by Paul Sykes
Jeff Walz looked at the University of Louisville women’s basketball team’s four upcoming basketball games early last week, shook his head and smiled. “Big East. Nothing comes easy.”
At the halfway mark of this gauntlet, though, the Lady Cards are 2-0. An impressive win over a veteran St. John’s squadÂ in the KFC Yum! Center last Tuesday and a masterful escapeÂ from a brutalÂ bunch of Pittburgh basketbrawlers on Sunday in front of nearly 10,000 UofL fans.
The road awaits, a trail pockmarked with potholes and ruts.
- Wednesday finds Louisville in South BendÂ against 14th-rankedÂ Notre Dame, which barely lost 79-76 to UConn at home Saturday.Â The Irish, with aÂ 13-4 won-lost record,Â are deep, talented and experienced. Their losses areÂ to No. 1 Baylor, No. 2 UConn, No. 10 Kentucky,Â and No. 15 UCLA but have wins over Wake Forest, Purdue and Gonzaga.
- Skylar Diggins drives the Irish train and the talented point guard may be the best in the Big East. Her teammates — Natalie Novosel, Devereaux Peters, Brittany Mallory and Natalie Achonwa all rank in the topÂ 20 in multiple conference stats. The Irish are #1 in turnover margin, creating 7.9 moreÂ per outingÂ and lead the league in steals, with 15.2Â per game.
- Louisville then heads to the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut for a noon Saturday showdown against UConn. You know the leader of this bunch. Maya Moore is All-American, All-BIG EAST, All-World and better than 80% of the current WNBA players.
- UConn may have lost to an inspired Stanford team by 12 on the West coast, but it just might have been the wake up call needed to get them to refocused.Â UConn plays smart, never beats itself and pressure opponents forÂ 40 minutes.
The Lady Cards get a week off after the UConn game. They’ll need it.