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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Lady Cards take a break for a few days...the future lies in front of them.


-Holiday Traditions

-The brutality factor in WBB...just how serious is it?

-Watson assigns grades

(Today at CARDINAL COUPLE, WE turn the site over to our beloved writers David Watson and Sandy Walker. So, pull up a chair, spike the Egg Nog and enjoy! Or, take a nap and un-plug the phone if you stayed up and watched the 97-80 beat-down Stanford put on Tennessee last night. WE like the elder Ogwumike. Pat doesn't.)

...Sandra Walker starts it off today with a look at Holiday Hoops...

December of 2011 finds many families in the midst of building new holiday traditions where the women's college basketball schedule has an effect on annual holiday gatherings. One such illustration occurred last week when a family's get-together date was shifted so that several relatives could attend the UofL vs. UK women's basketball game. Last Sunday, another Louisville family's pre-Christmas gathering included the UK at Notre Dame WBB game instead of one brother's expected pro football game. Fortunately, such an exciting game transformed what was a "beginning of game sulk" -featuring him sitting alone across the room - into a front of the screen position - urging on his beloved UK.

Who knows?  A new tradition may begin where male family members begin hosting and cooking the holiday meals in order to regain control of the household remote control. Hopefully by the time that happens, more hosts will voluntarily choose to view the more exciting WBB game.

Holiday hoops are sometimes excellent match ups
This year we are fortunate to have the addition of many more televised women's games and several holiday period top 10 match ups to enjoy. During this wonderful time of the year, we've had great competitive match ups that were well attended. UConn at Baylor, Tennessee and Stanford, Duke at UK, Louisville at UK, Connecticut at Baylor, UK at Notre Dame...and many more.

Games like these serve to not only provide enjoyment to viewers to pre-existing fans but also raise the awareness and appreciation of the women's game to those  who are newer to it.

It has been suggested that one way to promote WBB is for teams that are projected to possess the next year's highest pre-season ranking to make a special effort to schedule non-conference games with one another. Perhaps a nightmare for the schedulers - but a definite dream and a "win" for the fans. One guarantee would be a sold out venue where tickets would sell out weeks in advance. 

What do you think, CARDINAL COUPLE readers? 

(Sandy Walker is a staff correspondent for CARDINAL COUPLE. We like her ideas above. We'd also like to see Geno and Pat mend the fence and give us a Connecticut vs. Tennessee game yearly. Another idea is to have a pre-Christmas tournament here in-state...maybe a double header at rotating locations...where Louisville plays an in-state opponent...let's say the first game and UK takes on one also...maybe Murray. Who doesn't think this double-header wouldn't sell out if you staged it on a Saturday or Sunday and also offered it as a TV package?)


(Sandy also reviews the recent UK vs. Notre Dame game below)

Here are a few late comments regarding last Sunday's top 10 Kentucky vs. Notre Dame match-up. They packed almost 9000 into the recently remodeled Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center on the Notre Dame campus for this one.

The game may have applications to UofL's late season BIG EAST meeting with Notre Dame - the Irish were very successful in locking down UK leader A'dia Mathies and her shooting game. She was not as effective at directing UK's offense, which counts on the transition and running game. Without it...and her...UK did not have a very organized half-court attack either, which hurt them later in the game. UK fans that were fortunate enough to attend the contest report that Notre Dame was able to really take Mathies out of her game and normal role just like UK did to Shoni. Mathies and Samantha Drake were forced to sit out the end of the first half, which allowed Notre Dame to change a neck and neck battle into a six point halftime lead.

Physical games in women's basketball have become commonplace but this particular game was reported to be very rough both physically and verbally

Fans sitting at the court level locations commented on the number of "no calls"  as well as poor calls at both ends of the court by the officials. There were also reports of the officials allowing on court activities to get out of control.

Samari Walker, a Connecticut transfer to UK, was a particular target of the Notre Dame players and fans - whose verbally harsh taunts continued throughout the game. On Walker, it looks like she will provide a solid improvement to UK, despite her year off. She had seven points and seven rebounds against the Irish off the bench - her first game of the year. 

When Mathies picked up her fifth foul at the 7:25 mark in the final half, UK's running game took a hit. They managed to stay close for awhile - it was 78-75 Notre Dame with just 3:43 left - but Skylar Diggins capitalized on not being guarded so skillfully with Mathies on the bench and took over the contest. Her three-pointer with 3:32 remaining allowed Notre Dame to streak to the win.

(We also wonder just how many teams, including Notre Dame, will utilize the "Shut down Shoni" game plan the rest of the year? Basic basketball philosophy tells you that when an opponent double or triple teams a player...someone else is wide open. Getting the ball to that "someone" is essential. We'll see how the Lady Cards respond to it. Great articles today, Sandy!)


(Lastly, David Watson posts grades for the Lady Cards and their first semester performances on the court. WE'RE glad David isn't a real professor...they'd have to take the whole academic structure we now know and run it through the car wash several times to remove his grime from it...) 

OK, by now the Lady Cards are all home with their families and loved ones, except for Shawnta Dyer probably - whose still slamming imaginary opponents in the paint and going to the boards -all in the Spokane airport, waiting for her plane, in front of bewildered but appreciative Northwest Airlines employees. 

I got together with my buddies Mr.Obvious and Professor Skip Academics and we graded out the UofL Lady Cards performance for the first semester on the court.

The Lady Cards are 11 for 13 this year as a team. That's a solid "B" performance. At home, they're 4-0 which warrants an "A". On the road Louisville is 7-2..which is is about 77% - so we'll give them a "C". Before you start wadding up paper and throwing it at the professors, put a little chewed gum in the middle. It improves accuracy and flight distance.

