--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photo by Jared Anderson
The Louisville Cardinals played their first game of the season on Tuesday; defeating Western Kentucky 102-80. While it was a lopsided win, there were a few things that stuck out in the box score.
Asia Durr being Asia Durr
Louisville’s star last year was the brightest moment on Tuesday. The Senior guard made 12 of 21 for 33 points, four rebounds, and two assists. Those numbers aren’t shabby. In fact, Durr’s 33 led all scorers. And Durr scored Louisville’s first 11 points- in less than two minutes.
While 33 points is a tough benchmark to maintain, Durr could average 20 this season. In 2016-17, Durr averaged 19.2; and last year, she averaged 18.7. While it may look like a decline, Durr scored more points each season.
Her shooting percentage from two and three have also improved year to year.
It will be interesting to see what Durr does against UT Chattanooga on Friday. Chattanooga went 17-13, and made it to the first round of the post-season women’s NIT last year.
Evans or Carter
One surprise was in the starting lineup. Sophomore Dana Evans started ahead of redshirt Senior Arica Carter. While Evans is the starting point guard of the future; Carter had the job all of last season, and many believed to be this season as well.
While it wasn’t asked in the post-game presser, Jeff Walz could just be trying out a new look, something in practice, or a late-game substitution. It could’ve been anything. Carter still did play 19 minutes, and put up 19 points, three rebounds, and one assist. 12 points were from three. In comparison, Evans played 22, and notched four points, one board, and five assists.
Walz spoke about how starting doesn’t matter as much as who plays the final three minutes. Both saw action in the final three minutes. Evans was on the floor for the final 1:34.
Louisville has a deep team, especially at guard. There are multiple looks Walz could go with. But the starting point guard could be something to watch for.
Four guards, Diop leads in rebounds
The starting lineup on Tuesday was: G-Evans, G-Durr, G-Jaz Jones, G-Yacine Diop, and F-Sam Fuehring. Walz went with a fast lineup, and four guards. There were multiple looks that Louisville could’ve went with- Kylie Shook and Bionca Dunham are both over 6-2.
Tuesday proved that height wasn’t necessarily needed in this case. Both Diop and Jones practiced with the forwards. Jones has size, with a height of 6-0; and Diop has athleticism. Diop had a double-double on Tuesday, with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Jones blocked two shots while rebounding five times.
UT Chattanooga is about as tall as Western. Louisville may go with the same look on Friday, or go taller.
Jeff Walz notched win No. 300 on Tuesday, and it couldn't have been any more memorable. The Louisville coach started his career at Western Kentucky, as an assistant under Paul Sanderford from 1996-1997. He still is popular in Bowling Green.
Walz's 300th couldn't have came at a more memorable place.
Friday’s game is at 7pm. The Cardinals open at the KFC Yum! Center on Monday, November 26th, at 7pm against Miami of Ohio.
--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photos by Seth Spalding
The Louisville Cardinals opened 2018-19 on a high note.
The last time Jeff Walz and company played a game; it was a heartbreaking overtime loss in the Final Four. Louisville shook off the feeling with a dominating 102-80 win over the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers; led by Asia Durr’s stellar performance.
Durr led scoring with 33 points. She led a quartet of double-digit scorers; including Arica Carter (19), newcomer Yacine Diop (11), and Kylie Shook (10). Diop also had a double-double.
Durr jumped had 11 within the first two minutes. In fact, Durr scored Louisville’s first 11 points- before newcomer Yacine Diop scored a two-point basket. The Cardinals went on a 12-0 drive before Western scored another basket. Louisville’s largest lead of the quarter was 15; 2:31 into the game. At the end of the first quarter, Louisville led 32-21. Durr led scorers with 16 points in the first quarter.
Western played tough in the second quarter. The Hilltoppers went on a 12-2 run over the middle part of the quarter, cutting Louisville’s lead to five; before Arica Carter stopped Western’s momentum with a three-point basket. A layup from Jaz Jones and three from Durr ended the half.
Louisville led 54-43 at halftime. Durr led scorers with 21. Louisville shot 55.6 percent from the field, and 45 from beyond the arc.
Both teams played sluggish to start the second half. Both teams were shooting under 50 percent for the first five minutes.
