LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – The UofL Women’s basketball team is gearing up for an Elite Eight game on their home turf. The Cards will face Maryland for the first time in two years after a crushing loss to the Terps in the NCAA tournament.
“Especially for my class, we were freshman and we, uh, I think we talked about it and we said we don’t ever want to experience it again,” said Cards Junior forward Sara Hammond. Coach Jeff Walz is preparing his team for the big matchup. “We do know that we have a tall task at hand tomorrow night against a very talented Maryland team that made Tennessee look bad,” he said.
When he says ‘tall task,’ he means it literally. “Definitely, they’re front line, 6’3, 6’4, they’re long, they’re athletic. We’ve watched a lot of film on them and they can jump out of the gym for rebounds,” Hammond said. “One thing that coach is stressing is definitely boxing out and rebounding,” Antonita Slaughter added.
What the Cards lack in height, they plan to make up for in hustle. “Our coaches are going to give us the game plan to outwork them and out hustle them and at the end, come up with a win,” Hammond explained.
Senior guard Shoni Schimmel was named a USBWA All-American, cementing her status as one of the top ten players in the country. “I’ve put a lot of hard work, especially this last year, and for it to all kind of pay off in the end, it’s a great feeling,” she said at Monday’s press conference.
Schimmel’s focus is still squarely on Maryland. It’s a program Coach Walz is very familiar with. He was an assistant coach there for five years. “Well, you know, first of all, I take full credit for all of his success. I’ve taught him everything he knows,” Maryland Coach Brenda Frese joked.
Jokes aside, both coaches agree the focus is on the players. “That’s what it’s all about. Two great teams playing for the opportunity to play in the final four,” Coach Walz said.
The women take on Maryland Tuesday night at the KFC Yum! Center. Tip-off is at 7 PM. Tickets are still available for as low as ten dollars. You can also show your support for the Cards at a pep rally at 5:45 Tuesday at the corner of 2nd and Washington.