Tag Archives: Dalton Ray

Photo by Austin Lassell

Softball goes 2-1 in weekend series versus Rutgers

By Dalton Ray

The Louisville Cardinals softball team took on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in a three-game series over the weekend in Ulmer Stadium. On a sunny but chilly weekend the Cardinals would prevail 2-1 in the series bringing their record to 18-11 and the visiting Knights would drop to 12-9. This was the first series in conference play for both schools.

In the first game, Louisville won by 10-6, the visitors would rack up five hits and five runs in the top of the first inning and put the Cards in a 5-0 hole before touching the plate. Junior Whitney Arion and company wouldn’t back down as they loaded the bases twice in the bottom of the inning and came away with two runs. After a pitching switch that put Caralisa Connell on the mound the scoring would come, as the Knights would only score one more run to finish the game.

“Our pitching really put us in a whole right off the bat and what I’m really proud of is how the team kept fighting back, that’s a real credit to them for digging in. We just kept wanting to play catch up today,” head coach Sandy Pearsall said.

The “digging in” began in the fourth inning when junior Kayla Soles sent her third homerun of the year over the left field fence and cut the lead to 6-3. After digging in the Cardinals would then explode in the fifth inning ripping off five hits and seven runs in the inning giving them a 10-6 lead heading into the sixth. Senior Katie Keller, freshman Maryssa Becker, junior Brittany Duncan, senior Hannah Kiyohara would all gets hits in the inning. After the Cards would score on a walked batter with loaded bases and then a wild pitch, Whitney Arion would cap off the inning in style with a three run homer.

By the time senior Rachel Le Coq would come into relief for Connell the former 25-game winner struck out four and played very well. Le Coq would use the help of her defense in her two innings; four groundouts and two strikeouts would close the game for the Cardinals.

The second game was won with the same score of 10-6 but Rutgers was victorious this time. It also began in a very similar fashion, as once again the Knights would score five runs in the top of the first. The only difference: the Cardinals couldn’t gather a response in the first three innings. Shayla Sweeney was pitching for the visiting Rutgers and she lead the Knights to a strong defensive effort in the second game. The Cardinals wish they could of said the same thing but minor slip ups in the in-field on liners and ground balls kept adding up for Cards as they kept giving the Knights chances.

Juniors Kayla Soles would hit her second homerun of the day along with an RBI, cutting the lead to 5-2 Rutgers in the fourth. In the fifth inning Rutgers’ Jackie Bates’ triple would drive home Chandler Howard for a 6-2 lead. At the bottom of the inning the Cardinals looked to take advantage of Arion’s RBI triple and base-on-balls Maryssa Becker standing on first, with runners on the corners and two outs Sweeney would strike out the last batter ending the threat. In the next inning the Scarlet Knights would take advantage of their given opportunities as they put together five hits and four runs, expanding their lead to 10-3.

In the final inning the Cardinals would not give up. After two doubles from Kiyohara and Kayla Jones, and Arion’s second homer of the day the score was 10-6. The visiting Knights would then wrap up the game with a ground out, strike out, and a fly out in center. The Knights stingy defense was too much for the Lady Cards, as they couldn’t get a ball past the infield for most of the game.

After starting at pitcher the first game freshman Maryssa Becker was moved to first base. In the second game she started out at first, moved to pitcher, then back to first. Caralisa Connell, Rachel Le Coq, Tiarra Sanabria, and Becker would all pitch for the Cards on Saturday. Becker has really showed her versatility over the course of the year.

“The pitchers definitely work as a staff, all four of us, we all have the same mentality of if when we get put in. We have to know when one of us is having an off day so that the person behind us can get the job done.”

Sunday’s series finale that ended up in a 11-3 rout between the schools stayed scoreless until the top of the third when Jackie Bates’ two-run single gave Rutgers a 2-0 lead. Katie Jones put in a ton of effort at the bottom of the inning as she had a single, stole second, advanced to third on an error and was then sent home by Arion giving the Cards their first run. Brittany Duncan would help give the Cards a 3-2 lead on her two-out double.

Becker got herself out of a jam in the bottom of the fourth as she struck out the last batter with the bases loaded as the game was tied 3-3 heading into the fifth. Arion, Jones, Keller, Becker, Ruckenbrod, Duncan, and McDuffee would all get hits in the last innings as the Cardinals would pull away in a strong way as they scored eight unanswered runs. McDuffee’s double finished off the game, as the Cards would cruise through the last innings. Now 18-11 overall and 2-1 in conference the softball team will be in action again against DePaul March 26th and 27th.

Photo by Austin Lassell

Tennis: women defeat Cincinnati,men fall to UC

By Dalton Ray

The number 28 North Carolina Tar Heels defeated the University of Louisville men’s tennis team by a score of 4-1 Wednesday at the Bass-Rudd Tennis Center. The Cards had early momentum in the match but couldn’t close out and take advantage of the opportunities. They now have an overall record of 5-2.

UNC’s Brett Clark and Brayden Schnur would take an early doubles match with a score of 6-5. Albert Wagner and Chris Simich gave the Cardinals an early edge with a 6-3 win in the two spot. The Cards would take early leads in two matches but could not capitalize. Even with 4-3 and 3-1 leads in each match the Tar Heels would prevail 6-4 and 6-5.

U of L’s Michael Lippens took a win in singles 6-4, 6-0 against Johan Skattum. The Tar Heels would take a 2-1 lead with the next singles match. UNC’s Nelson Vick added to the lead with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Luiz Elizondo on court four. 17th ranked Ronnie Schneider edged U of L’s Wagner 6-5, 6-3.