Then, it was all Louisville. The Cardinals outscored WKU 31-8 in the period. It was helped by a long 17-0 run. The run was kicked off with a pair of free-throws from Yacine Diop at 6:14, and lasted until nearly the two-minute mark. Louisville led 85-51 at the end of three.
The Hilltoppers began winning the fourth quarter, when the Cardinals had put their reserves into the game. Bionca Dunham made two free-throws with 3:25 in the game to put the Cardinals in triple-digits scoring.
Louisville moves to 1-0. They travel to Tennessee, and will take on UT Chattanooga on Friday, November 9th, at 7pm. The Cardinals will play their first game at the KFC Yum! Center on Monday, November 26th; hosting Miami of Ohio.
--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photo by Seth Spalding
The No. 5 Louisville Cardinals tip off tomorrow; kicking off another run at Louisville’s first national championship title. Jeff Walz and Co. debut in Bowling Green, against Western Kentucky; on Tuesday, November 6th.
When the Cardinals take the floor, they’ll look like last year’s team for the most part- four of their five starters return. The only difference is the loss of Myisha Hines-Allen. Her replacement isn’t set.
It could change based on opposing matchups. The two natural choices may be forwards Kylie Shook and Bionca Dunham. Without Hines-Allen, Sam Fuehring is the leader of the front-court.
“Kylie and Bionca Dunham will have to step up.” Walz said at the women’s basketball media day, “Sam will be defender by the best post player.”
Another potential look could be going with four guards; technically. Jazmine Jones played as a small forward for much of last year. Newcomer Yacine Diop, a high-scoring grad transfer from Pittsburgh, has also shown athleticism and may play forward.
Diop isn’t the only newcomer. Louisville has three freshmen on the roster, one of which has redshirted. Walz spoke about how fans will enjoy watching Seygan Robins and Mykasa Robinson. Both will see playing time on Tuesday. Walz spoke about how they will play in the first half, and maybe in the first quarter.
The highlight of the team is Asia Durr. One of women’s basketball’s best players in 2017-18, Durr has already received multiple preseason accolades- including preseason All-ACC and All-American. She will be in the running for player of the year this year.
As a team, Louisville has received a few accolades. They were picked as the No. 2 team in the ACC- behind Notre Dame (Whom Louisville had beaten twice last season). They’re fifth in the Associated Press Top 25, and fourth in the coaches poll.
They face a tough Atlantic Coast Conference- Six teams are in the Top 25. One of the toughest stretches is a two-game road trip to Duke (21) and Notre Dame (1).
Also on the schedule are the high-octane Connecticut Huskies. After winning three of four quarters, but losing to the Huskies in Storrs; the Cardinals will look for revenge on January 31st in Louisville.
2018-19 will be a season Louisville fans will enjoy. The Cardinals open in the KFC Yum! Center on Monday, November 26th, at 7pm.
--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photo by Seth Spalding
In one week, the Louisville Cardinals tip off in Bowling Green. Before they do; the Cardinals will host their annual media day. The women’s basketball team hopes to give fans and media a look at what the team will do in 2018.
Already, the team is getting recognition. They were picked fifth in multiple polls. The media gave Louisville the No. 2 spot in the ACC; behind Muffet McGraw and national champion Notre Dame.
There are a few things to watch for from Jeff Walz and company.
New Senior leadership
Myisha Hines-Allen, the sole Senior last season, graduated last year. While her departure left a hole in the starting five, the Cardinals will have another leader on the court.
Louisville has four Seniors on the roster. Three returned from last year. Sam Fuehring, Arica Carter, and Asia Durr all started last year; and had a significant impact on the court. All three could be considered as team leaders on the court.
Arica Carter though, may be the one the team looks to the most. As the point guard last year, she lead the team in assists, and played second-most minutes on the team. She can pass the ball around, and ensure that it gets to the right person.
Depth at guard
Louisville is very deep at guard. The Cardinals have nine on the roster, all of which may see playing time. Four of last season’s starting five will likely start again. Carter, Durr, and Jazmine Jones will probably see the bulk of the minutes.
