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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Louisville Women's Basketball Luncheon -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


Monday's Louisville women's basketball luncheon at the Downtown Louisville Marriott brought the players to the fans for a nearly two hour regalia of sights, sounds, speakers and a chance for Cardinal fans to get officially "in the mood" for the 2017-18 season. This yearly event has changed venues several times since I've been attending...several hotels, the KFC YUM! Center floor and other venues. I like the Marriott and hope it remains there. 

Go Cards Go! 
A capacity crowd packed the second floor hotel ballroom to hear Coach Walz and see the team on a rainy, blustery morning/afternoon in Louisville. The climate inside the Marriott was far from that as fans mingled and greeted each other while purchasing Cardinal women's basketball gear and also signing up for a drawing for a signed basketball and player official jersey. Sonya and I arrived early and got the chance to greet a few friends and readers in the lobby before the proceedings began. We talked briefly with women's basketball Nick Evans when we first arrived. Always a busy man...Nick was obviously excited about his first ever UofL WBB luncheon. Also keeping a mindful eye on the event was SID Kenny Klein

We also got a chance to hear acting Athletic Director Vince Tyra and head coach Jeff Walz talk with the media and answer questions before the luncheon. Tyra was first...he had attended a 6 a.m. practice Monday and was full of pep and excitement as he discussed the team, the big win over Florida State in football (which he attended in Talhassee) and his first few days on the job at the University. I have interspersed these interviews throughout today's article, along with pictures from the luncheon. You'll need Sound Cloud to hear them hear...or you can wait until Saturday's Cardinal Couple to hear them.


Walz answered several questions about the preseason practices, how the team was performing and various other questions from several television news stations and a vast array of writers, journalists and radio personalities. Our buddies Howie Lindsey, Daryl Foust, Paige Sherrard...who we do radio with...were present, along with about 10-12 other media members. 


The show/production/luncheon got underway with the inimitable Sean Moth at the dais and he began by introducing the players and bringing them to stage...beginning with the freshmen and ending with senior Myisha Hines-Allen. Noticeably absent from the introductions was Dana Evans...but it was explained after all girls reached the stage that she was still in class and would arrive shortly. It was also noticeable that sophomore Kylee Shook was in a walking boot...Walz explained later that it was just a precautionary move for a slight stress fracture. 

Moth is a master at what he does (public address and emcee skills today) and also pointed out acting men's basketball coach David Padgett was here (as he walked in during the introductions). After the team was introduced, Chris Morgan...FCA chaplain for the UofL athletic department delivered the invocation and the attendees began to eat after that. 

Sonya and Daryl Foust
The conversation was light and easy at our media table...which included Lindsey, Foust, Sherrard, Sonya, a couple of TV and newspaper sports personalities and me. Howie shared a few Florida State stories (he was the sideline reporter for the football game Louisville won down there Saturday) and Paige and I caught up on how things were going. The food was surprisingly good this year...a tasty, multi-ingredient salad with warm bread got it started nd the entree was a cornish hen quarter with green beans and mashed potatoes with gravy. Dessert consisted of a piece each of a delicious fudge and raspberry tart. 

As the plates of food were being finished and collected, Moth introduced a couple of videos documenting Asia Durr's journey to make the USA National team and her and Myisha's trip to compete for the USA U23 squad. Good stuff there. Then, the speakers began. First up was Tyra..who warmed up the crowd by revealing his conversation with Walz on how long he should speak. 

"About the length of a 30 section timeout" was Walz's teasing response, which drew a round of laughter from the attendees. 

One interesting point of Tyra's talk was when he mentioned Dr. Greg Postel, acting UofL President was in attendance. The boos were very audible among the attendees.

JC "No periods" Sullivan in the house with her friend
Terry Milner. . L's UP !!!!
Moth then brought Asia Durr and Myisha Hines-Allen to the stage and went through a brief "question and answer" period with them. Asia got the crowd chuckling when she responded to questions. When asked how practice was going she quipped: 

"We run a lot". 

She also drew a few laughs when responding to a query on what she thought about the squad this year. With perfect timing she commented. 

"Hmmm...I could say we're...talented." 

Myisha was next and Asia stayed on stage with her "as a sign of teammate support". Myisha is "ready to go show it on the court" and also revealed to the crowd that her brother Josh Allen leads the UK football team in quarterback sacks this season but "wears red when he comes to see me play or visit." Given the state of the Cardinals' grid-iron defense, one has to wonder why didn't he end up in a Cardinal football uniform? 

Sonya ends up with all the good lookin' guys...
Walz, naturally, was the keynote and final speaker. He may have surprised a few attendees when he came out and praised Tom Jurich. He revealed: 

"11 years ago, I had breakfast at this very same Marriott and met with Tom about the job. Tom sold me on Louisville, the city and university, not himself or the program." 

Walz also reiterated he's in it for the long haul with Louisville women's basketball, commented that he hoped to retire from here or, jokingly, "get fired from here." 

He spoke of each player as well. Some highlights were that Sam Fuehring has been the most impressive this year in practice, as far as growth and skills from last year go. He teasingly mentioned that Jaz Jones had learned that to throw the ball to her teammates this season and that she wasn't receiving assists when errant passes to the opposition led to baskets. Dana Evans has impressed him with her strength and quickness as a freshment...Coach compared her to Louisville great Patrika Barlow. Coach also talked about Arica can hear those comments below. After introducing and thanking his assistant coaches and his staff, Walz mentioned that the first game was November 10th. and encouraged the fans to come out. 


We spent time after the luncheon chatting with quite a few people, including my radio and website colleague Jeff McAdams and his mother Vivian and Nick voice of the women's basketball games.  


My pal Dick Palmer with Sonya
I also got my traditional post-luncheon chat in with assistant coach Sam Purcell and we reviewed a number of subjects..including the Atlanta Falcons and who would win in a free throw shooting contest between us.


As we left, I got a chance to chat up Myisha, Loretta Kakala and Sydney Zambrotta in the lobby. A fun interview with them ensued. Myisha...the guard. 


Paulie talks with Syd and Myisha
(Thanks Sue for the pic!) 
This annual event is always one I look forward and we had a great time with a great group of Cardinal fans, student-athletes, friends and fellow media members.

It was needed yesterday...especially after the negativity and innuendo surrounding the UofL Athletic program lately. A chance for fans to feel positive and show some enthusiasm and pride. 

We are Cardinals, we are strong and you can't keep us down or break our stride. We will rise. 

It's time...let's get this party started and play ball !!




  1. Good stuff, Paulie. We weren't able to get to the luncheon this time so your reporting is much appreciated.

    Can't wait for the season to start. We have our tickets for the doubleheader in Columbus on November 12. That should be an afternoon of great basketball.

  2. Thank you, Mike! Always one of my favorite events of the year and it didn't disappoint this year. I'll be headed to Columbus as well for media coverage and a great afternoon of college hoops!


  3. The Bird Lady10/24/2017 2:30 PM

    Great write up about my favorite event of the year. I will be in,Columbus on the 12th and I know we will back there come April. #GoCards

    1. As my pal from Handicapping Heroes Archie likes to say:

      "from your lips to God's ears."

      Go Cards!


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