If you chose to stay home rather than help Pack the House for the University of Louisville-Utah women’s basketball game, you missed a significant event: the unveiling of a future Cardinal star.
Before today, Shelby Harper, a 5-foot-4 guard from Allen County, wasn’t even listed on the roster on the U of L web site. She’s a walk-on, had seen less than 10 minutes of playing time in her team’s first six games.
Well, surprise, welcome to prime time. She has speed, smarts and sizzle to complement her point guard skills and defensive intensity.
Remember Roger Burkman and his defensive intensity? Too long ago? How about Andre McGee’s relentless pace? The female version is Shelby Harper.
Coach Jeff Walz didn’t use Harper in the first 20 minutes with Utah building a 28-22 lead. He didn’t dare take her out in the second, with her inspirational play leading to a 60-55 win.
Make no mistake. Becky Burke is probably the go-to player, scoring 20 points in this one. But little Shelby Harper, a perky blonde dynamo is quickly going to become a fan favorite.
* * *
Official attendance was 8,213. Read Sonja’s take on the game here.
Based on incredible success on the recruiting trail, the University of Louisville women’s basketball team is building the foundation for some phenomenal seasons. Sunday is “Pack The House” day at Freedom Hall.Â Get out there, even if you have to take advantage of coupons at Rally’s. Bandwagons are for pansies.
[stextbox id=”alert”]Deseree Byrd, the starting point guard on the University of Louisville women’sÂ basketball team, is expected to undergo knee surgery in early December which would sideline her for the rest of the season.
Coach Jeff Walz told Card Game’s Sonja Sykes that Byrd will play in the opening home game Sunday against Tennessee Tech at Freedom Hall and will travel to Cancun for the Caribbean Challenge Tournament on Thanksgiving weekend. “We will see how she does after that but it looks like she will have to have surgery early December that will keep her out for the year,” he said.
Byrd has been visibly slowed by the knee injury that incurred late last season in her team’s march to the NCAA championship game, won by UConn. She played less than 25 minutes in each of U of L’s first two games. The Lady Cards are 1-1.
[stextbox id=”alert”]Hartford scored 11 straight points after falling behind 4-2 and never looked back en route to a 62-50 win over the visiting University of Louisville women’s basketball team. U of L, led by Becky Burke’s 15 points, was never able to get closer than seven points the rest of the game.[/stextbox]
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.