We report on the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports here. Thanks for checking us out! Click the picture of Louie to hear the latest Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast!!

Monday, November 30, 2020



In a return of former Cardinal assistant and now EKU head coach Samantha Williams, the University of Louisville women's basketball team also  returned to the KFC YUM Center (after being away for almost eight months) and it was a joyous reunion for Jeff Walz's squad as they handled the visiting EKU Colonels by 43 points in a 101-58 win. 

There is a chemistry developing between guards Dana Evans and Hailey Van Lith and it was on display yesterday afternoon , as the two had 20 points each. Van Lith also had 11 rebounds and Evans added seven assists for the Caards in their second game of the season . Two other reached double figure scoring -- Olivia Cochran contributed 15 points and "E" (Elizabeth Balogun) totaled 12. 

If EKU head coach Samantha Williams game plan involved "zoning up" on the Cards to make they try and beat her squad from the outside, she had to witness Louisville making 14 threes (from five different players) in the 40 minutes of action. Van Lith and Balogun accounted for nine of the beyond the arc makes -- and when the Cards weren't bombing the lights out from the deep, they were forcing EKU into 20 turnovers  and creating 13 steals. 

If Louisville WBB choSe to adopt the old Tom Cruise (from the movie Top Gun) phrase of "I feel the need for speed" you could hardly blame them. The team was relentless in pushing the ball down the court against EKU to get 44 points-in-the-paint and using a "team rebounding" strategy by hustling for 58 rebounds (compared to EKU's 29). 

And it was a variety of player combinations getting it done for UofL. All 11 who dressed for the game saw at least 12 minutes and no one saw more than 27 (Van Lith).. 

The Cards started the contest with Evans, Van Lith, Ahlana Smith, Cochran and Balogun on the court for the second straight game and scored first with a Van Lith three off a Evans feed just 54 seconds into the contest and jumped out to a 5-0 lead. EKU was playing with a lot of intensity, though, and limited Louisville to just 17 first quarter points (after allowing IU to score 34 first-quarter points in their season opener.)   In all fairness, Louisville played 10 players in the first 10 minutes and were just starting to jell.


The production really took off in the second quarter. UofL went on a 12-0 run to begin the second quarter. Threes from Balogun and Van Lith keyed the run and Louisville stayed hot -- racing out to a 35-14 lead with 5:14 left in the first half. They led 42-20 with 1:35 left in the quarter, off a Liz Dixon score in the paint, and took a 43-26 lead into the half time locker room. All 11 Cardinals had seen at least seven minutes in the first half and all 11 had scored, Van Lith (11) and Evans (10) were already in double figures. Louisville had upped their shooting percentage to 42% 

The domination continued in the third quarter. Smith began the scoring in the second half with a three and built the lead to 28 points midway through the third quarter at 56-28 after a pair of successful Cochran free throws. EKU looked tired and Merissah Russell sparked UofL the rest of the quarter with a couple of steals and baskets to build the Cards lead to 68-39 going into the fourth quarter, 

The foot stayed on the accelerator for Walz squad in the fourth quarter. A Van Lith three started the UofL scoring in the final period. Interesting stat: Louisville's first points in each quarter came from threes. The Cards steadily built upon the lead and Evans got the crowd very fired up when she sank back-to-back threes with 5:28 to play to set the tally at 87-49. A Balogun layup pushed the margin to 40 after a EKU timeout and the teams pretty much traded baskets the rest of the way...the Cards reached their biggest lead of the game at 99-54 after a Norika Konno layup in the paint. Dixon put Louisville over the century mark with a second to go and the Cards took the "W" with the 101-58 final. 

Louisville shot 38-83 from the floor for 45.8% and made 14 of their 36 three-point attempts (38.9%). They held EKU to 33.9% (19-56) from the floor and the Colonels were just 6-23 from beyond the arc for 26.1%. 

Besides the four Cardinal double figure scorers, Ahlana Smith had nine points, Dixon and Konno ended with six points each (Dixon with eight rebounds), Nyah Green finished with five points, Russell with four and Myjasa Robinson and Ramani Parker two points each. 


(Fred Rogers would have approved. It WAS a beautiful day in the neighborhood for Cardinal hoops Sunday ! )  

FREE THROWS -- UofL went 11-15 from the line for 73.3%. Cochran led the way for the second straight game with 5-6 shooting efficiency. Our Fred standards for a capital letter are 70% or better, so we'll grant a CAPITAL "F" here for charity stripe success. 

REBOUNDING -- I'm really beginning to like this "rebounding by committee" concept the Cards are employing. It was good for a 58-29 advantage over the Colonels. We've already mentioned Van Lith's 11 and Cochran's eight...but another of the Cards "almost attack Yorkies" -- the 5'7"" Mykasa Robinson had seven grabs in 20 minutes. I'll throw the CAPITAL "R" letter up in the air here and watch "Kasa" race to retrieve it. 