Chris Simich won his first match 6-4 but fell 4-5 in the second. Alex Gornet lost 6-5 in the first match and was tied 2-2 in the second when the match was suspended. The Cardinals will be in Lincoln next Saturday facing Nebraska.

The University of Louisville women’s tennis team won five of six singles matches to beat visiting Evansville 6-1 Saturday afternoon. The Lady Cards are now 4-2 on the season.

In doubles, the pair of Cassie Pough and Olivia Boesing won 6-1 over Andjela Brguljan and Marina Moreno for the first win. Manuela Velasquez and Elle Stokes won 6-2 over Marketa Trousilova and Mina Milovic. The number two ranked doubles pair of Rebecca Shine and Julia Fellerhoff outlasted Natasha James and Kelsey Costales for a 6-3 win.

Shine won the first point in singles at beating James 6-2, 6-0. The next point came from Stokes winning 6-3, 6-2 over Brguljan. Freshman Olivia Boesing clinched the match with a 6-3, 6-1 win over Kesley Costales. U of L’s Becky Bodine created more space for the Cards with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Mina Milovic. Fellerhoff fought off Trousilova 6-4, 6-4 for the win and sealed the final Cardinal point.

Photo by Austin Lassell

Swim and Dive senior day hosts UK

By Dalton Ray

Saturday, Jan. 25 was Senior Day for the University of Louisville’s swim and dive team. The Cardinals hosted in-state rival University of Kentucky in Ralph Wright Auditorium. Despite the increased emotions of the rivalry between the two schools, U of L was able to sweep the visiting Cats.

The men’s swim and dive won 212.5-87.5 and the women as well with 193-107 score. The men were led by seniors Kameron Chastain, Joao De Lucca, juniors Caryle Blondell, Evan Noble and sophomore Pedro Coutinho who all posted multiple victories. On the women’s side efforts from junior Tanja Kylliainen, sophomore Kelsi Worrell, seniors Krissie Brandenburg and Breann McDowell all carried the team to a victory.

The women’s 200 medley-relay team of Brandenburg, McDowell, Worrell and Andrea Cottrell would post a winning time of 1:41.00. For the men’s 200 medley-relay team of Blondell, Noble, Coutinho and Chastain would combine for a 1:28.34 time that won the event. In the 1000-free events Louisville sophomore Bryan Draganosky would take first place in the event with a 9:18.63 time and junior Abigail Houck would finish second for the ladies.

In the women’s 200-free, UK’s Kristen Wilson had a time of 1:50.42 just beating out Andrea Kneppers who finished at 1:50.61. Joao De Lucca posted an NCAA B-cut time with a 1:36.05 finish in the 200-free, with Cardinal freshman Matthias Lindenbauer finishing second at 1:39.8.

The Louisville women swept the 100-back with Mackenzie Buss, Krissie Brandenburg, and Erica Belcher placing first, second and third.

In the men’s 100-back, U of L’s junior Evan Noble went under 50 second with a 49.15 for the win. Freshman Josh Quallen finished second with 50.01 and Aaron Greene finished third with a 50.21 time. In the women’s 100-breaststroke, Andrea Cottrell posted an NCAA B-cut time of 1:02.46 in the win and Gisselle Kohoyda was fourth for the Cards with 1:05.41 in a wild rush to the wall.

In the men’s 100-breast, Chastain cruised to a win with a time of 54.60. Once again the Cards swept the event. Freshman Brennen Berger was second with 56.24 and red-shirt junior Thomas Dahlia was third with a time of 56.61. Junior Tanja Kylliainen won the 200-fly for the women with a time of 1.56.95, the only competitor to finish under two minutes. In the 200-fly, senior Juan Lopez took top honors for the men with a time of 149.74 and sophomore Nolan Tesone was second with 1:50.80.

There were multiple members on each side who stepped up for the men and women. In a very tough environment for some of the young members of the squads they came together and both sides dominated their in-state rivals. For the men this is their sixth straight win against the Cats, the women have won the past four.

Photo by Austin Lassell

Men’s swim and dive competes at SMU Classic

By Dalton Ray

The number eight University of Louisville men’s swim and dive team traveled to Dallas Friday for the first day of the two-day SMU Classic. Among the competition were four teams ranked in the top eight in the nation including number one Michigan, number three Florida, and number six Southern California. Purdue, who received top 25 votes, and host SMU rounded out the rest of the competitors.

Senior Joao De Lucca and freshman Grigory Tarasevich both posted victories for the Cards on Friday. Heading into the second day the team sat in fourth place with 136.5 points. Michigan lead the way with 175, followed by Florida with 156, and rounding out the top three was Southern Cal with 149.

The 400m-medley relay race was the first event and it saw the four man team of Tarasevich, Kameron Chastain, Pedro Coutinho, and Cryle Blondell place third with a time of 3:11.08. Michigan took the first event with a time of 3:07.76, #3 Florida came in second. Florida’s Dan Wallace took the next event, the 400-Yard IM, while sophomore Nolan Tesone just missed out on a top three finish with a 3:49.03 time.

In the 200-free defending national champion Joao De Lucco once again made it look easy as he posted a time of 1:33.66 and won the third event of the match. A very strong start for the Cards through the first three events that saw a top four finish in each race.

In the 100-back Grigory Tarasevich barely edged out USC’s fellow freshman Dylan Carter. Tarasevich, just out-touched Carter as he bested him by just .31 of a second, the winning time was 47.41. In the very next event Kameron Chastain felt the sting of a close defeat as Michigan’s Richard Funk beat Chastain in the 100-yard breaststroke by a little over a second.

Day two of the Classic would extend this excitement as fans saw multiple very close finishes between all of its participants on Saturday. The Cardinals would miss out on just three top three finishes by less than .45 of a second and a first place finish by a little over a second.

