Weak Signal But Lady Cards Outlast Utah

By Sonja Sykes

The floor in the living room, hallway to the kitchen, back porch…I worked as hard as any of the Lady Cards tonight pacing and fretting this one to the finish. I must admit. I don’t do games on the radio well. Especially when the signal keeps fading in and out. Nevertheless, the Lady Cards win one on the road tonight 59-48 over Utah. Here are the ugly details.

Louisville fell behind early in this one, trailing 8-2 at the 15:58 mark. A rally, led by Candyce Bingham got the Cards up 12-8, but the Utes struggled back, and led several times late in the first half before a Cardinal blitz with Angel and Keisha Hines on the bench ended the first half with the Cards up 31-23. During that same 20 minutes of basketball action, I covered four rooms, stubbed one toe, chased Paul out of the kitchen twice and got one call from a six year old. I needed the 15-minute rest also at the break. .

The newspaper showed an 11-point win. With Dez Byrd getting 17 points, Candyce with 12 and Angel adding 11. There was no mention, however, of the numerous whistles the refs blew in the second half. Announcers Jim Kelch and Adrienne Johnson put it politely by referring to it as a “tight” game. It was, in fact, a referees dream. It was ugly as the faces Paul kept making at me during my rants.

Give the Utes credit. They cut the lead to three points late and made the Cards earn it from the stripe over the final four minutes. Give me a couple of assists as well. I know I grabbed four or five rebounds in the second half and almost took out the two Yorkies guarding me. Laura Terry hurt her knee in the second half. I’m not sure it wasn’t me who caused it, trying to push her into a defensive stance.

Please, girls. Come back to town. These radio games are wearing me out. Paul locked himself in the bedroom. Cards win, and I may get the couch tonight. The price of victory…

30 Turnovers But 30-Point Win For Lady Cards

By Sonja Sykes

If there is one thing Jeff Walz can count on, it is that defense wins games and overcomes poor offensive nights. Fortunately, the University of Louisville women’s basketball had a dominating defense and a potent offense in a 72-42 victory over Austin Peay on Monday.

However, Walz was almost beside himself over 30 Louisville turnovers. After apologizing to fans for a sloppy game on his post-game radio show, he declared that the Lady Cards would face two-a-day practices over the next few days. “We’ve got to get this thing worked out,” he said.

Still the Lady Cards were a dominant force, jumping out to a 20-2 lead. Austin Peay didn’t get its second basket until 4:18 remained the first half. UofL did it with multiple combinations and a mix of freshmen and seniors.

The first five minutes of the game could have been entitled the Angel McCoughtry show, she tallied the Cards first eight points. If that wasn’t enough, she once stepped out to drill a picture perfect three pointer to lead the Cards to a 35-13 lead at the end of the first half. Freshman Monique Reid dazzled the crowd with a variety of drives to the basket and two three pointers as part of her 12 points. She led all scorers with 17 points for the night.

Angel was presented with a game ball at halftime for her ascent to the top of the Lady Cards all-time leading scorers. She added 15 more during the game. Former record holder Nell Knox was on hand to escort Angel to half-court for the award. By the way, Nell (1989-93) looks like she could still suit up and collect a double-double.

(Continued after the jump)

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McCoughtry Sets Scoring Record

In Lady Cards’ Season Opener

By Sonja Sykes

Angel McCoughtry became the leading scorer in Lady Cards history with a twisting lay up move with 13:20 to go as the University of Louisville rolled past Tennessee Tech 82-49 in a women’s basketball game at Cookeville, Tenn.

McCoughtry passed Nell Knox’s old mark of 1,899 points and finished the game with 1,906. Knox had held the record since 1993. McCoughtry also recorded her 41st double-double, with 29 points and a team-high 13 rebounds.

Despite the win, Jeff Walz cited the need for better half court offense execution and a much better post presence from Keisha Hines who fouled out with a mere eight minutes of playing time. The Cards were sluggish in their half court offensive production, especially in the first half. That just won’t cut it in Big East play, and Walz knows it, stressing the need for dramatic improvement from Hines in his post game comments. Give Laura Terry credit for good fill in time at the post.

The Cards jumped out to a early 8-2 lead after a McCoughtry jumper, and enjoyed a 13-2 advantage after a Laura Terry lay up. Walz substituted frequently from that point on, and the Cards led by 19 several times in the first half before a late Tech run cut it to 37-23 at the half. McCoughtry had 19 first half points. Defensive pressure, especially after made baskets led the Cards to first half domination.

