By Dalton Ray–
Echoing the men’s team, Jeff Walz and his troops face a daunting schedule ahead. With seven preseason ranked teams on the schedule, the Cardinals will face off against some of the nation’s best players, including two All-Americans.
1. Lindsay Allen/Brianna Turner, Notre Dame
Louisville isn’t the only team in the nation with a great top-player combination. ND’s Allen and Turner are one of the few duos in the country that can match Myisha Hines-Allen and Mariya Moore’s production. Allen and Turner are the main reason the Fighting Irish are the top-rated team in the nation.
Allen is a smart guard that runs the ND team with a career assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.2:1, Allen rarely loses the ball. The senior has a great ability to get to the basket while having a reliable shot to keep defenders honest.
Turner is the post player that gives everyone problems. Ranked in the top 10 in the nation in field goal percentage, 6-foot-3 Turner is efficient around the basket. Turner is an All-American preseason selection that has a career average of 14.1 points and 7.6 rebounds with 177 blocks.
Over the past two years, the pair averages 21.5 points, 6.5 assists and 11.5 blocks against U of L.
2. Makayla Epps, Kentucky
Louisville basketball might have better overall record but the Cats lead in previous head-to-head match-ups. A large part of the reason is Epps. Currently 3-0 against Louisville, Epps is a huge thorn in Jeff Walz’s side.
Last season, Epps went 10-for-11 from the field with 24 points. Epps has 40 points against Louisville her three games against the Cards. Daughter of former Wildcat Anthony Epps, the senior from Lebanon, Kentucky has disdain for U of L growing up in Wildcat country.
3. Rebecca Greenwell, Duke
Another Kentucky product hits the list. From Owensboro, Kentucky, Greenwell is an excellent shooter. Greenwell is a player that can play multiple positions, can create space and defend well.
Totaling 27 points in the last two outings, Greenwell consistently causes problems for U of L.
4. Leticia Romero/Shakayla Thomas, Florida State
When lists of this nature generate, it’s not always players putting up big numbers that make the cut. Players who seem to get in the heads of opposing players and ruffle feathers also meet the description. FSU has both of these players on the roster.
A head-oriented player, Romero is someone every returning Cardinal will remember when they travel to Tallahassee this season. Romero has been a part of some chippy contests against Louisville in the past.
Romero handles her business through mind games while Thomas takes care of business in the stat sheet. Not far behind of Hines-Allen in averaged points per game (16.4) Thomas is one of the best offensive skilled players in the ACC. In her first two games against Louisville, Thomas has total 28 points and 17 rebounds.
5. Adrienne Motley, Miami
A great scoring guard, Motley is a fellow All-ACC selection member. Over two years, Motley averages 15 points a game against the Cardinals. Her best performance came in 2014 when she dropped 18 points.
6. Dominique Wilson, North Carolina State
Wilson is a player that has nearly defeated U of L by herself. The game last year was a shootout between Wilson and Moore, scoring 31 each. Wilson is right on par with Thomas as one of the most dangerous scorers in the conference. In the 92-90 loss to the Cardinals last season, Wilson also grabbed 10 rebounds.
7. A’ja Wilson, South Carolina
Wilson would rank higher on this list if the Cardinals didn’t play the Gamecocks so early in the season. A preseason All-American, Wilson is hands down one of the best players in the nation.
At 6-foot-5, Wilson averaged 16.1 points and 8.7 rebounds as a sophomore. Wilson owns five single-season records at South Carolina and is potentially the best player the Cardinals will face all season.
8. Brionna Jones, Maryland
Jones is like Wilson: an excellent player, but just another early non-conference game. Jones is a dominant player that scored in double figures 32 times last season. The senior led the nation in field goal percentage last year at 66.5 percent. The all-conference member will be a handful to stop.
9. Erin Boley/Jackie Young, Notre Dame
In college athletics, the rich get richer. This is the case for Notre Dame. Already owning one of the best guard-forward combos in the country, the Irish might of have just brought in two more, with Boley and Young, the No. 5 and No. 11 ranked recruits of 2016.
The third Kentucky native to hit the list, Boley is extremely gifted on the offensive end. Boley can stretch the floor as a forward and hit from distance and will provide more bench depth for ND.
Young is a more attacking and pressing than Boley. An aggressive guard, Young is highest rated Indiana native since former Notre Dame player Taya Reimer.
10. Chatrice White, Florida State
A transfer from Illinois, White was a huge offensive threat. Earning all-conference honors as an Illini, White averaged 18.7 points and 9.3 rebounds as a sophomore. Last season, FSU’s Adut Bulgak had a big performance against U of L. White will have the same opportunity this season.
Honorable mention- Alexis Peterson, Syracuse
Peterson is a great scoring guard for the Orange. A two-time All-ACC selection, Peterson has a career average of 11 points, six assists and 4.5 rebounds against the Cardinals.
Photo by Hunter Mitchell / Kentucky Kernel