De Lucco would take home the 100-free with a time of 42.98 giving Louisville its lone victory on day two. Florida’s Corey Main just beat out Tarasevich in 200-yard backstroke, as Main’s time was 1:43.18 while Tarasevich’s posted a 1:44.65. The two were the best finishes of the day for the Cards.

In the 200-yard medley relay Chastain, Tarasevich, Coutinho, and Blondell would team up again and place fourth on a 1:27.94 time. Finishing right before the Cards was USC at 1:27.61 and Florida with 1:27.50. Chastain would miss out on a top three spot in the 200-yard breaststroke by .37 of a second with a time of 1:58.12.

Defending NCAA Champion and currently top-ranked Michigan would win with a score of 333, Florida was just behind with 321, USC was third with 298, number eight ranked Louisville scored 266.5 ahead of Purdue’s 244.5 and host SMU’s 210.

Photo by Austin Lassell

Men’s tennis defeats Murray and Morehead State

By Dalton Ray

The University of Louisville men’s tennis team defeated visitors Morehead and Murray State this past weekend. The season-opening doubleheader were both won by a 7-0 mark by the hometown Cards at the Bass-Rudd Tennis Center on Friday.

The Cards opened the day against Morehead State by sweeping all three doubles matches. The junior duo of Sebastian Stiefelmeyer and Van Damrongsri defeated Jack Swindells and Ji Hoon Heo 6-2. Junior Chris Simich and freshman Eric Bonfre followed with a 6-1 victory over Nick Mercer and Gabriel Ruiz to seal the match’s first point for U of L. Junior Luis Elizondo and sophomore Jeffrey Brown teamed up to defeat David Clifford and Giovanni Samaha 6-4 to round out doubles.

Singles action saw Elizondo beat Heo 6-0, 6-0 and junior Michael Lippens defeat Mercer 6-1, 6-0. Stiefelmeyer, 6-1, 6-3, Damrongsri, 6-4, 6-2, Simich, 6-0, 6-4, and Brown, 6-1, 6-4, would all add victories in singles as well.

Against Murray in the second half of the doubleheader the Stiefelmeyer, Damrongsri and Bonfre, Simich duos would stay undefeated, as they both would win 6-0. Adam Taylor and Max McLean were the first duo to fall for the Racers followed by David Hess and Mateo Barroetavena. Chris Simich and Amaury Derognat capped the doubles sweep by defeating Aleks Mitric and Nicholas Mitric 6-1.

The Cards would win all six matches in straight sets in singles. Stiefelmeyer, 6-0, 6-1, Damrongsri, 6-1, 6-4, Simich, 6-2, 6-0, Elizondo, 6-0, 6-0, Lippens, 6-0, 6-0, and Brown (6-3, 6-2) once again would all pick up wins.

Photo by Austin Lassell

Louisville swim and dive defeats Notre Dame

By Dalton Ray

The number fourteen Louisville women’s swimming and diving team won 10 of 16 events to beat long-time rival number 24 Notre Dame 171-129 Saturday afternoon at the Ralph Wright Natatorium. Proving to be a well needed and very impressive outing for the ladies in this mid-season top 25-showdown.

Junior Tanja Kylliainen won the 200-free, the 200-fly and was a part of the winning 400-free relay. Sophomore Kelsi Worrell won the 50-free, the 100-fly and led off the winning 400-free relay. Freshman Abigail Houck won the 1000-free and the 500-free to sweep the distance events. Senior Krissie Brandenburg won the 100-back was a part of both winning relays. Fellow senior Breann McDowell won the 100-free along with both relays.

In the 200-medley relay, the foursome of Brandenberg 25.87, Andrea Cottrell 29.06, Worell 23.59, and McDowell 22.81, combined to give Louisville the win at 1:41.32. Notre Dame A-relay was second in 1:42.66. The Louisville B team of Mackenize Buss, Lucy Kramer, Brittany Robinson, and Andrea Kneppers gave the Cards two of the top three finishes with a time of 1:44.79.

In the 1000-free Abby Chin and Carley Munchel followed Houck in second and third place. Buss placed second behind Brandenburg in the 100-back stroke with a time of 55.61. The foursome of Worrell 49.35, Brandenburg 51.24, Kylliainen 51.58, and McDowell 50.95, gave Louisville the win in the 400-free relay, the final event of the meet.

Photo by Austin Lassell

Cardinals swimming their way to national prominence

By Dalton Ray

After a sweep of Georgia Tech in Atlanta on Jan. 4 the Louisville men’s and women’s swimming and diving team earned their first win of the 2014 calendar year. The men’s team now checks in at number eight in the nation and the women not too far behind at number 13 overall. The season to date has been a very successful one for both teams as they look to start AAC play.

The men’s team won their first two meets of the year against Xavier and Tennessee by scores of 189-70 and 167-132 before suffering their first loss to the hands of North Carolina 161-186 back in November. Defending national champion Joao De Lucca won multiple events in the Cardinal’s wins.

The women’s team matched the men’s hot start to the year and raised them one as they defeated all three opponents of Xavier, Tennessee, and North Carolina with a combined score of 578-340. The women also took place in the SMU Classic in Dallas and finished third thanks to junior Tanja Kylliainen who won three events, which earned her Swimmer of the Meet honors.

The teams were invited to the Michigan Invitational, held in Ann Arbor. The hosts at the time boasted the number one overall men’s team and the number 23 overall women’s team in the nation, providing a large task ahead of the Cards. Winners for the men included sophomore Bryan Draganosky in the 1650-free, junior Caryle Blondell in the 100-free, senior Kameron Chastain in the 200-breast and a 400-relay team of Blondell, Aaron Young, Joao De Lucca and Brooks Wilmoth. Taking home victories for the women’s side were freshman Mackenzie Buss in the 200-back, senior Gisselle Kohoyda in the 200-breast, Tanja Kylliainen in the 200-free and the 400-realy team of Kelsi Worrell, Krissie Brandenburg, Andrea Kneppers and Johanna Cowley.

