By Hunter Saylor–
It’s basketball season at the University of Louisville, and what a season it will be for the women’s team. After finishing an impressive 22-12, 10-6 in conference play, the Cardinals took the NCAA Tournament by storm, upsetting No. 2 seeded University of Xavier, but eventually losing out to the University of Gonzaga in the Sweet Sixteen 79-66.
This season, they are looking to become a dominant force in the Big East. Coming in at No. 9 in the AP Top 25 poll, they are predicted to finish third in the Big East behind the University of Notre Dame and the University of Connecticut.
The Cardinals are returning four starters from last year’s impressive squad. The Louisville Cardinals are led by two pre-season All Big East selections: Senior forward Monique Reid and sophomore guard Shoni Schimmel, both are predicted to have breakout years. This is the second time Reid has been selected to the All Big East team, leading the Cardinals last season with a team high 15.5 points per game and rebounding with 6.1 rebounds per game. As a freshman, Schimmel averaged 15.1 points per game. She will be joined this sea son with her sister, freshman guard Jude Schimmel.
Freshman forward Sara Hammond and freshman guard Shawnta’ Dyer look to provide young, raw talent to this youthful Cardinal team. Two standouts for next year’s recruiting class have already been signed: 6-1 guard Megan Deines and 6-3 forward Cortnee Walton. Rivals.com ranked both of these ladies in the top 100 players for next year’s recruiting class.
Walton led her high school team to an impressive 28-2 record and a Class 5A state title. She is ranked fifty-third overall in the country and eleventh at her position. Deines was the Ozark Conference Player of the Year as a junior where she averaged 20 point per game, 6.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists. Both of these standouts look to provide an immediate impact for the Louisville women’s team.
The Cardinals will be playing without one of their players this season, Charmaine Tay, who has been ruled academically ineligible. The sophomore guard from New Jersey averaged 3.4 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. Many fans remember Tay’s standout performance in the NCAA Tournament when the Cardinals took on Xavier. Tay scored 11 points against the No. 2 seed, which was a career high.
In the Cardinals’ recent exhibition match, they bested Lindsay Wilson College 118-41. Sophomore Cierra Warren led the team with 18 points and 6 rebounds while freshman guard Shawnta’ Dyer had 16 points and 9 rebounds. This was an impressive showing by the Cardinals, 118 was the highest point total ever scored by the women’s basketball team in Louisville school history.
The Cardinals will have some key non-conference games on their schedule with opponents like the University of Xavier, University of Florida State and rival University of Kentucky. They look to exceed all expectations for the season, which are already high, and try and bring a national title home to the University of Louisville. The women’s team travels to the University of Texas A & M to face the Aggies on Nov. 15. They return the to KFC Yum! Center on Nov. 20 to face the University of Xavier.
Photo: Nathan Gardner/The Louisville Cardinal