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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Louisville women's basketball -- Jared Anderson's report -- WEDNESDAY CARDINALCOUPLE


I attended the Chili’s Jeff Walz radio show last night.  Unfortunately, Coach Walz seems to have caught the flu from the rest of his family and could not make it.  Instead, Sam Williams  and Adrienne Johnson joined Nick Curran on the mics. Per their discussion I got a few things from attending the event and listening to the discussion among the dozens of fans in attendance.

This team is similar to the Final Four teams of the past. The 2009 squad had Angel McCoughty and Candyce Bingham as the big playmakers. 2013 had Shoni Schimmel and Sara Hammond. This year has Asia Durr and Myisha Hines-Allen. The duo matches up with similar style play of the other pairs.

Like other successful seasons this year’s team has a quite impressive defense. They found ways to shut down opponents, either throughout entire games or in second half adjustments to win games.  Even the loss to Florida State showed solid defensive pressure. They held the Seminoles to just 50 points and kept the game close despite the poor offensive outing.

Coach Williams and AJ discussed recently about how we often view success of players. Many fans look at points scored as a scale of success. They don’t look at other factors in a game such as rebounding, assists, and defense. Dana Evans and Arica Carter have learned to control the ball well and dish out assists all game. MHA and Bionca Dunham haul in boards on both sides of the court. Jaz Jones and Sam Fuehring bring intense energy. "Nite-Nite" lights up the scoring almost every game. Myisha Hines-Allen may be the rest rebounder in women's college basketball and brings offense almost every outing. As a team, everyone plays great defense. Each player brings something to the table. This is a highly successful squad. In many realms. 

Coach Walz is fortunate to have a solid rotation of players. There’s about eight or nine different players he can feel comfortable logging major minutes and still find ways to maintain a lead or expand on it. That goes back to each player being able to contribute something to the game, as mentioned in the previous paragraph.

Louisville has one of the best fan bases in the country. 10,000+ fans in three straight games is not something you’ll find at most major women’s basketball programs. The large attendance numbers play a key role in recruiting. Having a sold out lower bowl of fans on their feet creating an intimidating atmosphere for opponents and is encouraging as a player to have a fan base behind them. When recruits witness this in person it can help sell Louisville as their choice for college. The question arises -- would you rather play in front of 1,000 or 10,000? Opposing teams come to Louisville and their coaches almost always mention the incredible attendance during their post-game interviews. 

Another topic that came up recently is the lack of interest in women’s basketball as a whole. 

Louisville is one of the better bases for women’s basketball but there’s still a big gap between 21,000+ average for men’s basketball and anywhere from 6,000-12,000 at women’s basketball. Possibly the biggest factor contributing to the lack of interest is the lack of competition.

UConn has dominated the realm of collegiate women’s basketball since Geno first took over as head coach. It’s always been “Everyone vs UConn” with the Huskies almost being guaranteed another undefeated season or national championship and everyone else battling for second place. However, that gap is closing. South Carolina, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, and Louisville have all found their way up there. The Bulldogs upset UConn in the Final Four last year. The Irish took the Huskies to the mid-fourth quarter before struggling down the stretch.

Other teams are getting better. Having more than one team having a good chance at claiming the title will attract interest and having half a dozen teams all battling it out to the death (not literally) will spark interest.

It’s safe to say I got a lot out of the discussion among the fans at Chili's. I doubt I’ll get that much each time I’m in attendance but seeing the turnout and support gives me confidence the Louisville women’s basketball fan base will continue to grow. It also appears that the program is going to continue to improve as the years progress.

On a closing note it has been offered that if Louisville lost one more regular season game but won the ACC Tournament and NCAA Tournament that the championship would be Coach Walz’s 300th program victory. I did some research and math to test this theory and here’s the results:

* 263 wins through 2016-17 season
* 22 wins in 2017-18 season up to date
* 8 regular season games remaining
* 3 potential games in ACC Tournament as top four seed
* 6 potential games in NCAA Tournament, seeding doesn’t matter

302 potential wins for Jeff Walz if Louisville wins out. So, the theory was incredibly close.