The USA Short Course Nations were next on the Cards’ schedule as they looked to provide a strong performance on a large stage. In the men’s 200-free Joao De Lucca set a new championship record with a time of 1:31.65, just beating out Darian Townsend’s 1:31.93. Only eight men have ever broken the 1:32.00 barrier in the 200-free. Not to be out done the next night sophomore Kelsi Worrell went out and was also crowned a National Champion with her 200-fly time of 1:54.12.

Other notable performances included the women’s 200-medley relay team finished second with a time of 1:38.07 posted by Krissie Brandenburg, Andrea Cottrell, Kelsi Worrell and Rachael Lewis. The men’s 200-medley relay met a new U of L achievement when Grigory Tarasevich, Kameron Chastain, Aaron Young and Caryle Blondell combined for a third place time of 1:26.40.

On Saturday the women faced and defeated both Cincinnati and Houston while the men faced and defeated Cincinnati, as Houston does not have a men’s team. For the women Worrell was victorious in multiple events, taking first in the 400-medley relay, the 200-fly and the 100-free. For the men Tarasevich was a part of winning the 400-medley relay, the 200-back and 400-free relay. De Lucca took the 100-free and the 200-free.

“The challenge for today was to race the way we want to race at championship time… a championship rehearsal,” U of L coach Arthur Albiero said.

With a taste of championship success last year through the efforts of De Lucca the Cardinals have their sights on De Lucca bringing friends at this year’s national championship.

Photo by Austin Lassell

U of L defeats Memphis 24-17

By Dalton Ray

Since 2007 the Cardinals’ football team has not seen a victory on the team’s senior day. That drought came to an end Saturday, as the Cards were able to defeat the University of Memphis 24-17, putting their record on the season at 10-1.

Many of the seniors who played their last game in Papa John’s Stadium Saturday were a part of head coach Charlie Strong’s first recruiting class.

“Just to see the seniors go out the right way, we just wanted to see that happen for them. So much they’ve given to this program and now they will be able to go to their fourth straight bowl game…21-3 (as a class) in their last 24 games that’s impressive,” Strong said.

Many question whether this will be the last game for junior quarterback Teddy Bridgewater as well. The Davey O’Brien Award semifinalist swiftly redirected questions afterwards regarding his future to talking about how important the win was for the seniors and the team, again noting how much they’ve done for the program.

Seniors such as: Hakeem Smith, Damian Copeland, Roy Philon, home-town product Brandon Dunn, Senorise Perry, Marcus Smith, Preston Brown wanted to finish their final home game as a Cardinal with a bang.

Just hours before the game senior middle linebacker Preston Brown found out his grandfather had passed. Brown honored his grandfather recording a team-high of nine tackles and a defensive touchdown off a fumble recovery in the first quarter, the first touchdown of his collegiate career coming in his last home game. The fumble was forced by defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins and the score gave the Cards an early lead and momentum.

“It was great getting the touchdown for my grandpa. I put on a show for him,” Brown said.

Bridgewater’s lone touchdown was a 40 yard pass to junior wide receiver DeVante Parker. Parker made one defender miss and simply out ran the rest of the defense down the sideline for the score. After John Wallace’s field goal the halftime score was 17-3. Wallace’s field goal gave him 16 on the year which puts him second all time for field goals in a season.

After halftime, the Cardinals came out strong and scored on the opening possession, capping off a 14-play, seven-minute drive. As it looked like the Cardinals would pull away in the second half the offense seemingly just spun its wheels and wouldn’t score anymore points in the final 23 minutes of the game. Penalties and untimely sacks plagued the final three possessions.

“We cannot lose focus, we have to continue to play and finish,” Strong said.

Memphis running back Paxton Lynch ran a four-yard touchdown in at the start of the fourth quarter and pulled the Tigers within 14 points. As the wind refused to let up on this chilly senior day in November the Cardinals found themselves in a similar situation, up a few scores and relying on the defense to hold off the cavalry.

The next offensive possession the fans saw a very rare three straight incompletions from Bridgewater. Lynch would again lead his Tigers offense down and score this time on a 12-play, six-minute drive. Jesse Milleson hauled in the catch in the back of the end zone and silenced the home crowd.

As the offense came back on to the field all that was needed was a score to ice the game and secure a victory. After two quick first downs, Memphis’ fourth sack on the day would put Teddy and the offense in huge hole as they faced a third and 15 with barely three minutes left. Ryan Johnson came onto punt after a short completion and Memphis’ Reggis Ball ran directly into Johnson, drawing a roughing the kicker and giving the Cards a fresh set of downs.

The offense would make the visiting Tigers pay for their mistake, as they would waste an additional two and half minutes off the clock. On a fourth and 10 at the 15-yard line with 44 seconds left the Cardinals decided to forgo the field goal attempt and looked to finish off their opponent. Bridgewater would end up displaying his infamously known sliding skills and scramble for nine yards, coming up just short and turning the ball over on downs.

One last defensive stand was asked for and the defense came through. With the 24-17 win the Cardinals are now 10-1 and now have their first consecutive double-digit win seasons in school history. The Cardinals will have their season finale at rival Cincinnati on Dec. 5 at 7:30 pm on ESPN.