Individually, we pleased to present Shoni, Bria, Becky, and Sherrone with "A" grades. Asia, Shawnta, Jude, Mo, Shelby get "B"'s. Cierra, Sara and Antonita receive a "C". Tia gets an "incomplete" for the semester and Charmaine Tay a one way ticket to Jersey. We know that some of you out there will find issue and disagree with these mid-year grades. We don't care. Hey, this is our article and we can say anything we want, as long as it gets past Sonja and her editing. You got different ideas? Send them in and Paul will probably post them after Sonja proof reads them.

Some individual awards:

Is Becky Burke the
Lady Cards Tebow?
The Tim Tebow Inspirational Award. Goes to Becky Burke for lifting the hearts and minds of the fans and her teammates with those "absolutely, gotta have it, need it now" clutch threes.

The "I will shoot anywhere, anytime" Award. Your winner is Shoni Schimmel. We have no doubt that Shoni would fire up her assortment of attempted baskets while crammed in 5 p.m. wall-to-wall subway traffic in mid-town Manhattan. (And probably hit most of them.)

The "What was I thinking?" Award. To Jude Schimmel, for her clock ticking to zero, up by four, foul at Washington State. Ms. Schimmel, write on the backboard (or chalkboard) 100 times "I will not foul when the game is over and we're up by four." 

The "Aliens have invaded my body and there's nothing I can do about it" Award. We're pleased to give this one to Jeff Walz. His sideline movements, mannerisms, feats of agility and vocalizations are un-worldly.

Send the real Walz back to us at the end of the season, please, ye visitors from another world. We're enjoying the alien version. 

The "Where's my insurance card and can I get a ride to ER?" Award. Monique Reid. The coaching staff needs to pack her in bubble wrap and foam packaging for the rest of the year. (And don't let UPS deliver her.)

Finally, some 'best of' awards.

BEST performance of the year (individual): Antonita Slaughter's 23 against Gardner-Webb. She was alive, in the zone and all over the court in the romp. We're sending out search parties to find that version of Nita for BIG EAST play.

BEST game of the year (team): The inspiring nine point win over a good Florida State team on the road after Thanksgiving. The Cards had it together and Shoni was electric in that one.

BEST post game quote of the year: Monique Reid, with her defiant statement. "Hey, I'm a scorer. That's what I do and that's the way it is and my role." (Any questions should be directed to opposing defenses - who will verify the comment.)

FIRST SEMESTER MVP. This was a really hard one to pare down to just one person. We're going with Becky Burke, though. She's played in all thirteen games, performed well in the vast majority of them and has expanded her role from just being a three-point shooter.

FIRST SEMESTER FRESHMAN MVP. Goes to Bria Smith. All three freshmen have played well at times, but Smith is the most impressive of them, so far. (Bria on baseline = two points or a trip to the foul line.)

GAME we'd like to forget: UK. For many reasons.

GAME we'd like to request a "do-over" for: Texas A&M with Shoni and Mo in the lineup. At a neutral site.

PLAYER that we'd hope picks it up the rest of the year:

We could make a case for several Lady Cards here, but we're going with Cierra Warren. Her size, ability and skill should translate to double-double figures each and every time out. Time to go to work, Ms. Warren.

Finally -- (drum roll, please!!!): 

This will most likely be my final article for CARDINAL COUPLE in 2011. A busy holiday schedule ahead, trip to visit my wife's family for the holidays and other duties of the season await me and my family.

Many props to Paul and Sonja for the job they do here at CARDINAL COUPLE. This "fan voice for Louisville womens' athletics" is a labor of love for them and I'm proud to be a small part of it.

Thanks, David for your
2011 observations and
I'd like to wish each and every one of you a hopeful Christmas, health and prosperity in 2012 and peace on earth. See you next year.

(David Watson is a special correspondent for CARDINAL COUPLE. He'll also most likely be in the witness protection program very soon after our readers and the Lady Cards read his offerings today. Happy Holidays, David!) 



  1. LOL. David Watson - you ain't right. Merry Christmas.

    - - Sha'nay - - love ya all

  2. I'd also like thank Paul and Sonja for the job they do. I check in from New York on a regular basis and wish we had someone like them doing St. John's womens' athletics.

    I'm a Red Storm fan first and foremost, but consider me Cardinal Red after that.


  3. Any info on Monique Reid?

  4. Hi Sissy!
    I could not agree with you more on what an invaluable job Paul and Sonja do covering all aspects of U of L women's athletics. We are very lucky!!

    Wanted to ask about your player that went down in a pretty high profile game a week or so ago. I can not remember the specifics anymore, who you all were playing and where, but I remember how touching it was with the coach out there with your player, obviously in awful pain. I have been looking for updates on her and have not seen anything. I believe the player was McKenah? Is that right? She was having a heck of game before she went down. Would love to know how she is doing. I sure hope it is not a season ending ACL issue.

  5. Jenny that was Nadirah McKenith, our starting point guard. She sprained a knee and will be out until at least the Providence game on 1/4/12 or maybe even Louisville on 1/8/12.

    We need her. Barely got by Memphis without her. Her replacement, Keylantra Langley not ready for prime time at point. More turnovers than the freezer aisle at your grocer in that girl.


  6. Thanks. While a sprain is bad enough, glad to hear it was not a more significant tear in the knee. Hopefully she will be back healthy, quickly! Best of luck this season.

    I remember, I was watching the Maggie Dixon Classic when she went down.

  7. To anonymous who asked about Mo. She is out for the season with a knee injury. Surgery scheduled for Jan. 4th.


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