EFFICIENCY/EXECUTION -- The Cards had just 13 turnovers and I'll take that in the second game of the year. No one fouled out, either. 23 assists on 38 made shots isn't pretty impressive as well. The Cards dominated the points-in-the-paint 44-24.  High speed on the court usually has high risk/reward possibilities, but, the Cards didn't miss too many opportunities to create and score and it wasn't sloppy at all. I'll gladly offer a CAPITAL "E" for the effort Sunday. 

DEFENSE -- Louisville forced 20 turnovers, only four fast break points, created 13 steals and allowed just 33.9% shooting. 23 points scored off those turnovers as well. I could go on-and-on about the defensive effort,  but. OOPS!! Balogun just stole any further accolades from me and yelled "Give us a CAPITAL "D", Paulie" on her way to the that's what I'll do. 


All in all, this was a feel good, easy-to-watch, complimenting and convincing win for the Cards. Let's celebrate them while they're still able to be obtained and relish each one. They're "getting in some, at the YUM" and let's hope that continues...given the pandemic is not showing any sign of slowing down. 



Sunday, November 29, 2020

Sunday Cardinal Couple - WBB Home Opener vs EKU

 Home Opener

Women's Basketball will welcome a reduced number of fans to the KFC Yum! Center today for the first time since competition was canceled in March.  Eastern Kentucky will be the foe on the court with a head coach who is very familiar with the Cards gameplay and personnel.

Eastern Kentucky comes into this game off of a 100-51 loss to what by all accounts is a very good Indiana team this year.

You can have your pick of story lines for today's game.

First, you have EKU head coach Samantha Williams, a Louisvillian who spent eight seasons on the Louisville bench as assistant coach to Jeff Walz.  Second, you have the six freshman on the EKU squad, fully half of the roster, with four likely as starters.  And then you have what should thankfully only be a minor story line in this game, that this is the only non-conference game for UofL going off as planned this season because of Covid.

Let's start with the coaching.  It's a classic teach and student story line, with Williams having worked with Jeff Walz for eight years she is quite familiar with his coaching styles, tendencies and beliefs.  Williams was well-liked during her time at UofL and had a major role in recruiting for the Cards, so while this is her second season at EKU, assume she is quite familiar with nearly all of the players on the UofL roster.

Looking at EKU's roster, however, is a different story.  Six of the 12 players on the roster are freshmen, but despite that, with the long recruiting process in college basketball, many of those, and perhaps all, were in the EKU recruiting pipeline before Williams' involvement.

Expect four of those freshmen to be starters for the Colonels; Corriana Evans, Clara Rosini, Alice Recanati, and Kendall Wingler.  Rosini, and Recanati are Italian guards, and along with forward Dafne Gianesini add some international flair to the squad.  Evans join fellow Georgian, senior Bria Bass, in the starting lineup, and Wingler represents the home state in the starting lineup from Brandenburg.

Amerah Steele, from London KY,  came off the bench in the last game against IU and lead the team in scoring with 13 points.  The other freshman is the aforementioned Gianesini.  Other big contributions against IU came from Recanati who dropped in 11 points and got five rebounds; Kynnedy Azubike, a newly eligible transfer from Akron with 10 points and four rebounds.  The rebounding was largely by committee with numerous players having between three and five boards, but Evans was the biggest presence on the glance, pulling down nine rebounds.

Add in Louisville's freshmen standouts, and this game could end up being a showcase of newcomers.  Also look for it to be fast and guard heavy.  We have discussed, here on the Cardinal Couple pages, the guard heavy roster for Louisville, with occasional jokes about Mykasa Robinson playing center, but EKU is also guard heavy.  Their whole starting lineup against IU was between 5'9" and 5'11" in height, two, Evans and Bass, are listed as Guard/Forwards, and the other three are all listed as straight guards.  Steele, and Azubike, the big contributes off the bench are also guards.

The game is at 1pm on ACC Network Extra streaming, Paulie and Sonya's buddy Don Russell and sara White bring it to you and as always you can catch Nick Curran and AJ's coverage on the radio.  After an excursion to a different station Wednesday, Nick & AJ will be back on the usual 790 AM -- CARDS RADIO WKRD. .

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

Jared was a silent partner to the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour yesterday, listening in while he was carrying out his banking duties with occasional contributions in chat.  Case, Paulie, and I had a good discussion about all things basketball...well, after some early show digressions, anyway.

We reviewed the game against SEMO, previewed the matchup against EKU, and just generally basked in our Kentucky roots as basketball fans.  Check it out and enjoy.


Saturday, November 28, 2020

Louisville to Suffer First Missed Game of 2020-21 Season -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Cards Unable to Find Replacement for Cincinnati

Head coach Jeff Walz was unable to work his magic on Twitter twice in one week, as Louisville's 2PM game slot today will go unfilled. Following Cincy's overtime win over NKU on Wednesday, the Bearcats returned a positive coronavirus test within the program. The decision was made on Thursday morning to cancel the game with Louisville scheduled for today. Earlier this week, you'll recall that Louisville was able to find a replacement for the MTSU game (cue SEMO) in just six hours by putting out a call on Twitter. Walz tried the same Thursday, seeking a D1 opponent for today. He even said that Louisville would be willing to travel 6-8 hours by bus. Still, the Cards were unable to find any takers.

