REBUILT CARDS WBB ROSTER WILL BENEFIT, GROW FROM EXTRA PRACTICES AND PRE-SEASON CONTESTS
I was asked a question the other day about upcoming 2023-24 Louisville women's basketball. The question came from a long-time season ticket holder, and was centered toward the roster.
"Just who does Walz have coming back that we would remember from last season?"
Let's start with Olivia Cochran. Cochran was one of the main forces in the paint for Louisville WBB last year and will only get better in the upcoming season. She'll be a team leader, which will be pretty important with all the new additions. Fans will remember Nyla Harris, also, who moved into a forward spot at the end of the season and impressed with her speed, jumping ability and skills. Merissah Russell also saw significant time as the season progressed and she's a tall (6'0") guard who knows Walz's system. Finally, a healthy Alexia Mobley, will add the strong rebounding that every squad needs and can jump out of the gym if she's back to normal.
Four returnees that will need to help the seven newcomers. But, it's not like these newcomers are fresh yearlings out of the woods.
(there is Love on campus)
Eylia Love learned a lot in her redshirt year on the bench and in practice and is a tall, 6'1" senior guard who started for a year and a half at Georgia Tech...so she knows the ACC from a couple of viewpoints.
(Nina won't bring any Gators to the KFC YUM!)
Nina Rickards was a starter at Florida and has gone through the battles of playing the best of the nation. She's a superb defender, too. She led the Gators in minutes played and was second in scoring. A proven offensive talent, which is a nice weapon to have.
Kiki Jefferson is another scoring guard. She led James Madison in scoring and grabbed almost eight rebounds a game. She was the 2022-23 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year and totaled almost 1900 points in her four years at JMU.
Sydney Taylor started all of UMass's 32 games last season at guard and received first team All A-10 Conference recognition. She scored 16.1 points a game and led the A-10 in made threes.
Jayda Curry comes in from Cal and led Cal in scoring both seasons she was there. She also led the Pac-12 in scoring her freshman year. She was also an All-Pac-12 First team player both years and was the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.
Hennie van Schaik comes in from CSU-Bakersfield and the forward also had Dutch National team experience. An aggressive rebounder and a proven scorer in the paint. She was on the All -Big West freshman team her first season.
(Height is always good, and Eseosa has that)
Eseosa Imafidon will come in as a freshman and most likely redshirt, but the 6'5" center averaged a "double-double" in her senior year at Proctor Academy. She's from Nigeria and didn't start playing basketball until 2019.
So, extra practices and a pre-season tournament is just what the doctor ordered for a team full of talent that needs some time to master how to play with each other and as a team. And, that's what they'll get. The GLOBL JAM gives them extra practices and four games in five days. Starting on Wednesday, July 12th...the Cards WBB squad will play three opponents (Team Africa, Canada and Puerto Rico) in four days before going into the finals on Sunday, July 16th.
(Jess Laemmle was a freshman who stayed the whole time)
The concept of mixing old and new student athletes seemed to work well for LSU last year, after, they did take the national championship. And, it looks like that'll be the way of college basketball from now on. Bring 'em in off the portal and if you need a few more, add some freshmen. In Louisville's case, last year, the freshmen were a mixed bag -- you had a few leave and several stay. We've seen that before and will most likely will again down the road.
Just what American TV Channel or internet feed might be picking these up is unknown to us currently, but we'll pass it along when we find out.