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.
[stextbox id=”custom”] Shawnta’ Dyer, a dynamic 6-foot-2 forward from Marion, Ohio, has made a verbal commitment to Jeff Walz and the University of Louisville women’s basketball team for the 2010 season.
As a junior, Dyer averaged 23 points 10 rebounds, and two blocks per game. ESPN Insider reports she scores “on the perimeter and in the post with effectiveness and ease … and attacks the rim with strong ball-handling skills on one play and posts aggressively on the next. Dyer is one of those players who seems to be everywhere on the floor.”
She is rated the 56th best player in the nation by Hoopgurlz.com and is the fifth top 100 player to commit to Louisville.
Meanwhile, the 6-foot-6 Jennifer Hamson from Utah did what everybody but her knew she would do, decide to stay home with a commitment to Brigham Young.
Expectations are raised when you’re fresh off appearing in the national championship game. The situation is no different for the University of Louisville women’s basketball team. Coach Jeff Walz has set a high standard and will never coast.Â So what’s going on at Cardinal Arena these days:
Kenyatta Gill, a 6-foot-1 transfer from Pensacola Junior college, has not enrolled and won’tÂ be on the roster. She has some unresolved academic issues.
Gwen Rucker has changed her mind, and is expected to join the basketball team after the volleyball season. She originally planned to red shirt to focus on volleyball. Her depth is needed.
LaToya Johnson, a 5-foot-5 guard transfer from Kansas City, is expected to contribute at point guard. She may remind fans ofÂ Patrika Barlow with her ball handling skills and ability to spot the open player.
Rachel Story, a 5-foot-7 guard from Milwaukee, is also gaining respect at point guard. The freshman came to Louisville after decommitting to Marquette.
Angel McCoughtry, still beaming with her WNBA Rookie of the Year award, is headed to Russia. Stay away from the borscht, caviar and vodka, No. 35.
Walz is on the go as usual. After a team/recruit dinner Friday, he’s in Iowa today and at a coaching clinic in Nebraska tomorrow. He’ll be appearing soon in a town near you.
stextbox id=”custom”]Is a 6-foot-6 center in the cards for University of Louisville women’s basketball?
Jennifer Hamson, from Pleasant Valley, Utah, has had a home visit from U of L coach Jeff Walz and plans to visit the Louisville campus in the near future. There’s stiff competition, however, from universities within her home state, including Brigham Young and Utah. Oklahoma is also on her itinerary for a campus visit.
Also a gymnast, she wants to play both basketball and volleyball at the collegiate level. Which means, of course, that she’ll be interested in how Gwen Rucker is faring at U of L. Gwen started most basketball games last season but is redshirting this season and focusing on volleyball this year.
One would hope her potential teammates, the near capacity crowds for volleyball at Cardinal Arena and the construction of the new downtown basketball arena make a favorable impression during her Louisville visit.[/stextbox]
[stextbox id=”alert” caption=”McCoughtry For 21 In Playoff Game” color=”111111″ ccolor=”ffffff” bgcolor=”BABABA” cbgcolor=”111111″ bcolor=”ffffcc” image=”http://simplelib.co.cc/wp-content/plugins/wp-special-textboxes/images/heart.png”]
Hats off to Angel McCoughtry. Despite the 94-89 loss to Detroit in an WNBA playoff game, she had 21 points — 15 in the first half, forcing the opponent to switch defenses and game strategy in the second. Unfortunately, without starting point guard Lehning, the Dream couldnâ€™t get its half court offense clicking. Get â€˜em Friday at home, Angel.