University of Louisville women's basketball head coach Jeff Walz visited with members of the media on Tuesday morning to provide a preseason update on his 2014-2015 team. Joining Walz was his one year old daughter Lola.
Cardinal Authority was also there and has this notebook.
Walz announced that two from last year's roster have decided to transfer. Due in part for the chance to play more, Starr Breedlove and Monny Niamke have chosen leave the program.
Niamke played in 31 games last season, starting one, and played an average of 8.1 minutes per.
“Those two will not be the roster for the upcoming season, but we thank them for what they did for us and wish them the best of luck,” Walz said.
The loss of Shoni Schimmel, Asia Taylor and Antonita Slaughter has left a lot of playing time and points available for the returning roster. A trio that has the most experience from last season's Elite Eight run all appear in solid shape to lock down an eventual starting spot.
Sara Hammond, who helped lead the U.S. Women’s 3x3 World Championship Team to a gold medal during the off season, along with fellow seniors Jude Schimmel and Bria Smith were each key figures last season and should fill even larger roles this season.
“Jude, Sara and Bria, right now, if I was to play tomorrow, I'd put those three in my starting lineup,” Walz said, adding, “just because of what they've done in the past.”
Unsure of who will solidify themselves as starters, Walz is appreciative of the competition that it has created.
“We do have a lot of kids who are competing for playing time and competing for spots,” he said. “I'm excited about that and it's what you have to have.”
Two former Cardinals and Walz players will be starting for the Eastern Conference in the WNBA All-Star game. Atlanta Dream teammates, Angel McCoughtry, who's No. 35 jersey has retired by U of L, and Shoni Schimmel, who's current jersey is the top seller in the league, were both voted onto the squad.
“I think the WNBA All-Star game is going to be great, especially having two players playing in it,” said Walz. “It just speaks volumes for what we are trying to do.”
The 2014-15 schedule has yet to be released, but it will certainly be an exciting one.
The dates for ACC games haven't been announced, but the Cardinals are aware of their opponents and locations. U of L will host Boston College, Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, NC State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Virginia. ACC road games are Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.
On Tuesday, Walz described what also will be an exciting out of conference slate.
Among the pre-league contests are a road trip to Cal and home games against in-state rivals Kentucky and Western Kentucky. Former assistant Cameron Newbauer will bring his Belmont team into the KFC Yum! Center.
Louisville will also host Iowa in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The game will be a rematch from last season's NCAA Tournament second round match-up that saw the Cardinals claim a 83-53 victory in Iowa City, Iowa.
“We're thrilled about our schedule,” Walz said. “It's going to be competitive, but at the same time, hopefully our freshmen will have the opportunity to get out there and get adjusted to things before we get started in the ACC.”
Following a busy evaluation period, Walz is enjoying a few days in the office before once again hitting the road. He'll depart on Friday to Colorado Springs, Colo., to begin work as an assistant coach on the 2014 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team.
“I'm excited to work with the staff,” he explained. “The opportunity to coach these players is something that you don't get to do every night. I'm looking forward to trying to learn from them and share as much as I'm able to, also.”
Joining Walz will be an incoming Cardinal. Mariya Moore, a McDonalds All-American, will travel with her new head coach to Colorado Springs.
“She'll have a great opportunity to play about two and half weeks with some of the best players in the country and then the opportunity to represent the U.S. in the Tournament of Americas.”