Today will be the first game Louisville will miss on it's 2020-2021 schedule, but it will likely not be the last. While the Cards were lucky to scramble and fill the spot for the season opener, they still have an outstanding open date on the calendar. Surprisingly, Louisville is unable to find a taker to play on national TV at the Mohegan Sun Arena, filling the spot vacated by UCONN. The Cards have been able to replace Bellarmine with UT Martin, but as of now, tomorrow's game against EKU is the only game of five scheduled non-conference games that will be played as originally scheduled. That's not particularly confidence inspiring.

Also worrisome for college basketball fans in general is Jeff Walz's tone in the tweet where he sought an opponent for today. Walz's exact words were "We will all be trying to get the minimum 13 games scheduled to meet requirement for NCAA Tournament. Not a time to be picky who you play." With 20 games scheduled in the conference season and a game already under his belt at the time of the tweet, it seems clear that Coach Walz does not expect the conference season to go off without a hitch.

Something that will only confuse things further is the status of the NCAA guidance for positive tests. It was previously understood that a positive test within a program meant 14 days of program shutdown. It was that 14-day requirement that saw Louisville and UCONN forced to drop their annual matchup and has put numerous other programs behind the eight ball in their quest for 13 games. However, the CDC is considering reducing this quarantine guidance to eight days, as long as a negative test is proven at the end of those eight days. That would make quite the difference for plenty of teams, as positive tests are sure to plague the college basketball season. That said, if the NCAA adopts this new guidance, that would be quite unfair for teams that have had to quarantine for the full 14 days and missed multiple games to start the season.

Despite the length of the quarantine, the NCAA is already turning heads with its uneven application of the rules. Cincinnati, for example, is still scheduled to play Florida on December 5th. A quick check of the calendar shows that to be within 14 days of November 25th. Even if the game was exactly 14 days away, that would imply that Cincinnati would play Florida with no practice days. Something seems a bit off there. Not as far off, though, as what happened with Gonzaga. After teams have had to shutdown for a graduate assistant testing positive, Gonzaga had a player and staff member test positive yesterday morning and still played Auburn. Not to speculate further, but some pointed out that Mark Few was visibly coughing on the sideline throughout the game. Great. 

We here at Cardinal Couple have made our opinion on the NCAA and its disproportionate application of rules and regulations quite clear in the past. This season, the constant discussion has been about how it will take everyone to get to the end of the year and have a tournament. The NCAA and member institutions literally can't afford to miss two tournaments in a row. If that's the case, having teams openly flaunt the rules and put other programs at risk of missing games (not even to mention the health risks) is quite the bad look. All eyes are on this college basketball season, as the NCAA has made it clear they will have more of a hand in basketball than they did in football and things are getting hairier throughout the country. So far, the NCAA is turning heads in the wrong way it would appear.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour

We'll be without Jared this week, but Paulie, Jeff, and I will still do our best to bring you a great show. Basketball season is officially underway, so we'll talk about Louisville's opening win over Southeast Missouri and preview tomorrow's game against EKU. As always, our focus will be the joy and excitement of Louisville women's athletics. Tune in to the Cardinal Couple YouTube channel at 11AM for the live show, or check out the rebroadcast as soon as the show ends. You can also subscribe to the podcast on your favorite podcast player to have the show pushed to your device as soon as it's posted every week.

Until next time, Go Cards!

Friday, November 27, 2020

Tennessee-Martin added to WBB schedule -- ACC results -- FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


Another change to the UofL WBB schedule greets us on Black Friday as we come out of our Turkey/Day stuffing, slumber and such. 

Cincinnati was schedules to host the Cards WBB Saturday, November 28th in the Queen City at their Fifth-Third Arena. But, we got word yesterday that the match has been cancelled following positive COVID testing after the UC-NKU game. So, Jeff Walz left the green bean casserole and stuffing, went to Twitter and got the word out: 

Louisville looking for Div. 1 opponent for Saturday, Nov. 28. Will travel but needs to be within 5-6hr bus ride. We will all be trying to get the minimum 13 games scheduled to meet requirement for NCAA Tournament. Not a time to be picky who you play. Just sayin! DM or call.

Coach didn't get that date filled/ replaced just yet (but, hold the phone, it's only Friday) he did, however,  get a game to replace the game that was supposed to occur on Dec 6th, hosting Bellarmine.

The UTM SkyHawks will fly (OK, they'll probably bus) to Louisville to play the Cards on that date. No game time haas been announced yet. 


So, if you're playing along at home (and I hope you're using a pencil with an eraser if you are)  the Cards have added SEMO and UTM so far this season to the pre-conference slate.  They've lost UConn, MTSU, Cincinnati and UConn. As far as we know, Sunday's game with EKU at the KFC YUM! Center is still on

Pat, I'd like to buy a vowel. Spin the wheel Vanna. 

Adding UTM is not just a filler. The SkyHawks are the pre-season pick to win the Ohio Valley Conference.  Jeff Walz's buddy Kevin McMillian's squad gave Louisville all they wanted last year in Martin before the Cards escaped with a double-overtime win 71-63.

