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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Basketball in the ACC


( Staff columnist Jenny O'Bryan gives us today's column and it's a look at ACC basketball.)

- A look at ACC WBB

-Corral picked for All-Region

-Charlie staying put. (Good Charlie!)

Louisville Women’s basketball is slated to make their debut in the ACC in 2014, if not before.   Actual arrival is dependent upon when exiting member Maryland makes their way to the Big 10. 

The coaching staff is pretty familiar with the conference.  Coach Walz cut his proverbial coaching teeth in the ACC while at Maryland as an assistant under Brenda Frese for 5 years.  He helped to lead the Terps to a National Championship in 2006.  Coach Samantha Williams found her way to the ACC as Coach Walz was leaving, in 2007.  Alongside Coach Joanne McCallie, Coach Sam spent 4 years as an assistant at Duke.   While both are now at Louisville, Coach Sam’s hometown and Coach Walz’s home state, the ACC is familiar territory.

The standings going in to the 2012 season have Duke atop the conference followed by Virginia Tech, Maryland (whose exit makes our arrival possible), Miami (FL) North Carolina, Virginia, NC State, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Wake Forest and Boston College.  Arriving in 2013 is Notre Dame, Syracuse and Pittsburgh.  With the way things stand today, Louisville will arrive in 2014. Add Notre Dame and it looks like a very strong competition level.  

The 2012 NCAA Tournament had 4 teams (Duke, Maryland, Georgia Tech, Miami (FL)) from the ACC.   Of those 4, Duke was knocked out in the Elite 8, the other 3 getting knocked out in the Sweet Sixteen.    Duke, in particular, is stacked with talent and looks to be a force for the years to come. 

The recent recruiting class of 2013’s top 50 prospects was raided by the ACC.  Of the top 50, 15 of those recruits have signed with ACC schools.  Of the top 10 in the class, 6 have signed with the ACC.   Of the top 5 overall recruiting classes, 3 go to the ACC with North Carolina coming in at #1, Duke at #2 and the newly arriving Notre Dame at # 4.  That is a boatload of talent in one conference!

North Carolina, who did not make the NCAA Tournament last year, and who snubbed an invite to participate in the NIT, got a huge haul from this class.  Diamond DeShields is the top recruit coming in at #3 in the class, followed by #7 Allisha Gray, #14 Jessica Washington and #23 Stephanie Mavunga (a recruiting target of Louisville).  The 4 hope to return North Carolina and Coach Sylvia Hatchell back to prominence in the women’s game, and atop the ACC. 

Duke, coming off of a nice post season run, scored some huge recruits as well.  Rebecca Greenwell, # 6 in the class, Kentucky native and former Louisville target as well, headlines the class at Duke.  She is joined by #10 Oderah Chidom, #12 Kendall Cooper and #32 Kianna Holland.   With the current talent at Duke, and incoming stellar class, they look to be the continued team to beat. 

Notre Dame is the other recruiting class of note.  This class is headlined by #4 Taya Reimer, # 25 Lindsay Allen and # 39 Kristina Nelson.  While Notre Dame has long been atop the Big East alongside Connecticut, they look to continue alongside strong competition in the ACC next season. 
While Georgia Tech was not mentioned in the top 5 of recruiting classes they signed # 2 in the class of 2013, Kaela Davis.  As Louisville fans know, one outstanding recruit can really change the landscape of a team and bring in future talent.  The hope here is certainly that Georgia Tech can climb out of the bottom 3rd of the conference. 

While the Big East has long been thought of as a premiere women’s basketball conference, with Notre Dame leaving, us to follow and Connecticut looking for a way out, the ACC seems to be measuring up pretty well, especially with the very strong haul from the class of 2013.   I certainly believe with the Big East falling apart (Notre Dame and Rutgers already on the way out), the ACC seems to offer as much of a competitive nature, if not more, than the new fangled Big East. 

The Big East has been a very good home to Louisville Women’s Basketball.  I am sorry to see it unraveling, as it pertains to the competitive nature of women’s basketball.  I am grateful to see the move to the ACC and I look forward to many competitive games as we move forward.  As we all know, women’s basketball (and all women’s sports) is just along for the ride in conference realignment.  In this case, it looks to be a step up for what the ever-changing Big East is beginning to look like. 

Thank you, Big East.  Hello, ACC. 


Louisville women's soccer junior Charlyn Corral was named First Team All-Region (Northeast) by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America earlier this week.

Corral, the 2012 BIG EAST Midfielder of the Year and a First-Team All-BIG EAST selection, led the Cards with eight goals and a team-high seven assists during her first season at UofL. She transferred to Louisville from Tecnologico de Monterrey. Corral started all 18 games for Karen Ferguson-Dayes' squad.

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(The following is EDITORIAL COMMENTARY from your senior, senile CARINAL COUPLE owner Paulie and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the rest of the CARDINAL COUPLE writers, staff or animals.)

Looks like Charlie Strong won't have to learn the words to "Rocky Top" after all. The UofL head football coach turned down two Tennessee offers Wednesday and is staying at Louisville. He's undergoing contract re-neogtiations with Tom Jurich and the scuttlebutt is that Charlie could become another $4 million man at UofL along with Rick Pitino.

I need a little car work done guys....who's your buddy, who's your pal?

I approve of Charlie's decision to stay in the (502). Was it all posturizing to get a better deal? Was Charlie seriously thinking of heading to Knoxville? Will he hire a media-relations coach with the extra benjamins to school him on how to avoid upsetting the press and the fans?

All this and more, at least until the next school comes knocking at the door. It is impressive that he turned down a SEC school to remain with the Cards. That usually doesn't happen. 

Cardinal fans have squirmed under the tag that UofL wasn't a "destination school" for coaches for years. Maybe that's changing.

Or, if you can't win them over with your winning record, "wow" them with your many schools will come after a guy that's making more than most schools' athletic budget?

Something that struck me in Charlie's interview today was that he kept coming back to two things. Relationships and family. It's wasn't about the money, the glamour of SEC football or personal ego. It was about how he wanted to finish what he has started here, how his family loves Louisville and the relationships he has built up with his players, staff and town.

I'm beginning to like this guy even more than when he was hired.

Looks like Cardinal football is in good shape, we can move on to the next drama.

Jeff Walz's new look.



  1. Congratulations Louisville on keeping your coach Strong. Would have loved to had him here at UT but you have to admire a man who sticks up for his principals and commitments. Wish you well.

    Tennessee Jed

    1. Yay! Charlie! Go get a Sugar Bowl win!


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