 

Photo by Austin Lassell

Men’s basketball AAC preview

By Dalton Ray

 

CINCINNATI BEARCATS

Mick Cronin’s teams are known for rebounding on the offensive glass, long athletic

defenders, and low percentage jump shooters. This year’s team should fit the same mold and

will be led by senior guard Sean Kilpatrick. Last year’s team went 22-12, 9-9 in conference

but had a very disappointing postseason. After beating Providence in the first round of

the Big East Tournament they lost to Georgetown by 19 in the quarterfinals and then

followed that up with a four-point loss against Creighton in the second round of the NCAA

Tournament.

Even though four projected starters for the 2013 team are upperclassmen only two,

Kilpatrick and senior forward Titus Rubles, averaged more than 20 minutes per game. Once

again the Bearcats shouldn’t have a problem with defending or rebounding as they return

their top three leading rebounders in Kilpatrick, Rubles, and fellow senior projected starter

Justin Jackson. In addition Cronin added the athletic four-star power forward Jermaine

Lawrence, 6-foot-9, 200 pounds, to compliment their length and rebounding.

Like previous teams, this one has most of its questions coming on the offensive end.

Kilpatrick averaged more points per game with 17 than the rest of the projected 2013 starter

lineup combined at 15. The offense will need contributions from starting junior guard

Ge’Lawn Guyn, talented and now-healthy sophomore Jeremiah Davis III, and newcomers

Kevin Johnson and Troy Caupain.

Cincinnati will come into the year in the top 45 and will have games on their schedule

that could bump them to a top 25 team. North Carolina State, Pittsburgh, Xavier and

number-23 New Mexico headline the non-conference schedule for the Bearcats. They will

have their hands full when it comes to conference play as the newly-formed American

Athletic Conference provides one of the deeper conferences in the nation. No. 3 Louisville,

No. 13 Memphis, No.18 UConn and Cincinnati are the heavy hitters in this conference.

The returning talent from Temple, SMU, South Florida, Houston, and Central Florida

could provide a very strong first year for the AAC.

CONNECTICUT HUSKIES

Kevin Ollie is in his second year as the head coach of the UConn Huskies and after

posting a record of 20-10 overall and 10-8 in conference play the Huskies are now done

with their postseason ban. The team returns all five starters and offers one of the best

starting guard combinations in the nation with Ryan Boatright and Shabazz Napier.

Napizer, 17.1 points per game, 4.6 assists per game, and Boatright with 15.4 points per

game and 4.4 assists per game, were both selected to the AAC All Conference Team. Napier

was one of three unanimous selections.

The outcome of the 2013-2014 season will mostly rely on the senior Napier and junior

Boatright but just how good the team can become will depend on the development of junior

forward DeAndre Daniels, sophomore Omar Calhoun, and junior Tyler Olander. The guard

play will be there but how Daniels, who averaged 21 points, nine rebounds, and three

blocked shots over his last four games, and the streaky shooter Calhoun can contribute will

be a large factor in UConn’s success. The Huskies will have size on the front court with

Daniels 6-foot-9, Olander 6-foot-10, Phillip Nolan 6-foot-10, Kentan Facey 6-foot-9 and

freshmen Amida Brimah who is 7 feet tall, that will pass anyone’s eye test. If the front court,

mainly the center position, can get boards and play solid defense then this team could be

very dangerous heading into March.

Calhoun and Daniels both averaged double digits last season but the next two leading

scorers that return are Olander with 4.2 and Nolan with 1.7. The front court must

contribute in order for this UConn team to live up to full potential. Starting off the season

ranked number 18 in the nation, the Huskies will face their toughest non-conference games

against Maryland, No. 10 Florida, Washington, and Boston College.

HOUSTON COUGARS

Coming from Conference USA, the Houston Cougars finished out last year with a 20-

13 record and a 7-9 in conference mark. The Cougars fell in the quarterfinals to UTEP in

the conference tournament and then they were invited to play in the College Basketball

Invitational in which again they were defeated in the quarterfinals by George Mason. Three

starters return from this 20-win basketball team.

With the returning wing duo of TaShawn Thomas and Danuel House, Houston has

the play makers in place to make a stamp on their first year in the AAC. Head coach James

Dickey has improved his win total over the past two years but continuing this streak might

be a difficult task. The jump from the C-USA to AAC could be a rough transition for the

Cougars as ranked 269 in nation last year in defensive efficiency and allowed opponents

to shoot 49% from two-point range. With conference opponents such as Russ Smith, Joe

Jackson, Shabazz Napier, Isaiah Sykes and Anthony Collins, it can be a long season for the

Cougars if their defensive intensity doesn’t step up. If Houston can play quality defense then

they can be a competitor, but if not the Cougars will have their first year in the AAC as

one they can forget about. They won ten games last year by five points or less, with stiffer

competition those close wins could easily turn into losses.

Houston might have one of the better frontcourts in the AAC with Thomas, Freshman

of the Year in C-USA House, returning senior starter J.J. Richardson and 6-foot-10 transfer

Danrad Knowles. While the front court seems to be set the back court isn’t as clear. Joseph

Young, the starting point guard for the 2012 team, transferred to Oregon. With the loss of

Young, Tione Womack will take over the point but averaged only 2.7 points in the 2012

year. Jherrod Stiggers hit 67 threes last season but really hasn’t proved anything else. The

Baylor transfer L.J. Rose should provide points off the bench as he was a top-75 recruit

before coming out. If Rose, Knowles, and Stiggers step up their performance then Houston

could easily become an underrated team in the AAC.