Former Cardinal Seygan Robins is on the UTM roster and they also return stars Emma Davis, Chelsey Perry and Maddie Waldrop. UTM's top four scorers are back from 2019-20 when you add Damiah Griffin and Zaire Hicks to the mix -- or, in short -- over 80% of their scoring. 


I'm guessing most of you know about Louisville WBB's 74-53 win Wednesday over SEMO. If not, or if you want to refresh your memory, go to the Thursday CARDINAL COUPLE edition and read all about it. 

So, how'd the rest of the ACC WBB contingent do? 10 other ACC WBB programs had games

-- NC State hosted North Florida and got a 93-65 win. Kai Crutchfield had 21 points for Ms. Wuf's squad

-- Pitt defended the home court with a 72-57 win over George Mason. New Mexico transfer Jayla Everett led the Panthers with 18 pts. 

-- Georgia Tech brought in Georgia State to the McCamish Pavillion and dealt them a 62-38 loss. Lotta-Maj Lahtinen led Buzz's ballers with 14 points. 

-- Duke entertained Longwood and gave new coach Kara Lawson her first win 94-64. Jaida Patrick began the "Kara-Era" with 21 points for the Blue Devils in Cameron. 

-- Miami got things underway with a 74-58 win over visiting Jacksonville. Destiny Hardin led Sebastian the Ibus's flock with 16 points.

-- UNC rolled to a 90-61 over Radford in Chapel Hill. The TarHeels had six of their student-athletes in double figures. 

-- Clemson made our Greer, SC reader Arthur happy in the Littlejohn with a 83-43 win over Furman. Gabby Elliott, who was selected 2020 Miss Michigan in GBB, led the Tigers with 23 points. 

-- Virginia Tech began their 2020 slate at home as well and had a win over the Richmond Spiders 85-64. Elizabeth Kitley is back for Kenny Brooks squad and had 15 points and 17 boards. 

-- Boston College destroyed their northeastern neighbors New Hampshire in Beantown and Taylor Soule went for 22 and 12 against the Wildcats. 

- It wasn't a great beginning for Virginia. Tina Thompson's tribe took to the road and got slammed in Mouseville against UCF 60-34. The Cavs managed just 11 second half points. 

FSU vs. FAMU was cancelled. 

So, 10-1 for the ACC on Wednesday. Not a bad start at all...


Today, Arkansas and Wake Forest play at 11:30 a.m., Notre Dame gets underway at noon against Ohio and Clemson plays again, this time hosting Presbyterian at 5 p.m. The Clemson game ism schedule for TV on the ACC Network, ESPN + will carry Notre Dame vs. Ohio and Wake Forest vs. Arkansas. 

Ge the turkey out of the fridge, build a sandwich and take it easy today. You've earned it. 

Everyone have a great Friday! 



)We'll do out best to keep you informed of any other schedule changes for the Cards WBB squad as they develop.)  

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Cards Down SEMO -- Thanksgiving -- THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

 Cards Defeat SEMO in Season Opener

One down, many to go.  #5 Louisville defeated SEMO in both teams season opener, 74-53.

After a slow start, which is expected in the first game of the season, the Cards outscored the Redhawks by 19. It was a healthy mix of new faces and familiar ones contributing to the victory.

Freshman Olivia Cochran led Louisville in scoring with 17 points that was highlighted by a 9-for-10 mark from the free throw line. Dana Evans, who is now a senior (holy cow, already?!), scored 15 points to go along with a team-high six assists.  However, Evans was held without a made three-point basket. Freshman sensation Hailey Van Lith did not disappoint with 13 points and a team-high eight rebounds.  She filled up the stat sheet well with a made three-pointer, an assist, a steal, and a block with only two turnovers.

It was the defense that impressed.  The Cards surrendered just 53 points on the game that featured allowing just eight points in the second quarter.  They recorded 10 blocks led by Elizabeth Balogun's three blocks.  The Cards recorded 11 steals on the day highlighted by Ahlana Smith's three.

Louisville forced 19 turnovers and converted that into 26 points off turnovers.  They won that mark 26-10.

Rebounding seemed to be next to no concern after getting through the first quarter.  They won the rebounding battle 50-36.  The26 offensive rebounds turned into 21 second chance points. All in all, 11 players saw playing time ranging from eight minutes to 32 minutes.

SEMO was a last minute add after Middle Tennessee had to back out.  Jeff Walz was extremely complimentary of the Redhawks.

"I was really appreciative for (them) to make this happen" he said.  "For us to go on the road, it was a good win.  We're at a point right now in college basketball in general, you've got to get as many games in as quick as you can since there's so much uncertainty."

After scoring the first bucket of the game, Louisville went back-and-forth with SEMO up until a 16-16 tie.  A pair of free throws by Evans gave Louisville a lead at the end of the quarter, a lead that would never be vanquished.


Louisville would go on an 11-3 run for much of the second quarter to push the lead to 10.  A Merissah Russell fast break layup art the buzzer would send the Cards into the half with their largest lead of the time at 14.

A HVL three-pointer to start the second half put the Cards up 17 before SEMO went on a run.  They cut the lead to six with four minutes left in the quarter.  Louisville answered with a run of their own to push it up to 15.

