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Sunday, February 2, 2020

Cardinal Couple Sunday - USA Gameday

Gameday for USA

It's gameday for WBB in a game that's totally meaningless.

OK, that's true from the perspective that it's an exhibition match.  The result shouldn't impact NCAA tournament seedings (I won't say it absolutely won't, because who knows what goes through the minds of those committee members), it won't count for conference tournament seedings, or even for any official overall win-lose record.

This is a big time chance to show off women's basketball in the city of Louisville, however, and a great opportunity for our Cardinals, and our National Team, to sharpen their skills and prepare for tournaments ahead.  So I don't think it's really fair to say it's meaningless, it just doesn't count in any official records.

There will be an amazing set of players on the court today at the KFC Yum! Center.  Our usual crew, lead by Kylee Shook, Bionca Dunham, Dana Evans, and Jaz Jones, but down on the other bench...just, wow.

Of course, Angel McCoughtry will be back in action in Louisville for the first time since she graduated and the first time in competition since a knee injury side-lined her, and the all-star lead cast of the US National team with Sue Bird, Tina Charles, Breanna Stewart, and Diana Taurasi will be there.

I almost feel terrible singling out the above as the big names, as the whole roster is jam packed with big names.  Layshia Clarendon, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Sylvia Fowles, Chelsea Gray, Kayla McBride, Nneka Ogwumike, Kelsey Plum, and A'ja Wilson.

How do you scout against a team like that?  *shrug*  "Stop everyone."  Of course, Jeff Walz will have a better plan than that, I'm sure.

Very few people really expect Louisville to win this one, because, let's face it, we're playing against the top players in the world...well, the national team is missing Elena Della Donne at the moment as she recovers from minor back surgery, but nonetheless, this is the cream of the crop worldwide.  It's not an impossible task, though.  Let's not forget that Oregon came out victorious against a very similar roster earlier in the season, and the Cards do hold a win over Oregon, so it's kind of like we've already won this game, right?

Like I said above, this is a time for Louisville to shine, to learn, and get some amazing experience, and some amazing experiences.  The National Team is playing a series of the top college teams to sharpen their skills as they head into future tournaments, including the Olympics this summer.  It's an honor, really, for Louisville to be picked as an opponent for the National Team to play against as it amounts to a statement that this Louisville team is a worthwhile opponent for these National Team players to go out and play and be able to benefit from the competition.  That's high praise, indeed.

Of course, it also is a showcase for women's basketball.  High profile games that can drive high attendance, and there's a good chance this could be the highest attendance game for Louisville all regular season, and give Women's basketball a chance to shine on the biggest stages.

Oh, and mentioning those stages, this one is being carried on the flagship of the four letter  sports network's channels.  There's no "2", no "3", no "U" at the end of the name this time, the 800 pound gorilla of sports programming, ESPN, will be carrying this game.

Imagine a random sports fan looking for something to watch this afternoon before heading off to a Super Bowl Party, what channel will they start with?  Probably the one showing the Louisville women's basketball team against the US National Team.  Random sports fan may get to see the beauty and joy of a Jazzy Oop, maybe see Dana Evans drop another set of seven 3pt shots or more, perhaps Kylee Shook will take the record for most blocked shots in a season for UofL (currently 59 by Yuliya Tokova)...ok, I don't think that last one can officially be done since this game is just an exhibition, but it's possible that it could be accomplished in spirit, at least.

UofL currently lists Shook at 56...she'll undoubtedly get there by the end of the year, of course, but how neat would it be to at least symbolically reach it during this game?  By the way, 2nd place in that stat is Angel McCoughtry with 56.

The game starts at 2pm, doors open early today at 12:45.  The pre-game "festivities" will start earlier as well today, with the national anthem, full team lineups (sounds like it's not just starters getting announced today) and probably some other niceties starting at 1:45, a full 15 minutes before tip-off.

If you have a parking pass for garages, they are being honored for this game, which is a pleasant change from the original communication that went out to season ticket holders.

Be sure to check back with us here at Cardinal Couple Monday for a recap of the exhibition and as many Jared Anderson photos as we can crowd into the article. 

Man, I am so excited for this game.  It's meaningless, but it also carries so much meaning with it, and I expect it to just be a lot of fun.


Yes, the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast was Missing In Action yesterday due to scheduling challenges.  We do expect to be back with you next week.  Keep an eye on the site for updates for times.



  1. We're starting our Super Bowl Party early if people invited want to come over and watch USA v UofL. We do have around six "Cardinal Couples" invited, plus others.

    You guys do a wonderful job here and you truly encompass the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports.

    Play well and Have Fun Cardinals !

    The Real Joe Hill

  2. I was also pleased that Coach Walz announced that every healthy player will get a chance to be in the game. It is so much more than win/lose.


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