SOUTH FLORIDA BULLS

The 2012-13 year was one to forget in south Florida. The school had 58.8

points per game (331st), 32.6 rebounds per game (256th), 11.3 assists per game

(278th), and a .389 shooting percentage led to a 12-19 record and a 3-15 Big

East record. Last season’s team had a large problem with rebounding due to

their lack of a true center and interior depth. Head coach Stan Heath looks to

patch this up as he added center John Egbunu 6-foot-10, 230 pounds, forwards

Chris Perry 6-foot-8, 245 pounds and Dre’Kalo Clayton 6-foot-6, 275 pounds, as

well as returning last season’s leading rebounder.

Egbunu and Perry were both four-star recruits and will look to help out

sophomore forward Zach LeDay in the paint. Egbunu will provide the inside

presence they will need to get attention away from outside players and Perry’s

7-foot-5 wingspan will help the Bulls’ rebounding woes. With the arrival of some

young talent, senior Victor Rudd 6-foot-9, 235 pounds, will now have some of

the defensive pressure off of him and should be able to take advantage. Rudd

is easily the team’s go-to guy as he led the team in points at 12.3, rebounds at

6.9 and was second in minutes at 34 . Anthony Collins will be the starting point

guard, who led USF to the tournament in 2011, led the team with 36 minutes per

game and 6.5 assists last season.

JaVontae Hawkins and junior college transfer Corey Allen will be guys who knock

down open shots as a result of new post play. Freshman Bo Ziegler 6-foot-6,

180 pounds, will also get some time giving Heath a deeper bench, something

he didn’t have a year ago. The Bulls will be bigger and better but they’re still

rebuilding. Unless the bigs make a huge improvement on the boards and the

team increases their defensive pressure then this won’t be a NCAA tournament

team.

UCF KNIGHTS

Central Florida might not come out and win every game in the AAC but they will more

than likely cause some match-up problems. This UCF team is not the average college

basketball team. The primary ball handler is the small forward and the center led C-USA in

three-point shooting last season.

Isaiah Sykes is the Knights’ do-it-all player and led the team in points at 16, assists at 4.5 and

steals at 2.3. He was second in rebounds at 7.5. He was also selected to the AAC preseason

All-Conference Team.

If Kasey Wilson continues to improve then Sykes and the rest of the Knights could have a

successful first season in the AAC. The 6-foot-7 forward hit 42 of his 84 attempts last season

and forced opponents to pull their big men out of the paint, but his 4.4 rebounds a game

must increase. The Knights as a team need to focus more on rebounding, last season their

66.9 defensive rebound percentage ranked them 229th in the country, and that was with the

school’s all-time leading rebounder in the lineup. UCF has some serious issues defensively

inside, allowing foes to shoot 49.4 percent from 2-point range. Eugene McCrory, a 6-8

junior college All-American last season, will be looked to make a difference, and the two

sophomores Staphon Blair and Dylan Karell should contribute.

Tristan Spurlock excels more when he’s not banging away inside at the center position

but the 6’8, 230lbs senior can do it if need be. Senior Calvin Newell should also add some

consistent scoring as he averaged 11 points per game last season. Returning five of the top

seven players off last year’s 20-win team and adding new young talent the Knights will be

experienced and competitive in the AAC.

MEMPHIS TIGERS

Memphis had a 2012-13 record of 31-5 with a perfect 16-0 record in conference play and

has his team headed into the 2013-14 season as the number 13 overall ranked team. Josh

Pastner has followed in John Calipari’s footsteps in Memphis, in a way. Pastner always finds

a way to land big-name recruits, between his 2012 and 2013 classes’ he has hauled in a total

of six four-stars and one five-star in Austin Nichols. Now add this to the guard play of Joe

Jackson and Geron Johnson and Chris Crawford on the wing and this Memphis team can

run with most teams in the country. The biggest problem for Memphis in recent years is all

of Pastner’s talent that has came through has not always lived up to the full potential due to

inexperience and not having a quality team around the players.

Memphis has a chance to break this routine as they have a combination of experienced

veteran players and as usual talented young players. Forward Shaq Goodwin (6’9, 245lbs)

showed many signs of the type of player he could be in just his freshman year. Finishing the

year with 7.7 PPG and 4.4 RPG he needs to be more consistent in order for the Tigers to

move on to the next level. Another factor standing in Memphis’ way of success this year will

once again be how they fare with turnovers. Last season’s 20.8 turnover percentage, which

ranked 225th in the country, cost them games they could have won. Pastner’s high tempo

offense is one reason for the turnovers but he hopes his upper-class filled back court will

cut down on this state drastically. Senior transfer Michael Dixon Jr. and freshmen Kuran

Iverson, Nick King, Rashawn Powell, and Dominic Woodson will all look to contribute

immediately.

Memphis’ defense hopes to be as good as it’s been in recent years. Last season they

ranked 24th in the nation in defensive efficiency and 18th in steal percentage with 12.7%.

With two match-ups against top ten teams in #8 Oklahoma State and #10 Florida plus the

move to the AAC the Tigers won’t have as soft as a schedule as they had when they were

in the C-USA. The stiffer competition could cause problems for Pastner’s team but he has

the talent to match up with most teams in the country. Another 30-win season might not

be in the horizon for the Tigers but all the makings are there for competing for an AAC

championship and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

RUTGERS SCARLET KNIGHTS

Last year Rutgers went 16-16 with a Big East record of 6-14. Not many universities

have had as rough as a 2013 year as Rutgers. Between the videos of former head Mike Rice

throwing balls at his players, multiple transfers that followed his departure and new AD

Julie Hermann’s controversial past the Scarlet Knights needed a head coach that could lead

this team out of the darkness. They reached into the NBA to find a coaching candidate and

selected Eddie Jordan to take charge of this team.

