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Thursday, October 6, 2016

WBB holds first Fall practice...WSOC prepares for NC State tonight -- THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


We're excited about the season, how
bout you?" 
Jeff Walz and his coaching staff took the 15 players on the University of Louisville women's basketball team through a fast-paced practice Wednesday in Cardinal Arena...the first of the pre-season practices that will ultimately lead to the season opener at UT Martin on Friday, November 11th. 

37 days to work on rebounding, moves in the paint, shooting, defense and chemistry. Myisha Hines-Allen knows the drill: 

"Being pre-season ranked second, we know that we have to go hard. We have that target on our back. Teams are going to want to beat us. Last year, we had a target but it wasn't as big as this. We have to go out at the beginning and show teams that we deserved to be ranked #2 in the country." 

A target that has eight returning players from the 26-8 squad from 2015-16 that went 15-1 in the ACC. Add in six freshmen and a fifth-year player and the Cards will be looking to dodge the bullets early on. 

Fifth-year Taylor Johnson commented on the first day: 

" Practice today went really well. We did a lot of scrimmaging and worked on our defense. There was a lot of up and down because Coach [Walz] wants us to play a really fast-paced game. I saw a lot of good things today." 
Will Paulie grow the beard back this winter? Too early to tell...

And, it is a roster that appears to be built for speed and transition. It is way too early in the process to start pointing out spectacular players and we'll skip over that and get to the heart of the matter. 

Chemistry. Not the chemistry that some of the student-athletes may take as a class with lab coats and test tubes...but the chemistry that exists between the players. The unified goal of 15 individuals. Being on the same page and in the same direction. 

Chemistry thwarted this team early last season and the first two weeks of the season and the 1-4 start brought that out. It is a lesson that the "mad scientist" learned well from and he's made this year's lesson plan and directive quite clear. 

"Go hard 100% of the time. That's how you will earn playing time." 

She'll be keeping tabs on WBB in Aussie-land
A quite simple and singular goal. Outwork the opponent. You'll win nine times out of ten if you do. You can see early signs of it. Spirited one-on-one battles in drills. The rapid responses to instructions. 

I have no idea who will start or finish games this year for the Cards WBB squad. I do know that whoever it is...and it will probably vary a bit in the early going I would imagine...won't be out there on reputation or prior statistics. It will be because of the work ethic. 

37 days to establish, show and convince...before they start keeping score and stats. Not for the timid, lackadaisical or negative. Plenty of people waiting to get their chance in the limelight. It is battle, survival the same, consistency and growth. 

Things we know, based on the first day. Jazmine Jones is as fast and athletic as advertised. Myisha Hines-Allen can make shots. Jessica Laemmle has one speed...full throttle. Cortnee Walton is still deadly on the boards. Bionca Dunham has some very nice moves in the paint. Asia Durr is back to 100% and opponents should be very afraid of that. Teena Murray has this sports performance training thing down to a "T". Jeff Walz will not hesitate in telling you what he likes and dislikes. Ciera Johnson is strong in the paint. 

Louisville may be a target this year. can't capture what you can't catch or contain. 



A battle of top 25 squads tonight at 7 p.m. in Lynn Stadium when #24 NC State comes to town to hit the pitch against #21 Louisville. 

The Cards (7-3-2, 2-1-1) are playing their fourth straight top 25 opponent....having gone 1-1-1 in the sequence so far. NC State is 9-3-0 and 3-1-0 in the ACC. They downed Boston College 1-0 last time out...a school the Cards came from behind to beat 3-2 back on Sept. 25th. 

NC State, like Louisville, is getting a notable freshman fantastic participation this year...with Tziarra King leading them in scoring. Fellow first-year players Ricarda Walklin and Michaella van Mannen join her at mid-field for a young but aggressive attack force. 

Louisville will look to their stellar defense...that has allowed just 10 goals in 12 games this year to keep the Wolf Pack from blowing the house down. Offensively, the Cards will look to the freshmen flashes Brooklynn Rivers, Sarah Feola and Allison Whitfield to create breakaways and find the net. 

It should be a fun one tonight on Floyd Street. ACC Network Extra will have the feed in case you can't attend. 



  1. Nice piece on practice. It is way too early to tell, I agree, on who will be the major players on this 2016-17 team. I'll guess it may be hard to bump most of the starters out of their roles from LY but, as you probably saw, there is soooo much talent on this squad. The Deb Factor

  2. Wow coach walz rotations are going to be crazy he's going to come up with some mad scheme. I can't wait.

  3. For give me , but Geno Auriemma & Muffet McGraw always had a good rotations and a deep bench.

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