Jude Schimmel gets her shot in WNBA camp

Jude Schimmel is back in the game. For how long is anybody’s guess.

She has been invited to participate in pre-season training camp by the Dallas Wings, a Women’s National Basketball Association franchise.

Schimmel, who played at the University of Louisville from 2011 through 2014, should know pretty soon whether she makes the squad. The Wings are scheduled to open the 2016 WNBA season on May 14th against the Indiana Fever in Indianapolis.Jude-Schimmel2

She faces a major challenge. The Wings are already loaded at guard with Skylar Diggins (Notre Dame) and Odyssey Sims (Baylor) returning from the Tulsa Shock. The franchise, which finished third in the Western Division last season, was renamed and moved to Dallas during the off season.

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Corey Ray just keeps getting better at Louisville

Corey Ray is the cream of the college position player crop. That’s according to D1Baseball.com, a premier site for college baseball.

“The Louisville star has done everything scouts have asked from, and has shown improvements in just about every facet of his game so far this spring,” writes analyst Frankie Piliere. “And scouts are fully taking notice, particularly in recent weeks.”

Corey Ray at home in Louisville.
Corey Ray at home in Louisville.

Coming out of high school, however, Ray didn’t want to play college baseball. He wanted to go straight to professional baseball after being drafted  by the Seattle Mariners in the thirty-third round of the Major League Baseball draft in 2013.

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Fifth straight for Louisville baseball over Kentucky

Nothing better than beating Kentucky for a fifth straight time, as has occurred in both baseball and football.

Devin Hairston’s hot bat made the latest win happen for the University of Louisville baseball team with a high bouncer over second base in the bottom of the ninth, sending Colin Lyman home for a 7-6 win over UK.

Anthony Kidston back in the win column again.
Anthony Kidston back in the win column.

Witnessed by crowd of 4,642 at Jim Patterson Stadium on Tuesday, most of them still on hand for the heroics and celebration at game’s end.

Hairston continues an almost unbelievable hitting surge, raising his batting average to .388 for the season while driving in 31 runs and scoring 40 runs himself. A year ago he was struggling at the plate, batting eighth in the lineup. He was the cleanup hitter on Tuesday, reaching base three times on singles.

In his last 16 games, Hairston is hitting .400 with a home run, with four doubles, 17 RBI and 27 runs scored.

The win was extra special for Louisville right-hander Anthony Kidston who had not won a game in two seasons. During his first two seasons, he was 14-1, winning nine games during his sophomore year. Beating the arch-rival cures a lot of ailments. Maybe just what Kidston needed after struggling mightily with his control last season.

Righthander Kade McClure, facing the Wildcats for the second time in a week, lasted six innings, giving up five runs and five hits.

Corey Ray loomed large again for the Cardinals, connecting in 2-for-5 at-bat, including his 11th home run of the season, adouble and driving in two runs. His 22nd career home run highlighted a three-run seventh inning as Louisville charged back from a 5-1 deficit.

UofL women picked to contend for national title

That close. So near, yet so far away.

Jeff Walz has been there twice before, the championship game of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament. Only to see his University of Louisville women’s basketball team overpowered, out-quicked and dismembered by UConn. Not even close at the half in either game.

The good news for Walz and everybody else next season is that UConn will lose Brianna Stewart and two other All-Americans from a program that won four straight championships. The sobering news, however, is Geno Auriemma, who has won the tournament 11 times, will probably be back with a strong support cast. No way UConn could continue its dominance of the women’s game. Or is there?

UofL recruits Cierra Johnson and Kylee Shook.
Recruits Cierra Johnson and Kylee Shook.

ESPN bracketologist Charlie Creme thinks not. He’s picking UofL to be the No. 2 team in the nation next season, behind only Notre Dame, while ahead of South Carolina, UConn, Baylor, Texas, Maryland, Ohio State, UCLA and Stanford. Creme may given the Irish the nod but they weren’t that much better than UofL this season, claiming a five-point win only after Myisha Hines-Allen fouled out in the last three minutes.

