By Cole Emery–
After a 28-4 season with the first outright ACC regular season title in school history, the women’s basketball team is looking to repeat last year’s success.
With Jazmine Jones and Kylee Shook being selected 12th and 13th in the WNBA draft, the Cardinals will have some big shoes to fill. Both players were members of the All-ACC First Team, and Shook was the first player since 2009 to win a conference “Defensive Player of the Year” award.
Reigning ACC “Player of the Year” Dana Evans is entering her senior year with a lot of confidence. After transferring last year, Elizabeth Balogun and Elizabeth Dixon will be looking to make a bigger impact. Evans and Balogun started many games in the back court, so this experienced backcourt will be very helpful to next year’s squad.
Three players were on the roster last year but did not play a game. Nyah Green, a 6-foot-1 guard, redshirted her freshman year, but came to Louisville as a McDonald’s All-American and 12th ranked prospect by espnW Hoop Gurlz in the Class of 2019. Remani Parker, a 6-foot-4 forward, redshirted last year and was the 99th rated prospect by espnW Hoop Gurlz in the Class of 2019. Kiana Smith, a 6-foot guard, sat out last season after transferring from CAL due to NCAA transfer rules.
The Cards are bringing on Hailey Van Lith, who was the top-ranked guard in the 2020 recruiting class according to espnW HoopGurlz. Van Lith was a member of the under 19 USA squad that won gold in the FIBA World Cup in 2019. She was also named 2019 FIBA 3×3 under 18 World Cup MVP and 2018 USA Basketball under 18 National Championship MVP.
Another big recruit coming next year is Olivia Cochran, a 6-foot-1 forward, who is ranked as the fourth-best forward in the 2020 recruiting class. She was also on the FIBA 3×3 under 18 World Cup team that won gold in 2019.
Louisville is bringing in a new transfer as well. Ahlana Smith, a 5-foot-9 guard, played for UCLA during her freshman year then played for Gulf Coast State during her sophomore season. During her season at Gulf Coast State, she was named the 2019-2020 National Junior College Athletic Association Division I Women’s Basketball Player of the Year.
Even with some Louisville greats moving on from their collegiate career, the Cardinals continue to work towards success and are looking to have a talented squad entering the 2021 season.
File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal