LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Louisville came into Senior Night ranked No. 3 in the country with a lot on the line as the hosted No. 1 UConn. Both a share of the American Conference regular season and a potential No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tourney were on the line. Though the Cardinals came up short on this night, this is a team more than capable of holding down a No. 1 seed in the tournament come mid-march. We just might see them at the Final Four in Nashville next month.
1) Even on an off night, Shoni Schimmel is a star.
Senior guard Shoni Schimmel of Mission, Ore., is the go-to scorer for this team. From her nightly production to her signature finish over then Baylor center Brittney Griner in last year’s NCAA Tournament, Schimmel also serves as the players face of the program. She struggled tonight finishing with nine points but still had a line of over 3,000 people waiting on her to sign autographs after the i need help writing my narrative essay night was through. We projected Schimmel as a top 10 prospect in her class nationally but her on floor performance this season as taken her status to another level. That said Jeff Walz team needs her A Game every time out against the nation’s premier teams in order to leave the arena with a victory.
2) Louisville’s fan base is one of the best in the country.
There weren’t many empty seats in the YUM! Center on this night as the Cardinals set a new school record with 22,163 fans in attendance this evening. People from 38 states were on hand to support Schimmel and the Cardinals on this night. The fans were out in full force cheering loud at every opportunity even breaking out into the wave midway through the second half.
3) Jeff Walz success is no accident.
Walz is one of the nation’s most successful coaches making it to the final game of the season on two occasions in 2009 and again in 2013. His staff of Stephanie Norman, Sam Purcell and Samantha Williams are relentless in their work. Like essay writing strategies them, his teams are prepared and talented year in and year out. On this night, his pre game speech focused on “Attention Basketball.” Basketball that as Walz said focuses on knowing the details and executing each and every minute of the game. On this night, the Cardinals couldn’t make enough shots to win the game but Walz’s game plan was right on point.
4) For Louisville to win it all, Hammond and Smith have to shine.
Juniors Sara Hammond and Bria Smith play different positions for the Cardinals but their roles are equally as important to the success of this team. Hammond is a forward who makes a living on the interior while Smith is a perimeter oriented player who thrives off of making plays with her energy and hustle. Hammond finished the night with 12 points and six rebounds while Smith struggled with just four points. Like Schimmel, Hammond and Smith are vital parts to this team. When they’re able to make a high number of plays on both ends, Louisville is capable of beating any team in the country on a given night.
5) Don’t expect the Cardinals to fall back anytime soon.
Armed with an incoming high school senior class that ProspectsNation.com has ranked No. 5 in the country, Walz and his staff are locked in to recruiting top talent. Both Myisha Hines-Allen of Montclair, N.J., and Mariya Moore of Richmond, Calif., have been named as McDonald’s All-Americans this spring. The Cardinals have already gotten a jump on the future securing verbal commitments from Maya Benham of Douglasville, Ga., and Taja Cole of Richmond, Va., in the class of 2015. Benham is a four-star prospect and Cole is ranked No. 14 in the country. The Cardinals had two big sophomore visitors, No. 7 Jackie Young of Princeton, Ind., and No. 13 Erin Boley of Elizabethtown, Ky., in for the game as well.
Brandon Clay is the owner of the JumpOffPlus.com International Report, Peach State Basketball, Inc., and ProspectsNation.com. The JumpOffPlus.com is picked up by more than 200 colleges and universities nationwide. He serves as the Executive Camp Director for the Elite Basketball Academy Camps. Clay has been involved in the community since 2001. You can reach him at BrandonClay@PeachStateBasketball.com