Jordan’s team lost five players off last year’s team and he will ask many fresh faces off

the bench to put in a large work load. Four juniors and a senior will make up a line up that

shouldn’t make too many rookie mistakes led by junior guard Myles Mack. Mack, a very

underrated guard, led the Big East in 3-point shooting percentage last season, led the team

in minutes per game, was second in scoring with 13.6 wile shooting 48% from the floor. The

rest of the line up didn’t average more than seven points but they do return their top two

rebounders in Wally Judge and Kadeem Jack. Guard Jerome Seagears will be looked at to

step up on the offensive end to help Mack as Malick Kone’s presence is felt in the defensive

side of the court.

Rutgers has been given a big lift within the past couple of weeks as the NCAA ruled

that transfers Kerwin Okoro from Iowa State and J.J. Moore from Pittsburgh will both be

immediately eligible. Both should challenge for major playing time and starting roles and

along with junior college transfers DVon Campbell and Craig Brown should give Rutgers

more firepower. Defensive struggles will need to be addressed; otherwise this season won’t

be very pretty for the Knights.

SMU MUSTANGS

There’s a very interesting situation in Dallas, Larry Brown’s team will return all five

starters off last year’s team that went 15-17 overall with a 5-11 in conference record, but

there is a chance none of them might start. Each of his starters last season averaged at

least 32 minutes per game but with five new comers to the team there will be competition

for starting roles. With new competition, talent, and a Hall of Fame coach in Brown the

Mustangs can really turn some heads this year.

Last year’s starting guards Nick Russell (14 PPG) and Ryan Manuel (12.1 PPG) were two

of the team’s leading scorers, now both will be pushed for playing time by four new arrivals.

Illinois State transfer Nic Moore is expected to take over the point guard spot as he averaged

10 points and 3 assists last season as a freshman. McDonalds All-American Keith Frazier

(6’5, 190) has good range, great athleticism, and will almost start immediately. Transfers

Crandell Head and Sterling Brown will also fight for back court minutes. The front court is

just as crowded. The two returning starting forwards and center are joined by No. 1 JuCo

recruit Yanick Moreira (6’11, 220lbs) and Villanova transfer Markus Kennedy (6’9, 245lbs).

Jalen Jones, Shawn Willaims, and Cannen Cunningham started for the Mustangs last season

and combined had an average of 31 points, 19 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 3 steals per game.

With Russell and Jones being the only starters off last year’s team expected to start despite

returning everyone SMU should be one of the deeper teams in the AAC. Since Brown has

been at SMU the talent level has increased and at this point Brown has the pieces in place,

all he has to do is fit everything together. The Mustangs will travel to No. 24 Virginia in late

November and that could prove to be their toughest non-conference opponent.

TEMPLE OWLS

In recent years the Temple Owls have been one of the more consistent teams in the

nation, they’ve won 20 games six years in a row now, last year posting a 24-10 overall

record and an 11-5 in conference record. But like most new teams to this conference the

increased overall competition might put a halt to that. Better competition, small amount of

experience, and lack of proven scorers could cause Temple a hiccup in the six consecutive

seasons with 20 wins or more. After losing Khalif Wyatt, Scootie Randall and Rahlir Hollis-
Jefferson the Owls may not be able to bounce back.

Without a double-figure scorer on a team that already has to address some significant

defensive issues this could be a long season for the Owls. Temple’s D allowed 49 percent

effective field goal shooting, and conference opponents hit 38.6 percent of their 3-pointers.

Plus not to make anything better they lost five of their top seven key players from last year’s

squad. Not only will they need to focus on scoring by committee and team defense but they

will be doing this with unproven, inexperienced players. Anthony Lee (6’9, 230lbs) and Will

Cummings (6’2, 175lbs) return for their junior seasons and the guard and center combo will

need to adjust their game to the changed, slower offense. Lee averaged 9.8 points per game

and 6.8 rebounds per game last season. Lee and Cummings will both be more involved on

the offensive side this season.

Senior Dalton Pepper will be leaned on for his defensive impact and sophomore guard

Quenton Decosey is the team’s scorer. The backcourt is thin but coach Fran Dunphy’s team

will rely on freshman Josh Brown to play some minutes if needed. The front court is a little

on the small side. Outside of Lee (6’9) and Devontae Watson (6’10) the Owls have one

person 6’8 or taller in freshman Mark Williams. Temple will more than likely come in the

year a small-ball, team-ball type approach. If sophomore and starting forward Daniel Dingle

(6’7, 225lbs), Brown, and Williams all step up this could be a 20-win team

Photo by Austin Lassell

Women’s AAC Preview

By Dalton Ray

CINCINNATI

Cincinnati still has most of what it had a season ago. Seven players started double-digit

games for the Bearcats and six of them return. One of the returnees is Dayeesha Hollins,

who took nearly twice as many shots as any teammate and averaged twice as many points as

any other player. On the positive side, Cincinnati went 9-6 at home a season ago, the best

home record under Head Coach Jamelle Elliott.

Kayla Cook also returns and she was the only player to start all 30 games last season.

She also posted a 1.6 assist-to-turnover ratio while finishing first on the team in free-
throw percentage (78.4 percent). Bianca Quisenberry was the number 35 best guard in the

country coming out of high school as four star recruit from Ohio and should expect to play

immediately.

CONNECTICUT

The Huskies outscored Big East opponents by nearly 30 points a game with 29.9 points

per game a season ago. The newly shaped American Athletic Conference is not as good a

league as the dismantled Big East. This is bad news for all teams in the conference, especially

new comers to the league. While Breanna Stewart, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Stefanie

Dolson and Bria Hartley are back, depth is the question mark for defending national

champions. Still, Brianna Banks, Morgan Tuck, Moriah Jefferson, Kiah Stokes and the

freshmen might finish no worse than second in the league on their own.

