CARDS RETURN HOME UNDEFEATED
Seventeen days and five games after playing at the KFC Yum! Center, the University of Louisville women's basketball team returns home on Wednesday.
The Cardinals finished a road trip at 5-0 and will take on Eastern Kentucky University at 7:30 p.m. in the Yum Center.
"We are really excited to get back home," U of L coach Jeff Walz said. "We are a tired group, but it was a good (road) trip.
"It was a lot of travel but that's what it's all about. You have to learn to sleep on buses and planes and then get yourself back in gear."
U of L is ranked No. 6 in the USA Today Coaches poll and No. 7 in the Associated Press poll. The Cardinals face EKU on Wednesday night and then will host Kentucky on Sunday and Valparaiso on Dec. 8.
TRIP WAS A SUCCESS FOR CARDS
Walz said despite the travel and five games in 12 days, the road trip – especially the tournament trip to Mexico – was a "very positive" experience for his team.
The Cardinals won at Austin Peay and UT-Martin, which is picked to win its league, and haven't trailed since down 2-0 with 17:05 left in the first half of the Austin Peay game on Nov. 15.
"It was a great trip to Mexico and we played very good basketball," Walz said. "That Central Florida team was very talented and then it was a very good Gonzaga team we held to 42 and then we hold Oregon State to 43.
"We left Mexico late Friday, got back here on Saturday and had a little practice and then on Sunday we were on a bus to UT-Martin. It was good for us and we've played well. We're still learning things but we played well."
DEFENSE HAS BEEN SOLID FOR CARDS
Prior to Monday's win at UT-Martin, the Louisville defense ranked No. 25 nationally at just 50.5 points a game allowed.
The Cardinals have held four of seven opponents under 50 points, including 2010 national champion Texas A&M in a 47-45 victory.
"At this point and time, in half-court we are playing very well," Walz said. "There's always room for improvement, but I've been very happy.
"But we are not pressing as well as we would like to be. We have to do a better job at pressing. But we also have not had a lot of time to practice."
U of L is still without two potential starters – senior Asia Taylor and junior Tia Gibbs – who both had offseason hip surgery.
Walz said it was still "up in the air" when the team would perhaps get either player back on the floor this season.
"Of course, we would love to be able to get Tia and Asia back," Walz said. "But we're just not sure right now."
Gibbs missed all of last season with a shoulder injury.
U OF L LEADERS RIGHT NOW
Junior Shoni Schimmel leads the team in points right now, averaging 13.4 a game. She also has a team-high 35 assists, 13 steals and 18 three-point field goals made. Schimmel has 20 turnovers.
Sophomore Sara Hammond averages 11.3 points and leads with 8.3 rebounds.
The Cardinals have eight players averaging 5 or more points a game.