The defense kicked it up a notch again in the fourth quarter and gave up two points over the first 4:03.  A trio of layups wrapped up the Louisville scoring going into the final 35 seconds of the game.

Overall, the game went as expected with Louisville getting the win.  There were moments of early season mayhem as players get used to real opposition as well as playing with each other.  Many players adjusted to the collegiate style of play or finally got to rep their Louisville uniform for the first time.

It is a solid start to the year and gets jitters out in time for their home opener this Sunday.

The ever-popular F-R-E-D report is back.  Since this is the first F-R-E-D report of the season I will give the honor to our fearless leader to fill out.

F-R-E-D Report

Free Throws -- The Cards got to the line 27 times and made 20 of the attempts. That was good for a 74.1%. Our free throw line of success is 70%, so they squeaked by there. Olivia Cochran had the most attempts for UofL, and went a stellar 8-10 from the charity stripe. We can award a capital "F" here for making the unguarded ones. 

Rebounding --  Give the edge to Louisville 50-36. The Cards didn't really pull away in this stat, though, until the latter part of the third quarter and the final quarter. SEMO only shot 8% in the fourth quarter (no, not a mistype -- they went 1-12 from the floor) and when you grtab the misses, you're numbers go up. It was rebounding by committee, although I'll point out that 5'7" Hailey Van Lith tied for the Cards leader in grabs with eight. In fact, the three freshmen combined for 21 of the Cards grabs. We'll definitely qward a capital "R" here. 

Effort/Execution -- Despite the slow start, Louisville did a good job overall running the offense, given the number of players they shuttled in-and-out and it being the first game. Thumbs uo on the 26-10 points-off-turnovers Cardinal edge (creating offense off defense) but a face-palm on the 2-17 three-point shooting. If any of the Cards future opponents watch the replay of this one, they'll come out in a zone and dare UofL to beat them from the deep. So, given the good and bad, I'' award a small case "e" for the effort and execution. 

Defense -- Holding SEMO to just 53 points and 27.3% shooting gets a thumbs up here, creating 19 turnovers does as well. The surprising number was a 10-1 advantage in blocked shots, seven Cards getting them and Elizabeth Balogun with three. Ahlana Smith had three steals and thaat's was a bright spot. The Cards had no answer for Tesia Thompson (21 points) but they shut down the rest of the Red Hawks and got the win. We'll bestow a capital "D" for doing it defensively.



Normally we do not have a true article on Thanksgiving but the basketball game yesterday made this year an exception. 

Thanksgiving may look different this year than in recent years.  We are all doing our part to keep everyone healthy and safe --  even if it means we do not see certain family or get certain food. We should be extra thankful this year for things that may range from family and friends to food to being able to afford bills, and especially our lives.

Here at CARDINAL COUPLE, we are thankful for so many things. Our families, our health, the camaraderie on our staff. our wonderful readership and that there are sports to report on.  If you're reading this, be thankful you can. 262,000 fellow Americans have left grieving families and friends behind with only memories and sadness. 

Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

GAME DAY -- Louisville women's basketball vs SEMO -- WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


It is here. 

After all the talk, speculation, changes and implementations -- the University of Louisville women's basketball squad will take the court for their first game of the 2020-21 campaign, 

Today's opponent is the Southeastern Missouri State (SEMO) RedHawks and the contest will be played in the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. A trip west on I-64 for the Cards, about 4-1/2 hours from the Belknap campus. (Last we heard there were $6 tickets available, in case you aren't doing anything today and fancy a drive). 

For Louisville WBB fans, the broadcast will be available of ESPN+ (a pay-for-view internet platform) or on radio. 93.1 FM will have today's coverage, since Louisville's men's squad will be on the normal home for Louisville women's basketball 790 Cards Radio WKRD. 93.1 is known as Real 93.1 , the call letters are WTFX and their normally a rap and R&B genre can catch Nick and A.J around 2:40 p.m. this afternoon for pre-game festivities leading up to the 3 p.m. live call. Whether Nick tries any Jay Z or Flipp Dinero styling remains to be seen...

So what will the Cards face today? 

SEMO plays in the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) and did quite well their in the 2019-20 season. They posted a  14-4 conference mark and the Red Hawks were 25-7 overall. They won the OVC Conference Tournament, downing UT Martin 67-47. They return leading scorer, senior 5'11" guard Tesia Thompson,  who averaged 19.7 points per game and seven other players from last year, including starter Pruitt Taelour, a 5/6" junior guard who averaged 9.6 points per game. 

The Red Hawks added five freshmen and have three transfers into the program. Of particular note is freshman, 6'2" center Ambrea Gentile 

A key loss is Carrie Shephard, who started her career at Missouri, and was the Red Hawks leading three-point specialist, going 96 for 239.  The tallest SEMO player is 6'4" forward LaTrese Saine, who is a red-shirt senior and averaged 4.8 p.p.g with no starts. 

With three starters gone and three of their top scorers graduated, it looks to be a rebuilding year for sixth-year and OVC Coach of the Year last season... head coach Rehka Patterson.  SEMO was picked to finish third in the pre-season OVC poll. Thompson and Pruitt were pre-season All-OVC Team picks. 

