Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Louisville women's basketball 2/3rds of the way through the regular season -- Wednesday Cardinal Couple
20 down...10 to go. After a slow start, Cards ready to go. PAULIE COMMENTARY
( Notes scribbled from the end zone in the KFC YUM! Center while trying to see over photographers, ball girls and Dee Kanter)
Leave it to Sonja to state the obvious. We were looking at the upcoming UofL women's basketball schedule and determining how many of the six remaining home games she would be able to attend (the answer is three, in case you were playing at home) and she looks at me and says:
"The regular season is 2/3rds. over. You've got six more chances to get a media guide for the 2015-16 season."
It's an inside joke. In our early days of covering UofL women's basketball...it would be in the mail to me or waiting for me when I attended the first game. It's a great reference for articles fact-checking. Over the last couple of years, they've become as rare to obtain as a mercury dime or the Great White Buffalo.
I should probably attend an away game and pick one up from their media table. I'm still a "print guy" when it comes to certain things...a fact my esteemed cohort Jeff McAdams chuckles at when I show up at the radio station with scads of papers to help me through the broadcast. He can get the same information with a few clicks and tabs.
The story is intended to point out that you should never take anything for granted and sometimes you have to speak up for what you want. Pesky is better than un-provided.
Two thirds of the way through...
It surely doesn't seem like it. 10 games away from Greensboro and the ACC Tournament and then, barring a collapse of epic proportions, the NCAA Tournament.
That train that sputtered out of the station shortly after Veterans Day last year (coincidental, since the Cards had very few veterans returning) has gotten back on track and is rolling under a full head of steam toward the month of February. 12 wins in a row, seven in January and...if the Cards can roll past Clemson and Wake Forest...it would be only the second time a UofL women's basketball team has gone undefeated in January. The 2013-14 squad pulled it off and that squad also has the record of 16 wins in a row that the Cards have a legitimate shot at.
One only player remains on the squad from that Final Four team. Squads, like seasons, change. Memories remain. Ah, the tales I'm sure "Grandma" Walton could tell.
All of this is great stuff and wonderful accomplishments but the trip is far from over. Jeff Walz wants a deep run in the NCAA each year. He hopes to eventually again have a squad that will replace either UConn or Notre Dame in the NCAA Finals. You can spend time reflecting on yourself and your path in the rear view mirror and risk running off the road you're currently travelling on. The focus needs to be, and certainly is...from what I've heard...on the next game. And then the game after that. And so on and so forth.
This one-step-at-a-time, one-day-at-a-time philosophy is sound, proven and wise...but it doesn't quite fit the bill in today's ' I-need-it-ALL-NOW-AND QUICKLY' society that our young adults champion. Our technological advances can provide me with the capital of Maine or how many points Shelby Harper scored against DePaul on Jan. 10th, 2010 in nano-seconds...but it provides nothing in terms of patience, hard work or goal-setting.
If you want it, you need to work for it. A couple of clicks may provide you the answer to the question...but it doesn't automatically complete the task. Sweat equity works. Technology can provide a coach with video of how many times a player failed to pick up a switch in the past 30 games very easily...but will it make the player avoid the miscue in game 31?
Louisville has seen some amazing things in these first twenty games. The agony and disappointment of starting 1-4 when everyone looking in was seeing the Cards as the eighth best team in NCAA WBB. The improbable but so exciting comeback against IUPUI. Going to Michigan State and winning. Knocking aside Florida State, Duke and Syracuse as easily as throwing a 16 pound ball at ten bowling pins three feet away. The continued excellence of the M&M girls, the delightful surprises of B.J., Asia, Cortnee and Arica. The growth of the freshmen and the sheer joy of watching Dakota Weatherford snapping at the heels in attack Yorkie fashion of larger opponents.
What will the next ten bring? No app or laptop can provide that answer. Hard work, staying humble and hungry and leaving it all on the court each day in practice and on those nights when you're under the spotlight will. There is no shame is losing when you have brought all you can to the battle. Given the armaments of this current squad...they've gone from a sling-shot to a Patriot missile. Can they "drop the big one" by season's end, though? How big an explosion will this team create?
It's time to take care of the rest of the trip, seal the deal and stay on the tracks. Indianapolis is a mere two hours away and there's going to be some pretty exciting stuff going on up there in early April. Might be a fun trip....dressed in red and being one of four survivors.
Believe in yourself, Cardinal women's basketball players...as the clip below says...