--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.