CARDS ARE THE WALKING WOUNDED
The University of Louisville women's basketball team still has five injured players trying to get back on the floor for coach Jeff Walz.
"It's been rough," Walz said. "We have a lot of kids with injuries. I know this for sure, my trainer is staying busy."
Tia Gibbs, who missed all but one game last season with a shoulder injury, is still two weeks away from being able to start practice. Walz said she has been cleared but won't be ready for contact for a couple of weeks.
Monique Reid is another player who missed much of last season with a knee injury. She is practicing but has been limited the first two weeks.
Senior Asia Taylor won't be back until mid-December after surgery four months ago for a torn labrum in her hip. Sophomore Shawnta' Dyer is recovering from a sports hernia, while freshman Cortnee Walton has a stress reaction in her foot.
Walz is hoping to get Dyer and Walton back within a week.
"We have had a lot of kids get hurt unfortunately," Walz said. "If we can get them healthy then I am excited. I'm excited right now for what we have but without some of those kids we just don't have the bodies we need.
"Without some of them, there's not much room for error."
CARDS PICK TO FINISH THIRD; SCHIMMEL FIRST TEAM
Louisville was picked to finish third in the Big East preseason poll, while junior guard Shoni Schimmel was a unanimous selection to the first-team preseason all-conference team announced on Thursday.
The picks were made by the leagues 15 head coaches.
Connecticut, the 2012 Big East Tournament winner, was picked as the top team in the league followed by Notre Dame. U of L was in third just ahead of St. John's and Rutgers among the top teams in the league.
Schimmel was selected to the team and the lone U of L player on the squad. She ranked 11th in the league in scoring last season, sixth in assists and fourth in steals. She was one of five unanimous selections to the team.
Senior Monique Reid was an honorable mention selection.
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER(S)
Walz said it was hard to determine which of his players might show the most improvement from last season.
But he did mention two that have "really, really worked hard," in the offseason and those were sophomores Bria Smith and Sara Hammond.
Walz said Hammond, the former Kentucky Miss Basketball from Rockcastle County High School, put in a lot of extra time in the offseason.
"Sara will be a factor for us," he said. "She's really improved now."
He said Smith is more consistent on her pull-up and outside jump shot.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma on his programs success:
"Every (program) has their dips," he said. "For some people that's not going to the NCAA Tournament every year. For us, if we don't go to the Final Four every year then people have a heart attack."