(WHAS11)--Following its second NCAA Runner-Up appearance in the last five years, the University of Louisville women's basketball team has earned its highest preseason rankings by The Associated Press and USA Today Coaches' Poll. It is the third straight season the Cardinals have been ranked in the preseason Top 10.
The Cardinals knocked off four higher seeded teams to advance to the national championship game last season. After an impressive season, the Cardinals were picked No. 5 in the USA Today Coaches' Poll and No. 5 in the initial AP Top 25. Louisville’s previous high in the preseason polls came last season when they were ranked No. 8 in both polls.
Louisville is one of two American Athletic Conference schools to be ranked in both polls along with Connecticut (No. 1/1), USF and Rutgers received votes in the polls. The Cardinals will also face No. 7/8 Kentucky and No. 19/19 Colorado and possibly No. 11/14 Oklahoma and No. 25/RV Gonazaga during the non-conference portion of the 2013-14 slate. Florida State and Quinnipiac are receiving votes in the polls.
The Cardinals return 10 letterwinners and four starters from last season's squad. Louisville will be led by preseason All-American Athletic performers Shoni Schimmel, Antonita Slaughter, and Sara Hammond along with NCAA Tournament Oklahoma City Regional All-Tournament Team honoree Bria Smith. The Cardinals also return Jude Schimmel, Megan Deines and Cortnee Walton. Seniors Asia Taylor and Tia Gibbs, and junior Shawnta’ Dyer will return to the lineup after sitting out last season with injuries. New faces to the roster are Emmonnie Henderson, Monny Niamke and Starr Breedlove. Senior center Sheronne Vails will redshirt this season after having surgery in the off season.
Louisville opens the 2013-14 season with an exhibition game against Pikeville on Tuesday, Nov. 5 at 11 a.m. ET in the KFC Yum! Center. Admission is free, fans can get a sneak peak of the Cards before buying season tickets.
You can follow the Louisville women’s basketball team on Twitter and Instagram at @UofLWBB and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/UofLWBB.
To get information on or to purchase season, group, or individual tickets for the 2013-14 women’s basketball season contact the UofL Athletic ticket office at (502) 852-7254 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.