LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Losing three starters and half the roster might throttle some programs. With two All-Americans and the nation's No. 1 recruiting class, though, fellow coaches expect the Cardinals to be elite again.
On Thursday, the University of Louisville women’s basketball program was tabbed eighth in the first USA Today Coaches’ Poll. The Atlantic Coast Conference tied the Southeastern Conference for the most teams in the top 25 with five.
Louisville, one of three ACC schools ranked in the top 10, is coming off a season in which it went 27-7, including a 12-4 mark in the ACC, and reached the Sweet 16. The Cardinals were picked to finish third in the league’s coaches' and Blue Ribbon Panel's preseason polls.
Under the guidance of ninth-year head coach Jeff Walz, Louisville has been one of the most successful programs over the last eight seasons. The Cardinals reached the Sweet 16 for the sixth time last year and advanced to the national championship game in 2009 and 2013.
All-Americans Mariya Moore and Myisha Hines-Allen headline the 2015-16 squad. Moore paced Louisville a season ago in scoring (13.4), while totaling 121 assists and 55 steals. Hines-Allen, the most effective shooter on the team, averaged 11.8 points on a 55.8 percent clip and 4.9 rebounds. She ranked 13th nationally in shooting percentage.
The Cardinals also regain the services of redshirt junior Cortnee Walton, who missed last year with a toe injury and is expected to immediately contribute to the frontcourt.
Louisville’s incoming class, consisting of Taja Cole, Erin DeGrate, the top-ranked recruit in Asia Durr, Sam Fuehring, and Brianna Jones, was selected as the best by multiple recruiting services.
Durr, who was named to the ACC Newcomer Watch List, finished her prep career with 2,764 points on better than 50 percent shooting, 706 rebounds, 254 assists, 266 steals, and 75 blocks. She was a two-time Miss Georgia Basketball selection and named an All-American as a senior by McDonald’s, Parade Magazine, the WBCA, and the Naismith Trophy.
Louisville opens the year on Nov. 15 at the KFC Yum! Center against 2013 Final Four foe California. Season ticket information is available on GoCards.com.
Based on the preseason poll, the Cardinals face six top-25 opponents: Notre Dame (No. 3), Florida State (No. 7), Duke (No. 12), Kentucky (No. 17), South Florida (No. 19), and North Carolina (No. 20).
For the latest information on Louisville women's basketball, log on to GoCards.com, or, for up-to-the-minute updates, follow the team's Twitter account at www.twitter.com/UofLWBB or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/UofLWBB.
USA Today Coaches' Poll (Oct. 29)
School (first-place votes)
Official release from UofL sports information