KNIGHTS SECOND IN-STATE FOE FOR UOFL WBB IN FOUR DAYS
Louisville women's basketball makes the trek across Crittenden Drive tonight to face the Bellarmine Knights in Freedom Hall. A 6:30 start planned for this one.
Bellarmine comes into the contest 4-6 on the season, with wins over St. Bonaventure, Simmons College, University of Evansville ...and most recently...Franklin College. The Knights have taken losses to LSU, Purdue-Fi. Wayne, Kentucky, Cleveland State, Georgia State and Morehead.
The Knights have been playing DI WBB for a little over two years now, making the step up in July, 2020. Chancellor (Chance) Dugan has been the head women's coach at Bellarmine for 11 years, beginning with the Knights back in 2012. Dugan, who graduated from Louisville Sacred Heart in 1978, was previously head coach at Southern Indiana and FAU.
The Cards and Knights have met 15 times since 1975 and UofL holds a 12-2 edge over Bellarmine. The Knights won the first two meetings, back in 1975, and were regular opponents through the 1985 season. The schools met again in 1999 and then did not face until the 2020-21 season. They last met in November 2021 and UofL took a 82-25 decision at the KFC YUM! Center. If you remember back to that one, Emily Engstler had a double-double for the Cards in the win
Bellarmine is led in scoring by 6'6" freshman center Gracie Merkle. who averages 14.4 pp and 10.3 rebounds. Merkle played her high school ball at Bullitt East. The Knights have seven players on their roster from the commonwealth of Kentucky. Hayley Harrison is BU's other double-digit scorer at 10.9 a contest and Cam Browning averages 9.4 a game.
The Knights are members of the A-SUN Conference and join Austin Peay and EKU as Kentucky members in the 14 school conference. Florida Gulf Coast won the league with a 15-1 record last year, Bellarmine was 1-15 in conference play and went 4-24 overall in their second season in the league
As for the Cards, they come off the win at UK in Rupp Arena. The "W" improved UofL's record to 7-4 on the season. It was good to see that Liz Dixon turned in some very quality minutes in the game, many figured she would play an essential role on this year's Cardinals squad and Sunday was certainly a game where she did that. We're also glad Merissah Russell appears to be OK from the elbow to the throat that UK's Blair Green administered to her. It was a cheap shot and I'm surprised Green wasn't tossed from the game for it.
Hailey Van Lith leads the Cards with 20.1 ppg, followed by Chrislyn Carr at 10.6 and Morgan Jones at 10.5. Olivia Cochran checks in a 9,3 ppg.
So. we hope the Cards cruise tonight and they get to continue to improve on rebounds and maybe find the elusive three-point shot that escaped them in Lexington (1-15). It's a ESPN+ game but, hey, aren't you interested to see what Freedom Hall looks like these days? Let's hope a big contingent of Cardinals fans show up, tickets are just $15.,,from what I saw on Ticketmaster
(PHOTOS FROM JARED ANDERSON)