Louisville Hosts SIUE
Looking to bounce back after a loss at Middle Tennessee State on Sunday, Louisville women's basketball hosts Southern Illinois University Evansville (SIUE). The Cards and Cougars will tip off at 7:00 p.m., and will be aired on ACCNX (Jeff Greer, play-by-play; Jessica Laemmle, analyst) or on radio at 93.9 FM (Nick Curran, play-by-play, Cortnee Walton, analyst). This is the first ever meeting between Louisville and SIUE.
Louisville enters the season with a 5-4 record following back-to-back blowout losses to Ohio State and MTSU. The Cards dropped out of the AP Poll for the first team in several years. With poor showings lately, it's hard to argue against getting booted out of the Top 25.
In an uncharacteristic manner, Louisville has struggled greatly on defense. Points off turnovers and missed assignments have been a thorn this year.
On the offensive end, things haven't seemed much better. The Cards average 16.4 turnovers per game and their shooting percentage in the last two games has been 43.5% and 27.7%, respectively. Three-point shooting in those games was 28.6% and 19.0%.
SIUE is winless on the year, sitting at 0-6. They went 13-18 last year. Samantha Quigley-Smith is in her second season as head coach.
Niya Danfort is the leading scorer for the Cougars and the only one in double-digits, averaging 11.7 points per game. Danfort is second on the team with 4.7 rebounds per game. Ajulu Thatha is first in that category at 6.5 per game. SIUE has been outrebounded this season 43.8 - 35.2. Their 52.5 points per game is 21.4 lower than Louisville's 73.9 points per game.
This will be the second game without Payton Verhulst, who Paulie mentioned yesterday has entered the transfer portal. The Kansas native is no longer on the roster and is presumed to finish up her time on campus once finals ends. She will have three years of eligibility remaining, but will have to sit out the remainder of this season wherever she goes.
PV is one of my all-time favorite Louisville athletes so seeing her leave sat heavy on me. Outside of women's basketball games, I had the opportunity to get to know her in the stands at several other Louisville sporting events. She had made big strides from her freshman year to her sophomore year and was transitioning into a leadership role. Her decision to leave falls on the coaching staff after Verhulst saw minimal playing time this season after Louisville brought in several transfers in the offseason. She was one of four Cardinals who had more assists than turnovers.
Although we have received little information regarding the situation, Louisville fans took to social media to express their frustration and have questioned how much effort was put into trying to keep her here.
Regardless of where Verhulst ends up, I think I speak for all of us when I wish her the absolute best and will continue to cheer her on. The conversatios we have had with her in the past have always been fun, positive and uplifting. I know Paulie considers her one of his favorite people to interview, so he;ll miss her. greatly
Paulie and Daryl will be on the court in the media seating covering the game tonight while you'll see me sitting on the court taking pictures.
Tonight's game is promoted as a Not-So-Ugly-Christmas Sweater Night. I'm not sure what constitutes a Christmas sweater as ugly or not, but I'll be participating in the festivities.
It's also the Holiday Toy Drive, so don't forget to bring a new toy still in toy packaging to the KFC YUM! Center tonight.
On a more personal note, prayers and good vibes would be appreciated as we've run into quite a few health issues ranging from minor to extremely major across several members of my family, both those standing on their own two feet to the furry four-legged ones. The last week or so has been plagued by poor news so hopefully we see some good news arrive sooner than later.
Happy Tuesday and Go Cards