Dana Evans and grad-transfer Yacine Diop will be the first two ff the bench. Evans proved to be a selfless player last season, and managed to assist 134 times; which was second on the team. Her shooting percentage may also improve as she gains experience.
Then there’s Diop. Diop was Pittsburgh’s best player last year, averaging .426 from two and .316 from three; while scoring 15.7 and 6.4 rebounds. She led the team in points and boards. She’ll likely be the first shooter off the bench.
While Louisville has many guards, they lack at forward. Hines-Allen graduated last year, Loretta Kakala transferred to Pacific, and freshman Molly Lockhart will redshirt.
That leaves Bionca Dunham, Kylee Shook, and Fuehring as the three active forwards. To keep the forwards fresh, there will be some rotations that have more than three guards on the floor. Jones, while listed as a guard, can shift over to a small forward if need be. She ranked third in rebounds last year.
The team is smaller than last year. Four players are 6-feet or taller on the roster. They’re down two from 2017-18.
Louisville may rectify that by strong outside shooting. Durr, Carter, Jessica Laemmle and Shook all shot over .300 from beyond the arc.
Hines-Allen averaged 9.6 rebounds and 14 points per game last year. Filling the void won’t fall on any individual player.
In an interview with Walz airing on River City Cards Beyond the Lineup episode 2, Walz spoke about how it will be a team effort. Replacing her rebounds will come from combining multiple player stats together.
Louisville tips off on November 6th in Bowling Green, against Western Kentucky. The game will be at 7pm. They open at the KFC Yum! Center on November 26th, against Miami of Ohio.
Make sure to listen to Beyond the Lineup for a River City Cards exclusive interview with Louisville women’s basketball head coach Jeff Walz, airing Wednesday; October 31st.
--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photo by Jared Anderson
In less than a month, the ACC-champion and defending Lexington-regional champion Louisville Cardinals will begin another campaign; and quest for a national championship. Jeff Walz and the women’s basketball team open up against Western Kentucky on November 6th.
Before the Cardinals take the court, a few questions need to be answered.
How to replace Hines-Allen
Myisha Hines-Allen was one of the best forwards in program history. She broke numerous records, and over 2,000 career points. She was also drafted 19th overall in the WNBA Draft.
Replacing the current Washington Mystic won’t be easy. But Louisville has a few options. Loretta Kakala, Bionca Dunham, and Kylee Shook are three players that could easily step into the role.
Based on last year, Shook could be in the lead for the starting role. In 13.9 minutes per game, Shook averaged 45.9 percent from the field, 38.2 from three, and had 3.6 rebounds per game. She also blocked 51 shots, which was a team lead.
Louisville welcomes a few new faces for the 2018 season. Three true freshmen join the team; Seygan Robins, Mykasa Robinson, and Molly Lockhart. Two redshirts from last year also look to have playing time- Loretta Kakala and Lindsey Duvall. Four of the five are five-star recruits. The other is a three-star.
Then, Louisville welcomes Yacine Diop; one of Pittsburgh’s best players. The Redshirt Senior guard will use her final year of eligibility with the Cardinals. The Senegalese native moved into 18th place on Pitt’s all-time scoring list last year. She led the Panthers in scoring, rebounding, and double-doubles.
Diop scored 26 points against Louisville on January 18th. She tallied over half of the points scored for Pittsburgh in the 77-51 Louisville win.
It will be interesting to see how much playing time the freshmen will get. Diop will get playing time; due to her Senior status.
How to beat last year?
Last year was one of the greatest years in Louisville history. The Cardinals finished 36-3 overall. The only losses were to Florida State, Connecticut, and Mississippi State (in the final four). Louisville won a share of the ACC regular-season title, and beat Notre Dame twice; 100-67 in the regular season, and 74-72 in the ACC Championship game. If Louisville would have defeated Mississippi State; they may have been able to beat Notre Dame a third time for the national title.
And the Cardinals bring nearly everyone back. Currently, multiple ranking sources have Louisville at No. 5. Louisville may be able to break that.
Louisville also returns Asia Durr. Durr led the team in scoring, three-point field goals, and free-throws made. The guard was nothing less than outstanding last year. The accolades stacked up for her in 2018. She was also the ACC player of the year.
With another year of experience, and a great lineup; 2019 may be Louisville’s year.
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