Basketball season is upon us. The state of Kentucky weeps for joy. For the Louisville women's basketball team, they look to continue success from late in last year's season.
Last season taught us that even with a slow start plenty can happen. The Cards started 1-4 and had a fifth loss before finals had even concluded for the fall semester. They then went on a fifteen game winning streak before falling by single digits at #3 Notre Dame and won out after that. U of L went 2-2 in the post-season and lost those games by a combined six points to finish 26-8 and a #8 ranking.
Jared's Projected Starting Five:
Point Guard: Briahanna Jackson Jackson was one of the highest scorers for the Cards last season and hit the career 1,000 points mark late in the season. On the defensive side of the ball she was a threat to opponents and was one of the best in the ACC in steals. As a red-shirt senior this season Jackson will carry a leadership role, including what should be a team captain spot.
Shooting Guard: Arica Carter Carter was not one of the best in scoring or rebounds, mostly surrounded by other talent. She shot 41.0% from behind the arc, but was well-known for her high number of assists. Carter will provide a solid defensive presence and her energy will be a good spark for the Cards.
Small Forward: Mariya Moore Moore actually had a down year from her freshman year. This isn't because of a poor sophomore season, but because how incredible her freshman year was. She was an assassin from the three point arc and earned many of her other points at the free throw line. The thing about Moore is that she will never have two poor performances in a row.
Power Forward: Myisha Hines-Allen U of L fans love to see Hines'Allen's tough game-play. She is reigning ACC Player of the Year and received honorable mention All-American by the Associated Press. She led the team in scoring last season. Her points, rebounds, field goal percentage, and free throw percentage were all top ten in the ACC.
Center: Cortnee Walton Does women's basketball really have a center? Walton's 6'3 presence will be felt down in the box. She was in the national rankings for offensive and defensive rebounds. In 2015, Walton recorded 136 offensive rebounds, the most in the Jeff Walz era. Her scoring could be higher, but with so much talent in other locations scoring is not Walton's primary concern.
Jared's game by game predictions: 11/11/2016 at UT Martin - Win 11/13/2016 vs Belmont - Win 11/16/2016 at Middle Tennessee - Win
(Basketball Hall of Fame Classic) 11/19/2016 vs Bowling Green - Win 11/20/2016 vs Lafayette - Win 11/21/2016 vs Chattanooga - Win 11/27/2016 vs South Carolina (in Springfield, Ma.) - Loss
(ACC/Big Ten Challenge) 12/01/2016 vs Maryland - Win
12/04/2016 vs Kentucky - Loss 12/11/2016 vs Western Kentucky - Win 12/14/2016 vs South Dakota State - Win 12/16/2016 vs College of Charleston - Win 12/18/2016 vs Evansville - Win 12/21/2016 at Vanderbilt - Win 12/29/2016 vs Syracuse - Win
1/02/2017 at Duke - Loss 1/05/2017 at Virginia - Win 1/08/2017 vs Pittsburgh - Win 1/12/2017 at Florida State - Win 1/15/2017 vs Miami - Win 1/18/2017 vs Georgia Tech - Win 1/22/2017 at South Florida - Win 1/26/2017 at Clemson - Win 1/29/2017 at Pittsburgh - Win 2/02/2017 vs NC State - Win 2/06/2017 at Notre Dame - Loss 2/09/2017 at Virginia Tech - Win 2/12/2017 vs Boston College - Win 2/19/2017 vs North Carolina - Win 2/23/2017 vs Virginia - Win 2/26/2017 at Wake Forest - Win
Regular season predicted record: 27-4, 2nd in the ACC (behind Notre Dame)
ACC Tournament: Finalist
NCAA Tournament: Elite Eight
Louisville is ranked fifth for a reason this year- they're good. Real good. No one graduated from the team, although Sydney Brackemyre transferred and Dakota Weatherford stopped playing to focus on education. Taja Cole also transferred and Erin DeGrate has decided to discontinue playing basketball.
There is potential for U of L to go on a losing streak early in the season when they face South Carolina, Maryland, and Kentucky. Currently the Cards are sandwiched in the rankings by the Gamecocks and Terrapins. On paper, UK should be no match for Louisville, but the Wildcats have had Walz's number in recent years. Notre Dame is preseason #1, even above Connecticut, and a win in South Bend will be no easy task. This will be the third straight season U of L and UConn have not played each other, but the Huskies took all three match-ups in 2013-14. Louisville has reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament every year since the 2010-11 season. Jeff Walz's teams have always put up a good fight in the post-season with their only blowout loss being to Connecticut in the 2013 National Championship.