Dolson played and started in 38 of UConn’s 39 games and was third on the team with

13.6 points while leading the squad with 7.1 rebounds per game. A 2012-13 WBCA/State

Farm All-America Team selection, she also earned a spot on USBWA All-American Team

and the AP All-America Third Team. Breanna Stewart played in 36 of UConn’s 39 games

and ended up second on the team at 13.8 points per game and third on the squad with 6.4

rebounds per contest along with leading the team with 74 blocks.

HOUSTON

Houston won’t match last season’s improvement in the win column. The Cougars saw

a 14 win swing last year going from 3-26 to 13-17 in their second season under Todd

Buchanan. Porsche Landry is no longer around, and she did a lot for this team a season ago

so someone new or the team itself will need to step up to replace her contributions. Post

players are not the league’s strong suit so senior Yasmeen Thompson could thrive after she

averaged 8.6 points. 8.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in her first season.

Senior Marrisa Ashton, who averaged 7.3 points and 5.0 rebounds per game last season,

is also returning. Someone who should play a large key to the Cougars’ success will be senior

Teo’onna Campbell. She was one of three Cougars to start all 30 contests in her first season

at Houston. She ranked second on the team with 32.9 minutes per game. Averaging 7.8

points and she ranked second on the squad and eighth in C-USA with 8.2 rebounds per

contest.

RUTGERS

This young team will benefit from the AAC’s lack of multiple powerhouses. Freshman

Tyler Scaife is the latest big-time recruit to end up in New Jersey. And with Erica Wheeler

and Monique Oliver no longer around, there should be shots for her to take. Hitting 3-

pointers would also help as the Scarlet Knights return a total of 14 3-pointers from last

season.

Kahleah Copper was named to the Big East All-Freshman Team last season and looks to

pick up a lot more on the work load this season. Transfer Alexis Burke will be able to play

this season and this should give the Knights extra firepower to work with in replacing last

season’s departures. Syessence Davis returns as the team’s leading point guard as she led the

team in assist 13 times last season.

TEMPLE

An impressive string of four consecutive postseason appearances under Tonya Cardoza

came to an end last season. To bounce back the backcourt will be relied on heavily. Raeska

Brown and Tyonna Williams are the team’s two leading returning scorers, while new

arrival Shi-Heria Shipp averaged nearly double digits at George Washington a season ago.

Natasha Thames will return as very experienced player and was second on the team with

eight rebounds per game. Safiya Martin and Taylor Robinson are both freshman that could

provide great size and length if they can step in and learn quickly. Erica Covile being healthy

should help the Owls.

MEMPHIS

The Tigers arrive in the Big East after a fourth consecutive trips to the postseason

under Melissa McFerrin. They lost Nicole Dickson, who led the team in scoring at better

than 18 points per game a season ago, but sophomore Ariel Hearn, the team’s assist leader

and second-leading scorer overall last season, is set to take over. The addition of redshirt

freshman Mooriah Rowser is also a boost.

Pa’Sonna Hope returns and appeared in all 32 games for Memphis, averaging 5.2 points

and 4.7 rebounds a game. Sophomore Asianna Fuqua-Bey had 19 starts in her freshman

campaign. She averaged 6.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game and ranked second on the

squad in rebounding and she will be Memphis’ leading returning rebounder.

SOUTH FLORIDA

Andrea Smith and Andrell Smith finished up their college careers last season and that

means the Bulls need to replace 43 percent of 2012-13’s points. Inga Orekhova, 12.7

points per game, is a good 3-point shooter who does a lot of other things in terms of

ball distribution and creating turnovers, but she isn’t quite the prototypical go-to scorer

yet. Trimaine McCullough arrives with huge expectations for a freshman and expects to

compete for playing time.

South Florida has the height that most teams in the conference can’t match up with. Ivana

Vuletic, Paige Cashin, Akila McDonald, and Katelyn Weber give the Bulls a large advantage

with size. Tamara Taylor looks to provide an extra spark as she was rated the number17

best junior college transfer this season. While the team has its share of upperclassmen they

will rely on freshman and sophomores to step in and play key roles.

SMU

Keena Mays is a proven scorer, who can get others involved and produces beyond her

height on the boards. The Kansas transfer and reigning Conference USA player of the year

averaged 18.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and shot 40 percent from the 3-point line. Three other

starters return. There isn’t much size and rebounding, which could be an issue, but Brittney

Hardy’s return from a redshirt season could be a big plus.

Senior Korina Baker will return in her second season as a starter and will look to

improve her already developed pass-first game, 110 assists last season. Along side her will be

sophomore Kamy Cole. As a freshman Cole played in 30 games with 22 starts as a freshman

and averaged 9.8 points per game and was second on the team with 57 3-point field goals

made. She had a team-high 51 steals and 41 assists and second among starters with a 77.4

free-throw percentage. Cole and Mays will most likely be the leaders of this team but will

need their upperclassmen heavy bench to pitch in.

UCF

The Knights lose leading scorer Gevenia Carter but add redshirt junior Brittni

Montgomery, who sat out last season after transferring from Virginia Tech. Montgomery

isn’t going to shoot as much as Carter did, but she could be a good post complement to

Briahanna Jackson’s backcourt scoring. A preseason all-conference selection in the AAC,

Jackson needs to become more efficient with 32 percent shooting, 123 turnovers, but she is

talented.

Senior center, Erica Jones entered UCF’s top five all-time rebounders last season and

give the Knights a very polished post presence. Along with Yanique Gordon and the shot-
swatting Stephanie Taylor UCF has an intimidating front court. The guards are young but

they will rely on the front court heavily and they will hope Sara Djassi will continue her 10.8

points and 8.5 rebounds per game theat she produced in the C-USA Tournament.