Women's Basketball Previews - Louisville Cardinals

WATCH NOW - Media Day Interview with Monique Reid

The BIG Picture

The Cardinals return four starters and eight letterwinners from a 2009-10 season that saw them go 14-18, a year after appearing in the NCAA title game. With the departure of one starter and six letterwinners, Louisville will rely on youth this year as six newcomers join the team. Most publications regard the class as a top-five recruiting class. WBCA All-American Shoni Schimmel is joined by three McDonalds All-America nominees, including forward Shawnta Dyer, center Sheronne Vails and guard Charmaine Tay.

Who's Returning
Junior Monique Reid (18.4 points and 9.2 rebounds) along with senior Keshia Hines (9.1 points, 6.9 rebounds) anchors a frontline that could be one of the most lethal in the BIG EAST. Reid earned the league's Most Improved Player Award last season, in part by raising her scoring from 5.9 points as a freshman. Add junior guard Becky Burke (13.8 points) and you've got one of the top scoring trios in the BIG EAST. Sophomore guard Nikki Burton (5.9 points, 3.6 rebounds) returns as well. The Cardinals defense must improve however, after ranking last in the conference allowing 68.9 points.

Who's Gone
During the offseason it was announced that two-sport athlete Gwen Rucker will focus solely on volleyball next season. Forward Ashley Rainey has transferred to Lindsey Wilson College to be closer to home and forward Laura Terry will take a medical hardship after undergoing her third knee surgery. Late in the summer it was announced that guard Deseree' Byrd (six games played as a junior in 2009-10) would not return due to personal reasons.

Under the direction of fourth-year head coach Jeff Walz, the Cardinals will blend a handful of veterans with the most talented freshman class in school history. Coming off a year which saw Louisville earn a berth into the Women's Basketball Invitational tournament, the Cardinals look to build off that with a return to the NCAA Championship berth in 2010-11. Offense should come easily to the team and with a solid defensive effort, there are plenty of reasons to see why the Cardinals could be flying high this year.