U of L women's basketball: Weekly notebook

The University of Louisville women's basketball team is 9-1 on the season and will play Austin Peay on Saturday night in the KFC Yum! Center. Here's our weekly Cardinal Authority women's basketball notebook:

CARDS RANKED NO. 3 IN RPI

A 99-40 win over Wright State last weekend lifted the University of Louisville women's basketball team to a 9-1 start.

The Cardinals are ranked No. 7 in the Associated Press and the USA Today Coaches' Association polls. In the coaches' poll, U of L has beaten No. 19 Oklahoma and No. 25 Florida State and the loss was to No. 6 Kentucky.

U of L is ranked even higher in the RealTimeRPI.com rankings, checking in at No. 3 behind Tennessee and Duke in the rankings.

The Cardinals' strength of schedule is No. 12 in those RPI rankings.

U OF L RANKS HIGH IN STATS

Through the first 10 games, the Cardinals rank among the top 10 in three NCAA statistical categories and just outside the top 10 in another.

The highest ranking stat for Louisville is field-goal percentage where the Cardinals are hitting 49.9 percent and rank No. 6.

U of L also ranks eighth in scoring offense (87.3 percent) and rebounding margin (13.5). Baylor leads the country in scoring at 102.8 a game.

The Cardinals also rank 12th in scoring margin at 26.7 points a game.

The only stat the team doesn't rank among the top 100 in the nation is free-throw percentage, which is No. 254 at 64.7 percent.

DEPTH IS THE KEY FOR CARDS

The Cardinals will miss senior Antonita Slaughter and her three-point shooting after she was diagnosed with a blood clot in her lung last week.

But the Cardinals do have depth.

With Slaughter out of the mix, the Cardinals still have 10 players who are averaging 4.3 points a game or better on the season.

"I just feel like there is no let down on our team," Bria Smith said. "Everybody on this team can pick it up. There's no let down at all.

"It's a great feeling to have everybody that can play and know what to do."

Shoni Schimmel leads the Cards at 13.8 points a game, while Sara Hammond averages 10.8 and Asia Taylor chips in 10.4 a game.

CARDS HAVE LOFTY GOALS

U of L women's coach Jeff Walz has said all season – especially after the loss to UK – that his team is focused on the entire body of work.

The Cardinals want to keep improving, keep winning games and try to keep that RPI as high as possible to get a top seed in the NCAA Tournament.

"Our players understand what's at stake here," Walz said. "Our goal is to get better every game but with that we know if we come out and compete and improve we are going to have a lot of success.

"I think our depth will benefit us down in the end."

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

U of L will host Austin Peay (2-5) on Saturday night at 7 o'clock in the KFC Yum! Center before playing at Ball State (3-4) next Tuesday.

The Cardinals host No. 11 Colorado (8-0) on Dec. 21.

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