WE HEAR FROM YOU AFTER CINCINNATI GAME
One of the interesting things about running a website is that some people seem to think you are the ultimate source of knowledge on women's sports. I wish that were so, but I like to tell people that I'm learning each day and that's progress (a good thing). I also get a lot of e-mails, questions and texts about the who, what, where, why and how of particular sports. The best I can do, if I don't have "proof" or an official answer, is give you an educated guess...making sure you know it is just that, a guess.
We check our egos, what little is left of them, at the door when we write. We are fans, like you, not self-appointed lord and masters or slow-witted, good ol' boy morons...like a few out there in the media bushes
We also get a lot of opinionated thoughts on subjects from fans (and non-fans). It's all part of it if you are writing in a vein where people can read and comment, I have learned after all these years, and I try to do the best I can in addressing these things. If it's something I don't think I should "tread in" I suggest they ask the coach of the sport that question by e-mail. Most the UofL coaches are very good about replying to those questions.
Women's basketball seems to bring out the best (and occasionally worse) of these ideas, thoughts, statements, predictions and observations from you -- the reader. So, let's look at a few from last night's Louisville WBB game vs Cincinnati. (Any reader names I use here are aliases...no need to drag anyone through the mud, or question their self-appointed genius status...and I try to avod them if I can).
A great many of you were awesomely and obviously impressed with Hailey Van Lith's performance last night...and there was a lot there to be impressed with. Yes, it would be great if she could do that every time out, but history shows us that players are going to have the occasional rough go of it. I do think she has assumed the role as leader of the team, and I can't think of anyone else better qualified and fit for that role. Her competitive spirit is top-notch and she knows the game. I hope she goes for 28 or better every night.
A few of you didn't think much of Chrislyn Carr's inaugural performance as one of the Cardinals. Let's cut her some slack here. There are a lot of other ways to be effective on a basketball team without scoring points and she does a lot of those very well. Let's give her some time to adapt, learn and grow into the role. "C.C." will be just fine, you'll see. No one said coming in to an established team and lineup as the point guard would ever be easy.
Some rave reviews on Morgan Jones and I have to agree with them. She's a confident, knowledgeable and skilled hoopster. She "gets it" and plays intelligently. She's also a pure shooter and scorer and not afraid to tangle inside with another squad's "bigs". You gonna love her, Cardinals fans.
A lot of positive remarks on Liz Dixon, too. She deserves them. She has put in the work and has the confidence, as well. She knows she's surrounded by a lot of very good, award-list type of players and, as one commenter stated, "Liz can be an opponent's worst nightmare if she's got the ball within five feet of the basket." And, it's true. Both she and Josie Williams drew a lot of praise for what they do around the hoop and we also saw some good things out of Nyla Harris inside, too.
Olivia Cochran a big fan favorite with several of you and she gives you the type of performances that make accolades like that very easy to understand and acknowledge. She is a fierce competitor and a player I think anyone would love to coach. There is no quit in "O" and it's got to be an opposing coach's nightmare trying to prepare for her.
A few of you were worried about the stumble out of the gate to start the second half last night. Contrary to what some have said, UC didn't sink everything they tossed up in the first three minutes...they shot 50% percent. Four missed shots and two turnovers by the Cards isn't he wqat you want to start any quarter, but two Van Lith buckets and a Dixon score pushed the Cards lead back out to 12.
Walz let them work their way through it, though, a good move on his part. A chance to see, early in the season, how they might handle a stretch of adversity. And, Hailey had 10 of UofL's 12 points in the third quarter. It's called getting the hot hand the rock for the shot. Walz played only eight players in the third quarter...the rough part was that the Cards were 0-5 from three -point range in those ten minutes.
Kasa Robinson is another love interest for most of you and she is the defensive spark for this squad, as many of you have pointed out. She also had a couple of nice layups last night, reading and reacting to the defense and making the opponent pay. She creates a lot of excitement when she enters a game from the fans and she creates a lot of situations an opponent doesn't want to be in.
As it does every year, the squad will learn and grow from their early contests. We'll see lots of player combinations as Walz and the coaches develop a lineup and combination that is their most effective. I agree with you, this squad has a ton of talent and athleticism. They're fun to watch.
Everyone seems ready to send us to the Final Four after one game. I love the optimism and positive thoughts, but, remember, it's aa long season and things can and probably will happen that we didn't expect. You take 'em one game at a time... win, advance and repeat and rinse.
As fans, the best things you can do is o be supportive, enthusiastic, loud and positive. Let's remember, these are college kids, not seasoned professionals and they're still growing in some ways, also. They also feed off your energy and enthusiasm. Enjoy what you have before you, what's to come and trust in your coaches.
And, have some fun this season!!
(Photos by Jared Anderson)