SEMO hasn't had much luck against the Cards in their two visits to the KFC YUM! Center, winless in both visits. They fell 97-43 in 2010 and 80-40 in 2017.

And the Cards? 

I expect Walz to utilize the speed and depth this team possess in the opener. Defensive pressure will be a key and if pressed for a starting lineup, I'll venture a guess and go with Dana Evans, Elizabeth Balogun, Kianna Smith, Hailey Van Lith and Liz Dixon. I expect a lot of situational substitutions and Olivia Cochran, Ahlana Smith, Kasa Robinson and Norika Konno could see 20+ minutes. Coach has said he has a lot of student-athletes that can "fill up the bucket" and we'll see if they fulfill Coach's proclamation in the opener.


Louisville will need to crash the boards on both ends of the court and Nyah Green and Ramani Parker could be key elements for Louisville in the rebounding. I'll look to see how Walz uses Canadian sensation Merissah Russell as well, and I won't be surprised to see Louisville in a four-guard set throughout the game. Three-point shooting looks to be a strong suit for the Cards and if Evans, Balogun, Van Lith and the Smiths are knocking down the three ball with consistency, it could be a very good outing for the Cards.  

We'll have a full recap of the action here tomorrow and make sure to follow our in-game Tweets as well. Feel free to leave your comments on what you expect in today's game. 

Go CARDS! and let's hope everyone has a safe, successful and super start to the season. 


Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Season Opener Changes -- Plexiglass for Games -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

 Season Opener Changes

UPDATE: After the publishing of today's Cardinal Couple article, we got news that the Louisville WBB game against UConn has now joined the ranks of being cancelled, sue to an outbreak of COVID within the UConn program. UConn women’s basketball has temporarily suspended team activities after a member of the program tested positive for COVID-19, the school announced Monday nightAll team activities will be on hold for at least 14 days, the school said, meaning that the No. 3 Huskies will not compete in their first four scheduled games. Those games included two matchups in the Hall of Fame Women’s Challenge this weekend at Mohegan Sun Arena, a Dec. 4 game in Uncasville against No. 5 Louisville and the conference opener Dec. 6 at Seton Hall.

Some things age like fine wine.  Some things age like milk.  Anything recently we have talked about for MTSU aged like milk. Jeff Walz took to social media yesterday to let us know that MTSU had to cancel Wednesday's game and that he was looking for another team to replace them.  Within a few hours, a new team filled the slot. We  know not whether he'll employ the same tactics to replace the Huskies game. 

Southeast Missouri State (SEMO) is now on the schedule.  Rkha Patterson and the SEMO Redhawks will host the Cards on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m., ET (2:00 p.m., CT). So, in effect, the Cards WBB replaced one directional university with another. 

Walz added a hashtag to his post #WontBeTheLastScheduleChange and it's pretty safe to assume he is right.

As of right now, this game will be aired on ESPN+.  If you are not paying for ESPN+ then this one will not be accessible to be viewed.  Hopefully, we will see a local station or somewhere else pick up a free live stream. It's 2020 and things change rapidly. One thing you can depend on is the radio call from Nick and A.J...usually on Cards Radio 790. We'll know more about the listening/viewing finalizations tomorrow, I would venture. 

SEMO is in the Ohio Valley Conference, a conference that UofL sees plenty of action against across several sports.  Murray State, Morehead State, and Eastern Kentucky are all Kentucky-based schools in the OVC. A OVC WBB Preseason Poll has SEMO picked to finish sixth in the 12-team league. 

The Redhawks finished tied for first in the OVC in the 2019-20 season with a record of 16-2.  In fact, their conference record has gotten progressively better over the last four years. Louisville and SEMO have faced each other twice, with the Cards claiming both victories. Most recently, Louisville took an 80-40 win in November 2017.

SEMO is located in Cape Girardeau, MO and about 4-1/2 hours from Louisville. 

Check back here for a full breakdown of the match-up by Paulie tomorrow morning.

In other women's basketball news, Florida A&M canceled their entire season due to COVID-19.  They are probably the first of many that will drop in the coming weeks.

Plexiglass for UofL Games

Ice hockey rink or basketball arena?  Various twitter users shared photos of the floor at the KFC Yum! Center and Plexiglas is clearly noticeable around the newly designed team benches.  Several rows of seats have been removed and the benches are spread out.

As a photographer, my first question would be where I am supposed to sit, followed by a question regarding potential glares from the glass, which can actually be seen in the first picture.

I do want to raise the question about the socially distanced team benches.  These are players who play on the court together everyday and use the same locker room together.  More likely than not, the players would expose each other outside of the game.  And also, they will be closer together when celebrating or in team huddles.  So why distance them for just the game?

It looks like my pool photographer duties are all set and my new speedos complimentary of Arthur Albiero will be ready to go by Sunday.  Now, time to get some waterproof equipment.  Funny how smartphones nowadays are waterproof but camera and camera lenses are not...Paulie offered the use of his "floating duckie" he used years ago for water activities. I would also assume our resident engineers Case and Jeff are on standby, ready to design a floatation device suitable for maneuvering about in the Ralph Wright Natatorium to keep my various pieces of photography and internet access equipment dry. 

