgrade...Pat Summitt diagnosed with dementia


-Junior Shelby Harper has seen some changes.

-Pat Summitt diagnosed with dementia

(TODAY...CARDINAL COUPLE takes a look at one of the returning WBB Lady Cards) 

Imagine enrolling in college, planning on studying nursing and then getting invited to walk on the women's basketball team that finished second in the nation the year before. Such was the case for Allen County-Scottsville guard Shelby Harper back in the 2009-10 season. Injuries had left the Cards with a severe shortage at guard and Harper, who had been a District 15 MVP and All-Region selection her junior and senior years in high school...found herself in a Cardinal jersey.

She responded well during that trying season for the Lady Cards. She quickly became a fan favorite...a flying blonde blur who fearlessly brought the ball into the front court and fired threes from far beyond the three-point arc. She started 17 games for UofL her freshman year...playing in 29 contests and was second on the team in 3-point accuracy. Her five scores from 3-point range against Cincinnati had people talking about the unheralded spark plug.

Fast forward to her sophomore year. Seeing the need to rebuild the depth at guard, Jeff Walz brought in a talented trio of players to beef up the point and shooting guard postitions. Shoni Schimmel, Charmaine Tay and Tia Gibbs gave the Cards instant offense and defense to compliment the returning Harper, Becky Burke and Rachel Story. Harper still saw action, playing in 27 Cardinal contests and getting about 10 minutes a game. The spark plug effect was still working...her role had changed from starter to substitute...but the team's fortunes increased dramatically as the Cards reached the Sweet Sixteen.

2011-12 brings another wealth of talent into the Lady Cards locker room. All-American Bria Smith and fireball Jude Schimmel climb on the already loaded guard position golf cart and with both Schimmels, Smith, Tay, Gibbs and Burke available for duty...guards Rachel Story and Nikki Burton saw the proverbial hand-writing on the wall and transferred to schools where playing time would be more readily available. 

Harper remains. Her knowledge and experience in the Walz offensive system invaluable. Her effort and desire on the court equal to any of this current crop of Cards. The spark plug is now a part of one of the most powerful engines in UofL women's basketball history and, although the playing time may diminish for Shelby...the effort and fan support will still remain strong.

WE look forward to seeing #1 and her madcap advancements of the ball past defenders and her lock-down defensive skills on the full court press. Maybe not as much as in previous years...but certainly a treat every moment she's on Denny Crum Court.

Walz realizes the fervor and excitement that can come out of the crowd when Harper heads to the scorers' table. In the probable Cardinal blowouts of lesser foes in the pre-BIG EAST schedule...don't be surprised to see "the blonde blur" streaking by the opponents...firing rifle passes to the front line and bombing long range trifectas.


Pat addresses the media at the KFC YUM! Center
University of Tennessee head women's basketball coach Pat Summitt has been diagnosed with dementia. This terrible news is a blow to the whole basketball community and WE here at CARDINAL COUPLE express our deepest sympathies and condolences to Pat and the entire UT Nation. WE recall her visit to the KFC YUM! Center early in the 2010-11 basketball season to help open up the Downtown Arena and remember her kindness, patience and even sense of humor as she addressed the media after the game. We have a link to the article and announcement below.

Despite our occasional parody portrayal of Pat here at C.C., we've always had a great deal of respect and admiration for the wonderful career she has had at Tennessee and the way she's been an ambassador for women's basketball. For today, and the future...we are Lady Vols fans...and wish Pat nothing but the best. Hopefully, with the aid of her assistant coaches, staff and physicians...she'll still continue to be a part of the Lady Vols for a very long time.

Click the link below for the story...



  1. It is a terribly sad day for Women's basketball, no doubt. My heartfelt thoughts go out to Coach Summitt, her family, and her Lady Vol extended family. I hope that we continue to see Pat on the sidelines in one form or another, for years to come.

  2. Although this news is unquestionably sad, the announcement should not come as surprise. To those who watched Tennessee in the NCAA tournament closely (which excludes the entire media covering the Vols), it was clear that something was wrong with Pat. She wasn't even in the team huddle during time outs. In her Press Release, she admits not having felt like her normal confident self during the season. Sad, but you could see this one coming.
    --PDX Phil


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