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.