I hope I have a UofL swimmer on hand to help me with my backstroke. 

UofL has sent out a game day protocol/informational guideline for media that are planning to be in attendance. A drastically limited  and reduced amount of media coverage personnel will be allowed in, tucked away neatly in the corner of the KFC YUM! Center and socially distanced. No one on the sidelines, so Coach Walz will have the run of the area. 

Anyway, I hope everyone has a happy Tuesday and Go Cards!


Monday, November 23, 2020

ACC WBB Opening Day Schedule -- ESPN + to show Lou. vs MTSU --- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


MTSU has cancelled Wednesday's matchup with Middle Tennessee State due to MTSU Covid protocols.  UofL is replacing MTSU with SEMO (Southeastern Missouri State). The game will be played at SEMO on Wednesday at 3 p.m. and shown on ESPN +.  The Bellarmine game was cancelled due to their pause of basketball operations.  We will update in Tuesday article. 


As we progress with Game Week for ACC WBB, let's take a look at the opening games for the 15 ACC squads. 

The breakdown is as follows:  Ten of the 15 teams will open at home . 12 teams will begin on Nov. 25th and three schools will start later than 11/25/20. It'll be a busy Wednesday for ACC WBB fans !! 

WEDNESDAY 11/25/20

FSU at Florida A&M   CANCELLED. FAMU has cancelled their season. 

New Hampshire at BOSTON COLLEGE    noon

George Mason at PITTSBURGH    noon 

Georgia State at GEORGIA TECH   noon

Longwood at DUKE       noon

Jacksonville at MIAMI   1 p.m.  (ACC Network Extra)

Radford at NORTH CAROLINA   1 p.m.

Furman at CLEMSON    2 p.m.

Richmond at VIRGINIA TECH  4 p.m.

VIRGINIA at Central Florida     6 p.m.   (ESPN +) 


FRIDAY 11/27/20 

NOTRE DAME at Ohio    noon   (ESPN+) 

Arkansas vs WAKE FOREST   11:30 a.m.

SUNDAY 11/29/20

SYRACUSE at Stonybrook   2 p.m.   (ESPN+) 


As of now, Louisville WBB will be on ESPN + for their first two games (MTSU and Cincinnati). Both are "away" contests for the Cards. They'll have the home opener against EKU at 1 p.m. Sunday and the ACC Network Extra will have the feed. The Friday, Dec 4th game at UConn will be on TV -- ESPN and is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. 

We'll provide more on the schedule as it plays out, in any event, that's got you covered until conference play starts. In case you missed it, the game against Bellarmine has been postponed to a "to be announced" date. If there are any other schedule adjustments, we'll keep you in the loop. 

All the games will also be on radio...790 WKRD, as far as we know -- with Nick Curran and A.J. Johnson providing the call. I always enjoy listening to the radio call while watching and it doesn't bother me if Nick tells me about a score or steal a few seconds before I see it. I suppose there are "syncing" devices available for your laptop or PC if you need them, but, that's a bit over my head, as far as technology goes. 

CARDINAL COUPLE will provide pre-game articles on each match-up and a comprehensive recap of the action, so be sure to check back here.


We haven't received any official word on whether we'll be allowed to attend home games in a media capacity yet. We do know that Jared Anderson has been asked to serve as a "pool photographer" - so we'll at least have pictures. Last I heard, he's been shopping for appropriate swim-wear and a snorkeling device so he can take pictures form the pool. We're assuming he'll be in the Ralph Wright Natatorium waters, but that hasn't been verified. We've contacted Arthur Albiero to see if he'll assist Jared on the back-stroke and treading water...

He'll elaborate a little more in his article Tuesday and I'll have the pre-game scenarios for Louisville vs. MTSU on Wednesday. 

As usual, the disclaimer is that the game(s) could be altered as a result of COVID testing and results. It's 2020, after all...

Have a marvelous Monday and stay safe!


Sunday, November 22, 2020

Sunday Cardinal Couple - Game Week

Basketball Begins

Louisville, when not in the midst of a pandemic-fueled social lockdown nightmare, will take a two minute long spring sports event and turn it into a two week city wide party.  And this is for a sport that many of us don't feel any particular affinity to, though you can check out Paulie's Picks on Saturdays and special racing days, of course.

As a born and raised Kentuckian, basketball is in my blood.  Yes, when asked, I will say that volleyball is my favorite sport, but basketball is more than just sports fandom, it's a cultural touch-point.  In most states, the highest paid public employee in the state is the head coach of the flagship football team in the state.  In Kentucky, it's the basketball coach.  To be fair, North Carolina joins us in this distinction.  Also credit a few New England states for bucking the trend, and in Hawaii, the title goes to a surgeon.

The beginning of basketball season brings with it an excitement that is unlike any other because it suffuses the fabric of the community.  Yes, we are a state divided, when it comes to basketball, predominantly red vs blue, and yes that division is not even, and yes, there is an obvious metaphor here that we won't dive into on these pages.