The Cards jumped out to a 7-0 run in the second half after a McCoughtry tip-in and led 44-23. McCoughtry’s lay up after a steal set the record and gave the Cards a 48-34 advantage. The Cards steadily increased the lead from that point on as Walz tried a lot of different combinations and held the Tech team to only one point in the last six minutes to win going away.

Monique Reid played well in her first game as a Card with 9 points and some key rebounds. Candyce Bingham finished with 13, and Laura Terry added 11. Despite 26 turnovers, 16 of those in the first half…and most of them unforced, the Cards had little trouble against Tech’s defense, and played all 11 that made the trip.

The Lady Cards return to action Monday night against Austin Peay at the Kentucky International Convention Center.

Jeff Walz Lands Another Elite Class

By Sonja Sykes

University of Louisville women’s basketball coach Jeff Walz has received four commitments for the 2009-2010 season.  Most recruiting analysts agree that Walz has landed a top 20 class for a second year in a row

Nikki BurtonShe’s a 5-foot-11 point guard out of West Charlotte, NC, with a top 10 ranking by the recruiting experts. She can dish, drive, hit the boards and drill the three.

Ashley Raines — A 6-foot-3 forward/center out of Warren East High School here in Kentucky is considered by most to be the front runner for player of the year. She was the state’s top junior, averaging 27 points and 11 boards last season. She runs the court extremely well and potent in the paint.

Rachel Story — Was so excited about being a Lady Card that she faxed her commitment in at 12:01 AM on signing day. Previously a verbal to Marquette, Story is  a 5-foot-7 guard who has decent shooting range and his a speed demon up and down the court, with or without the ball.

Asia Taylor –  a 6-foot-1 wing player out of Columbus that is considered in the running for Ohio player of the year. She is ranked in the top 30 by several recruiting experts.  She will remind Lady Card fans of Angel McCoughtry with her talent, quickness, shot and full court presence.

These four will hit the campus as Candyce Bingham and Angel leave, and should be immediate contributors to a team that is rapidly emerging as one of the Big East powerhouses. There is some speculation that Walz may also bring in a highly ranked junior college player to join the fold. Who, when and what position she’ll play isn’t confirmed yet. Logic would dictate that it could be a post player.

Welcome to the Ville, Asia, Ashley, Rachel and Nikki! We’re glad to have you in the Lady Cards, and hope you have healthy and very successful senior seasons.

A Few Softball Questions For Jeff Walz

Our intrepid reporter was not armed with any deep probing questions but she did gain some interesting insights into the mindset of Jeff Walz, coach of the University of Louisville women’s basketball team. She interviewed him a few weeks before Chauntise Wright was injured.

By Sonja Sykes
You’ve been the Lady Cards head coach for 20 months now. How are things going?
Our time in Louisville has been a very fast but exciting time.  So much has happened in such a short period that my staff and I are trying hard to make sure we enjoy every moment.  I am very fortunate to work for a great athletic department with Tom Jurich and Julie Hermann.  They have both made this a very smooth transition.

What’s the biggest challenge about being a head coach?
The hardest thing are the months May through September. During the season, the daily schedule is pretty much set and you know when your next trip is, who your next opponent is and you prepare.  The other months consist of lots of speaking engagements, RECRUITING and many nights spent out in the community.  I have loved every minute of my time here and once I get adjusted, I know it will become easier.

Where are you in regards to your career?
I am very excited where I am at this point.  I have had the opportunity to work at Western Kentucky, Nebraska, Minnesota and Maryland as an assistant before becoming the head coach at Louisville.  I know that my time at those four schools and winning a National Championship at Maryland helped me get ready for this job.

If you weren’t coaching basketball, what would you be doing?
If I was not coaching basketball I would be a teacher.  My undergraduate degree is in Secondary Education with and emphasis in Business Education and I have a Masters Degree in Education from Western Kentucky.

Do you get pre-game nerves, and if so, how do you overcome them?
I really don’t get pre-game nerves as a coach.  I used to more so as a player but have learned to relax more before the games as a coach.  I have a great staff and we prepare as hard as anyone to make sure our players are ready for game day.  When the players are prepared, it allows a coach to focus more on the game instead of being nervous.

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