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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Previewing the University of Portland Pilots

FRIDAY Cardinal Couple:

-A preview of the Portland Pilots

-David Watson's take on the Lady Cards season (so far).

The University of Louisville heads to (and is probably already in) Portland, Oregon as part of their two game, West Coast, "say Hello to the Schimmel's again" tour to face the University of Portland Pilots at 5 p.m. E.S.T. in the Chiles Center. The game is a NCAA "Pack the House" promotion and the Lady Cards will likely face a capacity crowd in the 4,852 arena.

The Pilots are 5-6 on the season and have faced some pretty good competition in 11 games. Their losses have come against DePaul (99-64), Oregon, Washington, Eastern Washington, Montana State and Seattle. Portland has wins over Hawaii, UC-Irvine,  San Diego State, cross-town rival Portland State and Montana. 

Day leads Portland in scoring
UofP is led by senior guard/forward Natalie Day. The 6'0" Pilot averages 18.4 points per game and leads in rebounding with 7.7 per contest. ReZina Teclemariam, a 5'8" senior guard is the other Portland WBB player in double figures with 10.1 p.p.g. She leads the Pilots in minutes played with 35.8 a game and has taken the most threes on the season...going 15-54. Cassandra Brown ( 6'2" soph. G/F), Amy Pupa ( 6'1" soph. F) and Alexis Byrd ( 5'10" senior guard) fill out the rest of the starting line up. The Pilots also bring freshman Jasmine Wooten off the bench extensively.

The Pilots are coached by Jim Sollars, entering his 26th. year as the skipper of UofP. He guided the Pilots to a 16-15 record last season, has been named WCC Coach of the Year five times during his stay with the Pilots and has a 356-381 record as the Pilots head coach.

Jasmine Wooten is a talented freshman
for the Portland Pilots.
Portland and Louisville have never met in women's college basketball. The Pilots are currently on a four game losing streak, falling to Seattle University last time out. 

On the season, Portland averages 61.9 points a game, while allowing opponents 67.0. The Pilots grab 36.8 rebounds a game while giving up 38.3. UofP attempts 6.3 three pointers per contest and defend 7.0 per game. They shoot .687 from the charity stripe.

The Lady Cards will look to improve off a dismal performance at Cincinnati on Wednesday night. Although the Cards won 64-59...they trailed the majority of the second half and shot only 38% from the field against UC's stifling defense.

The main attraction, of course, will be the Schimmel sisters return to the city where they played their final years of high school basketball and their home state. A large contingent of Umatilla Reservation fans will most likely be in attendance to watch Shoni and Jude and their six brothers and sisters will be watching along with their mother.

No status on Monique Reid's second half injury was available as we went to press. It's expected she'll make the trip...but her playing availability is unknown as of now. Also in question is the status of sophomore Charmaine Tay's eligibility after sitting out the first semester because of academics.

We hope to be able to watch this one through the Portland University Athletics website. If not, it's available on 101.7 FM WKRD.


(David Watson is a special correspondent for CARDINAL COUPLE. Today, David weighs in on the Lady Cards after 11 games.)

David Watson
Hard to believe for me, but about 1/3 of the Lady Cards basketball season is in the books. At 9-2, the Cards have pretty much met my expectations so far for the year. They lost at Texas A&M and I expected that. They lost to UK, who I thought they might have a chance against. They underperformed at Cincinnati last night, which I didn't expect either. They still won, though, and are a perfect 1-0 in the BIG BEAST...oops EAST. The girls are ranked #14 in the nation.

Why am I not happy?

It's probably because I just can't figure out this year's team. Raise your hand if you're in the same boat.

 Last year, there were certain things you could count on. Shoni dazzling the fans with her WNBA moves, long range bombing and "sho"manship. Monique Reid getting a workmanlike 15-16 points a game with the consistancy of my neighbor's penchant of letting his dogs out at 6 a.m. to awaken everyone on the block. Keisha Hines battling inside. Tia Gibbs being an all over the court warrior. Becky Burke bombing from the perimeter with the frequency of a State Farm commercial on television. 

This year, no Gibbs. This saddens me - I really liked to watch her play. Shoni seems a bit more inconsistent and almost tame at times this year. Mo has been injured more often than the skateboarders over at the park down the street from me. Cierra Warren, who came in with such lofty potential has been average, at best. At least we still have Burke. And we'll always have the fearless Shelby Harper, who would probably try to break the men's team's press wearing snowshoes and a snorkel mask (and probably succeed). I should be encouraged by the improving play of Jude Schimmel. Bria Smith has been all that was advertised and I see big things coming from Sara Hammond down the line. The other bigs...Dyer, Vails, Slaughter and Taylor have had shining moments this season, which should give me reason to believe.  

Still, I worry more about this team than I do about rising gas prices and what will happen to my questionable credit score. 

Maybe it's because I think this year's BIG EAST is stronger than last year (hard to believe but true.) Maybe the Cards can get to double figure wins in conference play, but I'm not holding my breath. Maybe it's because I look at all this talent Jeff Walz has on his roster and can't figure out why they occasionally take a siesta and call it in. Maybe Walz is wondering the same thing.

Writer Sandra Walker brought up a very good point in yesterday's column when she wondered about the consistency issues in the lineup and rotation. When the lineup on the court changes with the frequency of my youngest daughter's clothing changes...something isn't right.

Figure it out, Jeff. The conference awaits.

(David Watson also worries about male pattern baldness, enough fiber in his diet and whether the sun will come up tomorrow. Catch him here exclusively at CARDINAL COUPLE...and in selected Wal-Marts in central Indiana.)


  1. Said it yesterday that this isn't the same team as last year, and it's showing. No Tia, no Tay, missed Keisha, and a lot of no Mo. Think it will take a little more time for this team to find their identity. Lots of new faces playing quality minutes. Very interested in seeing how they come together with these uninterrupted practices coming up. They have some games under their belts for reference points, and Walz is a good coach whose teams generally get better after the winter break. Will reserve judgement until say about mid Jan. as to how good this team will really be.

  2. Lack of team chemistry is due to too many combinations & players in rotation.Most teams rotate 8-10 players.By now Walz should have his main"go-to" players.Just check the stat sheet for the girls that are actually contributing,consistantly.Plus why do we have 16 AWAY games?All the top teams (uconn,nd.,tenn,baylor,ta&m,rutgers etc)play only 10-12 AWAY games.Is it the "Say Hello To The Shimmels AGAIN Tour"the reason?We need all the home court advantage that we can get Jeff.

  3. Even Walz regrets the # of away games this year...but most them are ones where the opponent will be coming to the YUM! next year.

  4. It was part of the deal lol jk.I agree, diff team this year. If it were the same team & winning would you complain about the "away" games? I'm Lookn forward to UL/PP game.We didnt plan on being here @PDX, was plannin for Pullman WA. I'm here at Emanuel Legacy Hospital w/my newborn daughter diagnosed w/ CMV Virus. East Oregon doesnt have the resources to handle uncommon situations. Fortunately were staying @ Ronald McDonald house for free, and lucky to take advantage of the $2 deal to pack Pilots house, but me, wife & 3 girls will be wearin Red ;-) Umatilla23


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