[stextbox id=”custom”]By Sonja Sykes
One thing Jeff Walz will confirm about the University of Louisville Women’s basketball team is that this isn’t last year’s national runners-up. Gone are Angel McCoughtry and Candyce Bingham to graduation. Also missing are Brandie Radde, Tiera Stephen, Mary Jackson and Janae Howard to other venues.
These departures,Â pluprevious weason injuries and other mishaps, have the Lady Cards down to seven probable players for the exhibition opener against Northern Kentucky.
- Becky Burke, Keisha Hines, Chauntise Wright, Nikki Burton, Ashley Rainey, Monique Reid and Rachel Story are ready to go.
- Last year’s starting point guard Dez Byrd is still less that 100% on a knee injured during the NCAA run and needs a couple of weeks. Laura Terry is also hobbled and not expected until mid-November. Freshman Asia Taylor is still recovering from a broken tibia and dislocated ankle from her senior season in high school.and LaToya Johnson suffered a concussion in practice.
- Gwen Rucker is serving the volleyball team right now.
- The bright spot is the return of Wright. Although her minutes may be limited because of her conditioning, her inside presence and accurate shooting will help a Card team that has no proven scorers return except Hines, Burke and Reid. Walz credits Nikki Burton as being the most impressive newcomer. Rainey will be pressed into service immediately.
Qlthough the talent level looks to be off the charts, this Lady Card team may take a while to jell. Be assured, though, that when finally healthy and possessing a little depth, the Cards will enter Big East conference fully prepared toÂ maybe, and that’s a big maybe, challenge UConn for the title.