The injury bug has reared its ugly head, permanently sidelining the Lady Cards’ 6-foot-1 forward from the Ukraine who had hoped to return next season.

By Sonja

Yuliya Tokova, starting forward for the Lady Cards in 2006-07, has been advised to not attempt a comeback for the 2008-09 season.

Yuliya sat out 2007-08 recovering from, first, a second ACL operation, and then back surgery to have a herniated lumbar disk repaired. Unfortunately, the lumbar is acting up again, and the docs have ended her career.

Despite the sweet smile and impish grin she displayed on the Cardinal sidelines this past season, Yulie was a fierce competitor on the board for the Lady Cards for three years, and possesed a great inside shot and follow up move from the paint.

She was a key defender for Coach Tom Collen her junior year and was a shot blocking specialist. Early in the second round game NCAA Tournament game against Arizona State, though, she took a wrong step and blew out her ACL, ending her season. The repair operation was a success, but the back problem just wouldn’t go away.

Jeff Walz had this to say about her:

“We are all disappointed that Yuliya will not return for her senior season. She is an outstanding young woman who has represented the University of Louisville well during her career. Yuliya will still be involved in our basketball program as she continues her degree.”

I was really looking forward to the return of “5” this year, and bolstering an already strong Cardinal front line. I’ll still enjoying seeing her on the Cardinal bench, and will remember the big plays and hard effort she gave the Lady Cards.

She’ll always be one of my former Cardinal favorites…and I hope her back pain eventually goes away. Thanks, Yulie. You did it with class, style and skill.

Share this

By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.