Jeff Walz had only seven healthy players available for action against Northern Kentucky University. With six minutes to go that number was down to five…with Tise Wright on the bench after fouling out and Ashley Rainey suffering a leg cramp. Good thing the Cards were up 70-42 and could coast in with a 25-point win, 79-54.
Keisha Hines logged a double-double with 22 points and 14 rebounds. The junior dominated the boards on both ends of the court and only made two fouls in the game.
Hines’ tag team partner in the paint Wright made a successful return to the court after sitting out last year with 8 points a several blocked shots. Tise may need a bit more conditioning but she still has the touch around the basket and seemed tickled to be out on the floor with the team again.
Freshman Ashley Rainey contributed 18 points and proved to be another strong inside threat for Louisville this afternoon. Leg cramps sidelined her later in the second half but Rainey goes to the boards hard and can stroke it from outside as well.
Nikki Burton displayed a nice outside touch as well and dropped 11 points thru the net in a starting role this afternoon. She runs the fast break with abandon and showed some outside shooting skills also.
Mo Reid showed her ability to crash the boards and finished with eight points. Becky Burke and Rachel Story did a good job of directing the offense from the guard positions and Louisville used their superior quickness to run NKU into submission in the second half.
Candyce Bingham and Angel McCoughtry were in attendance and drew a big cheer when introduced during a timeout. Angel signed autographs and posed for photos the entire time she was in the Hall and Bingham, now working for the Women’s FastBreak club at UofL watched the action intently from the end zone.
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.
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=”custom”] Polly Harrington, an athletic 6-footer from Kansas City, Kansas has committed to play for the University of Louisville women’s basketball team. Harrington is the fourth verbal commitment to Louisville from the 2010 class. She joins Charmaine Tay, Antonita Slaughter and Sheronne Vails.
Here’s what ESPN says about her:
“Her natural feel for the game and her strength have her playing with the effectiveness of a 6-2 player. She is aggressive and physical and does a good job of delivering contact to the defense so they can’t get off the ground to bother her shot. Almost any taller defender will have trouble keeping her from facing up and going around them…”
A mystery is whether a reported verbal from Lauren Okafor, a 6-foot-3 player from New Haven, Connecticut, still stands. It was reported in her local newspaper but she is never included in any listing of Lady Card commits.[/stextbox]