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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Cards have guards...but is the front line ready? -- Thursday Cardinal Couple


 ( Today's CARDINAL COUPLE column is a commentary about the upcoming 2015-16 women's basketball squad. It is a speculative look at what we might see on the court this fall and winter...and the views expressed here are pretty much Paulie's and should be observed as just that...)

I was talking with a CARDINAL COUPLE reader a few days ago...actually about another UofL women's sport...when she raised this question about women's basketball: 

Where is the rebounding coming from? 

It is a good question. With the graduation of Shawnta' ,Sara and Sherrone...a lot of rebounding last year for Louisville has walked out the door for Jeff Walz's "Derby City Dozen".

Here's what we know in terms of returnees. Cortnee Walton is expected back after sitting most of last year with a foot injury. Walton has shown rebounding prowess in her previous years here...but questions remain on whether she can go 25-30 minutes a night over a probable 35-40 game schedule. 

Emmonnie Henderson is also in that row boat. Add the penchant for "E" for drawing referee's whistles, and you wonder if she can evolve into a player that can give the team 20-25 minutes of solid rebounding and steady defense. We know she can score...but scorers don't seem to be a problem with this year's edition of Cards.

Myisha Hines-Allen returns after a productive times...spectacular freshman season. She has the talent, size and skills to give Walz double-doubles every night. We'd like to see her intensity level increase, though. Put an Angel McCoughtry's determination and will-to-win in Myshia's mind-set and you have a deadly force to reckon with and a potential All-American. 

Sydney Brackemyer is the "X" factor...because we've never really seen what she can do on the college level. She cam in as a player that had all "all-over-the-court" skills on the high school level. Can she become a Candyce Bingham type and attack the paint with purpose when rebounds are needed? 

Add to this mix two highly ranked but yet unproven freshman in Sam Fuehring and Erin DeGrate. They have size, wonderful high-school resumes and have shown the ability to work inside and gather missed shots. Will that translate over to the college game. Is there a Sara Hammond or Asia Taylor in either of these two? 

Rebounding, of course, is a five-player responsibility. Jude Schimmel had a knack for coming up with rebounding numbers that would make you scratch your head and wonder how the smallest player on the court was out-rebounding the 6'2" and 6'3" designed board grabbers. It was all about the positioning and anticipation of the ball location. 

Mariya Moore can mix it up from the wing to the paint as well as anyone in the country. We'll soon know if the three guards coming in and Arica Carter can do what they will be needed to do on this team. They'll be expected to grab their share of missed shots. 

And, with the mad scientist at the helm of the ship, they're always the possibility we might see another player or two join the roster. With the recent plethora of player's transferring lately, anything is possible. 

Can Cortnee become an Asia? 
In staying with what we know, however, we expect to see Walton, Hines-Allen and Henderson as the main "4" and "5" performers at first. We'd be pleased and excited to see the freshmen and/or Brackemyer turn in significant minutes as paint-dwellers. Let's not forget this grim fact. Injuries happen with the "bigs". Players need to be ready to step up if they do. I shudder when I look back at the number of injuries on Louisville's front line over the past 5-6 years that Walz has had to compensate for. Dyer, Taylor, Walton, Vails...just to name a few. 

Louisville will have plenty of guards/wings to create offense. Moore, Durr, Cole, Jones, Carter...all of these back court players are 20 points a night potential. Add a guard or two and you may just have the best young guard contingent in the nation. They'll definitely be the most exciting with the flamboyant Durr and Cole.  We'll discuss guards down the road here. 

Rebounding? It's a team effort, obviously... but your "bigs" are the catalysts. A duo of Hines-Allen and Walton could be very prolific and successful if they come ready to assume the crown and control the paint. 



  1. Great piece Paulie. We're gonna need the bigs you call out to step up next season. Agree 100% with you on the issue of height not being as big a deal as many folks make it when it comes to rebounding. I'd rather have a shorter athletic kid that can box out, get to the ball and hit the outlet pass than the "prototype ideal" WCBB big that is 6"3"+ but isn't very mobile, does't box out and doesn't have much of a vertical.

    In roundball being tall is always better than the alternative but I think rebounding in particular is a matter of the coaching team making it a high priority for their club.

    To me the really good news is that we'll be able to hit from outside next year and won't have our guards forcing the ball inside and getting snuffed by our opponents bigs just because we can't hit a jumper. With Walz's track record of coaching to his talent pool I'm thinking we'll be OK but it should be fun to see how they get it done.

  2. Walz has shooters but he likes 'makers'. I do believe he has a few now. My favorite height vs. skills scenario was several years ago when Mich. St played Kentucy in NCAA first round action at Freedom Hall. MSU had 6'7" Alyssa DeHawn...who was absolutely ruled and dominated by 6'1" Vicoria Dunlap from UK.

    Give me a great 6'1" with skills anytime over a marginal 6'7" or 6'5"


  3. Paulie, if you had to pick the top 5 for the ACC right now who would they be ?
    Here's mine
    1. Florida St (lost Conwright everyone else returns plus Spanish connection of Conde and Romero. They have 5 international players on roster)
    2. Duke (Angela Salvadores is game changer)
    3. Notre Dame (we have a chance to beat them this year without Lloyd)
    4. Louisville
    5. NC

  4. Cortnee Walton will have a big impact and possibly even have a monster year on the boards. DeGrate and Sam F are not close to being ready for college ball which is typical for young bigs. Conditioning is going to be a huge factor for DeGrate. Somehow she dropped to #99 from low 40's on Hoopgurlz. Not good.


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