One  regular season loss would give Jeff Walz his 300th in the Final Four. Two regular season losses would make it 300 in the championship if everything else played out. However, there’s the ifs of winning in the ACC and NCAA Tournaments and what-not with a few different scenarios.

 I’ll hit on that more on Friday. The good thing is that we could easily see Jeff Walz’s 300th career win before the year is over. If not, it will happen at the beginning of next season.

Enjoy your Wednesday and Go Cards!



  1. Playing as a team. I think it was the top vote getter in a recent poll on your site. That's what UofL WBB does so well. Are they Final Four quality? That's an interesting question.

    Let's look at the competition. UConn certainly is worthy. So are Mississippi State, Baylor, Notre Dame, South Carolina. Throw in a "surprise team" , and there are a few of those to consider, so it will be tough but not impossible to get to Columbus.

    I think you have to look at the upcoming UConn game from a few different angles. Certainly, we would all love to see the WBB squad go to Storrs and win. But, if it doesn't happen, it isn't the end of the world. We know how good the Huskies are. How we perform against them and the type of game it is should give us a lot to speculate. Does Louisville jump out to a huge lead and then struggle? Do they struggle early and fight their way back into it? Will it be a close, back and forth contest? How will Asia and Myisha perform against the Huskies?

    I know, there are three tough contest before the Feb. 12th match up. But, I think most of us fans are looking ahead to the game. It will serve as a indicator on just how strong Louisville actually is. I'm guessing the team is one-game at a time minded. Down Virginia, Syracuse and Clemson first.

    I haven't been to Chili's in quite some time. An unfortunate incident last time. Took a few days to recover from some bad something I ordered is what I figure.

    The Deb Factor

  2. So, I heard this on the show last night. I think it may have been our own Jared Anderson that offered it.

    What has four letters, sometimes has nine letters but never has five letters

    Fire away, readers. It's easier than you think.


    1. You gave us the answer. What has four letters. Sometimes has nine letters. Never has five letters.

    2. Anonymous, you are correct. It’s a riddle to keep folks occupied for a little. The trick is to put a “.” at the end of the sentence instead of the normal “?”. People often overlook the punctuation in riddles, which can often help decider them.

  3. For what it's worth, I'd say Durr/MHA > McCoughtry/Bingham > Schimmel/Hammond. And it's not even close because MHA (who is co-#1 with Durr) is so much more valuable than either Bingham (clear #2 in 2008-2009) or Hammond (one of several #2 options in 2012-2013).

    UConn 2008-2009 had a sophomore named Maya Moore. UConn 2012-2013 had a freshman named Breanna Stewart. UConn 2017-2018 has the normal complement of good-to-great players but as of yet I don't see a Moore or Stewart on the roster.

    So there is certainly hope....with lots of games yet to be played.

    1. It also has probably more high level players than any of Geno's teams ever. A case can be made that 6-7 on the current roster will have their names up on the Husky wall of honor eventually.

  4. Did you wear the frog costume?

  5. I forbid any mention of "that" mascot here! It scares me.


  6. Any team can be beaten on any given day! They meaning UConn are a great team ...but so d
    Are we! We have plenty of talent and everyone has to play hard! I'm a believer! Go cards!

  7. MHA & AD Louisville best inside out duo in cards History.
    With A great supporting cast. However the 2012-13 team had the X factor a great stretch 4 four.
    Go Cards!

    Go Cards!

    1. The 2012-13 team was load I forgot Monique Reid to.

    2. oops loaded

  8. Not sure it can be said the gap is closing with UConn. They are still the best team by a good margin according to every metric. They've won 175 of 177 games with the two losses coming in overtime, games in which they played very poorly. They have a +36 point differential this year playing a top-5 schedule.


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