UofL will return 10 players from a team that posted a 26-8 won-lost record, including Hines-Allen, Mariya Moore and Asia Durr. Joining the squad is an all-star recruiting class that include five-star post players Ciera Johnson and Kyle Shook, five-star guard Sydney Zambrotta, four-star forward Jazmine Jones and three-star forward Bionca Dunham.

Shook, a 6-foot-5 recruit from Colorado Springs, averaged 29.6 points and 15.0 rebounds to go along with 4.9 blocks per game. Johnson, a 6-foot-4 standout from Texas, averaged 14.9 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 3.2 blocks and 1.2 steals per game.

Walz may be in a position to add another McDonald’s All-American in 6-foot-3 Chatrice White, who has indicated she will transfer to another school from Illinois. White, who averaged 18.4 points and 9.3 rebounds, is reportedly visiting UofL this week.  Oh, and she played on a USA U-19 team that included Walz and Moore last summer.

The UofL women experienced some significant growing pains this past season after losing four of their first five games, before winning 16 straight games. They ended on a sour note, however, losing two of the last three outings. They will not be taking winning for granted next time around.

With a year of hard knocks behind them, the UofL women should be force with which to be reckoned during the 2016-17 season. Tons of experience to go with an abundance of size, speed and shooters, and a coach who knows exactly where he wants them to be in the final game. He wants them to cut down the net next time, however.

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Sydney Brackemyre
Sydney Brackemyre

Sydney Brackemyre, always a positive presence on the bench, will be transferring. She was never able to contribute after re-injuring a knee and undergoing two operations during two seasons at UofL.

“Unfortunately, her knee injuries have not allowed her to compete at this level,” said Walz. “I really admire the positive attitude she brought to the gym each day, and I am hopeful she can find a program, where she can truly flourish.”

She’s the second player to transfer, joining Taja Cole, seeking more playing time elsewhere.

Louisville football fans party, celebrate spring and Lamar Jackson

Crystal clear, sunny, 75 degrees, perfect day for the University of Louisville spring football game.

Celebrating spring, reuniting with old friends, enjoying no parking restrictions, packing the Green and Bronze lots, parking as close to the tunnel as possible.

24SpringGameMore than 16,000 fans on hand at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium on Saturday. More than ready for some football, the amplifiers going full blast for tailgating, screams piercing the air from the thrill rides, corn dogs being devoured in the carnival area. People of all ages, each seemingly wearing unique Cardinal gear.

The Red Rage Tailgate team was there, James Durst, Josh Stinson and Dave Magee with their converted bus, welcoming dozens of UofL fans. Free Bloody Mary’s, mixed drinks, doughnuts topping a full menu of early morning food. Invited any and all UofL fans to stop by, talk Cardinal sports. These guys live for football and tailgating, and their enthusiasm is contagious.

26SpringGameBesides quenching their thirst for tailgating, fans were eager to see Quarterback Lamar Jackson in action again. All those wide receivers, the running backs, a maturing offensive line, and all the players on defense who passed up the NFL draft to play UofL football another year.

Lamar Jackson would not disappoint, throwing for 519 yards and eight touchdowns, leading the Red team to a 73-7 victory over the White team in the annual Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Spring Game.

Jackson completed 24 of his 29 passes, including an 85-yard strike to James Quick toward the end of the second quarter. Jackson capped the half with a 54-yard score to Jamari Staples, his third touchdown pass of at least 40 yards. Quick, looking better than ever, with five catches for 152 yards.

Wide receiver Jaylen Smith also had five receptions, finishing with 99 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Cole Hikutini, who was on the receiving end of Jackson’s first two touchdown passes, an eight-yarder and a seven-yarder. He logged 75 yards.

On defense, Stacy Thomas and Chucky Williams each had a Red-team best seven tackles, with Thomas recording 2.5 for loss.

A great day to be a UofL football fan. Click on photos below for a sampling.