But there are more than just red vs blue in basketball in this state...well, ok, they are mostly reds and blues, but there are variations.  We've got the red and white in Bowling Green, we've got a pair of blue and gold entries from either end of the state, and then there's the maroon folks over in Richmond.

We have a new entrant this year, to add to the excitement, officially scarlet and silver, with the Bellarmine folks kicking off their D1 journey...well, a little bit delayed, alas.

Cardinal Couple, of course, focuses on the women's side of sports at UofL, so our excitement in the coaching ranks is mostly for Jeff Walz, but I think I can speak for most of us when we show our respect for Kyra Elzy as she fills in the role in Lexington.  Around the state, though, there are coaches with ties to Louisville, and we certainly celebrate their successes, with Samantha Williams, a former assistant to Walz, helming the squad at Eastern; Greg Collins, who served a stint as assistant at Louisville some time back, in the big chair at Western.  Murray and Morehead coaches don't have any specific ties to Louisville, but as in-state competitors, we can certainly show our respect or Rechelle Turner at Murray, and Greg Todd at Morehead.  Of course, the newcomer to this DI coaching klatch is Chancellor Dugan, at Bellarmine...although we've followed her pursuits for years.

Basketball in Kentucky is "a thing", and so, I guess it's not terribly surprising to note that all of the above coaches are Kentuckians, born and raised.  That's something to be proud of and respect about the sport in the state.  We get excited when we recruit players from far off places, such as from Canada, Japan, and even the corners of our own country such as Washington State, California, and Texas, but it's good to take a step back and notice the home grown folks from places like Ashland, Georgetown, Fort Thomas, Oldham County, Calvert City, Berea, and Louisville, all here in Kentucky.

Of course, here at Cardinal Couple, we'll be cheering more for the Cardinals squad, but I can speak at least for myself, when I saw that I do get a bit of an extra feeling of excitement when I see Eastern, Western, Murray, Morehead, and yes Bellarmine as well, do well in their efforts.  And, yes, I respect the Kentucky program, and want nothing but the best for Elzy and her squad.

Let's not forget two Cardinal greats in Becky Burke and Candyce (Bingham) Wheeler, who begin their journey at South Carolina State and Michelle Clark Heard in Cincy either.

This week kicks it off for basketball in the crazy sports year.  Play got cut short last season, and now scheduled games can, at best, be considered tentative until the actual tip-off, but we're going to have basketball.  It's going to be altered a bit, and many of us will be watching from homes rather than in the stands, but we'll have basketball, which in a state like Kentucky, may very well help us get through the winter.

And that's something to be excited about.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

And the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour had the full house...full Skype call?...yesterday as we shared the latest edition of the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour.  Check out the recap of the Women's Basketball virtual tip-off luncheon, and a preview of the upcoming game at Middle Tennessee on Wednesday.

We had fun, as always, and I hope you do too, when you listen ! 


Saturday, November 21, 2020

Swimming Holds Intrasquad Meet -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

 Swimming Began a Three Day Scrimmage Friday

As the swimming season is set to get underway in some capacity soon, Louisville's squad has begun its preparations for the upcoming year. Yesterday, the Cards began a three day "meet" designed to mimic the layout of a championship meet, with preliminary heats and final races. Though the structure to these types of meets is similar, the invite list is not, as Louisville is competing only against themselves. While there's nothing on the public swimming and diving schedule, with basketball set to begin next week, swimming and diving (officially another winter sport) is sure to follow. 

With Sophie Cattermole, Molly Fears, and Grace Oglesby (among many others) all graduating last year, much of the familiarity from last year's team is gone. That isn't to say that there aren't new names that we should get to know, as there surely will be. One new name that you might be familiar with is Gabi Albiero. Gabi is the daughter of Arthur and sister of Nick. She's also a pretty good swimmer, coming to Louisville by way of CAL (where her mother is the head coach; big swimming family) ranked in the top 15 recruits by major swimming publications. Gabi made her presence known yesterday by topping the team in the 50 freestyle. She was also a member of the winning 200 relay team, along with Christiana Regenauer, Kaylee Wheeler, and Katie Schorr. Ashlyn Schoof combined with Albiero, Regenauer, and Wheeler to win the 400 medley.

Individual medium distance saw a new standout in Maria Sumida, who took the win in both the 500 freestyle (is that medium or long distance? I couldn't swim for that long) and the 200 individual medley. Today's events will be the 200 medley relay, the 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breast, 100 back, and 800 free relay. We'll see if some of the same swimmers stand out or if some more can challenge them for the top spots. Louisville's long history of swimming champions is not likely to end soon, so this meet will be a great time to try to find the next one. 

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour

In an extremely unlikely turn of events, we have a week in November with no games or matches of any kind to review for the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour. Fortunately, basketball is on the horizon, and Louisville will (presumably) get their season underway against Middle Tennessee on Wednesday evening. We'll have a full house for this week's Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast, and we'll discuss more of the award watch lists that were put out this week as well as preview the upcoming week that is. Make sure to tune in to the Cardinal Couple YouTube Channel at 11AM for the live show, or check out the podcast or video replay after the show airs.

Until next time, Go Cards!