Louisville Women’s Basketball is currently undefeated and ranked number 8 in the country. The Cards really haven’t been tested. With newcomers like Elizabeth Balogun and Elizabeth Dixon mixed with mainstays like Dana Evans and Jazmine Jones, Coach Jeff Walz has been working to find the right lineup combinations against fairly inferior competition.
Now the competition is set to step up in a big way for the 5-0 Cards in the 2019 Paradise Jam in the US Virgin Islands. Louisville will face UT Arlington, Oklahoma State, and number 1 Oregon. All 3 teams are undefeated and all 3 are among the best defensive teams in the country at this point.
The Cards play the Lady Mavs on Thanksgiving at 1 pm, then the Cowgirls at 1 pm Friday, and the Ducks at 3:15 pm Saturday.
The biggest matchup is with Oregon. Louisville will have a big test trying to stop one of the country’s best offenses. It is led by last season’s Wooden Award winner, senior G Sabrina Ionescu. Ionescu is averaging nearly a triple-double for the Ducks scoring 14.3 ppg, grabbing 9.3 rpg, and dishing out 9.5 apg.
Louisville is led by junior G Dana Evans, senior F Kylee Shook, and senior G Jazmine Jones. Evans is the Cards leading scorer at 18.6 ppg. She also averages 2.8 apg and 2.6 rpg. Jones is the second leading scorer at 15 ppg, but she fills the stat sheet with 6 rpg and 3.8 apg. Shook is the inside presence so far. She is averaging 11.4 ppg and 8.8 rpg. She also is a rim protector with 11 blocks in Louisville’s first 5 games.
If the Cards can sweep their three contests in the Paradise Jam, they will likely make a big jump in the polls and solidify themselves as a top contender for the Final Four.
For more details on the tournament, the opponents, and, most importantly where to hear and watch all the Cards games, check out the press release from UofL below.
PRESS RELEASE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT:
No. 8 Louisville Opens Paradise Jam on Thursday
The Cardinals play UT Arlington on Thursday, Oklahoma State on Friday and No. 1 Oregon on Saturday.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – University of Louisville women’s basketball opens play in the U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam against UT Arlington on Thursday at 1 p.m. ET.
The No. 8 Cardinals then play Oklahoma State on Friday at 1 p.m. ET and No. 1 Oregon on Saturday at 3:15 p.m. ET.
Louisville, Oklahoma State, Oregon and UT Arlington, along with Baylor, Indiana, South Carolina, and Washington State, who will be competing in a separate pool, all enter the Paradise Jam with undefeated records.
The Cardinals are playing in the U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam for the second time in program history and the first time since 2004. That season they beat Hampton 63-55 on Nov. 26 and lost to NC State 54-49 on Nov. 27.
UofL won its 100th straight game against non-AP Top 25 teams on Sunday against Boise State.
When the Cardinals play the Ducks on Saturday, they will be seeking their first win over a No. 1 team since their 82-81 victory over No. 1 Baylor in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. The Cardinals are 1-11 all-time against AP No. 1 teams (1-0 vs. Baylor, 0-10 vs. UConn, 0-1 vs. Notre Dame).
All three games will be broadcast on FloHoops.com, which is a paid service. It is available for $12.50/month and fans can cancel at any time. Fans can also listen to the UT Arlington and Oklahoma State games on 790 WKRD and the Oregon game on 1080 WGTK.
ABOUT THE LADY MAVS
UT Arlington is off to a 4-0 start with a home win over Chicago State (W, 84-53) and road victories over North Texas (W, 68-49), Grambling State (W, 88-54) and Kansas State (W, 57-53). They are limiting opponents to 27 percent shooting, which ranks fourth in the country, and their 18.5 assists per game rank 22nd. The Lady Mavs were picked third in the Sun Belt Conference following a season where they won the program’s first Sun Belt Regular Season championship, made their sixth postseason tournament appearance (WNIT) and won a postseason (excluding conference tournaments) game for the first time in program history with their WNIT First Round triumph over Stephen F. Austin (60-54; Mar. 21). Sophomore Claire Chastain was named to the Preseason All-Sun Belt Second Team, while sophomore Katie Ferrell earned a spot on the Third Team. Senior Marie Benson is leading UTA in scoring with 20.0 points per game, while shooting 61 percent and pulling down 7.0 rebounds. Chastian is averaging 11.0 points and 5.3 rebounds, while Ferrell is averaging a team-high 8.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists.
Series History – Louisville won the lone matchup 72-61 on Nov. 20, 1998. The game was played in the Arkansas Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark.
ABOUT THE COWGIRLS
Oklahoma State is 5-0 with four home wins and a road win at Tulsa (W, 78-48). In their last game, they defeated Rice 69-38 in Stillwater, Okla. They rank eighth in the country, allowing opponents to shoot just 28.5 percent from the floor. They are giving up 47.6 points per game, which ranks ninth in the NCAA. They are committing just 10.2 turnovers per game, which ranks fifth in the country. Junior Vivian Gray was named to the preseason All-Big 12 team a year after being named Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and a first-team All-Big 12 pick. Last season, she averaged 20.0 points per game and had 36 blocked shots. In five games this season, she is averaging a team-high 18.8 points per game. She is joined in double figures by junior Natasha Mack (14.0 ppg) and sophomore Ja’Mee Asberry (10.4 ppg).
Series History – UofL is 0-2 all-time against OSU. They fell 86-64 on Dec. 3, 1988 in the Dial Lady Techster Classic in Ruston, La. and 76-60 on Dec. 21, 1993 in the UNLV Shootout in Las Vegas.
ABOUT THE DUCKS
No. 1 Oregon is off to a 4-0 start, which doesn’t include its 93-86 victory over the USA National Team on Nov. 9. Following three wins at home, they won at No. 17 Syracuse 81-64 last Sunday. They rank in the top 10 in the NCAA in several categories – 1st in assists per game (26.8), 1st in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.02), third in rebound margin (+17.3), fourth in scoring offense (94.5), fourth in 3-pt field goals per game (11.5), fifth in scoring margin (+38.0) and eighth in field goal percentage (50.2). Last season, the Ducks went 33-5 and advanced to the Final Four with an 88-84 win over Mississippi State. They fell to eventual champion Baylor 72-67 in the national semifinal. They are led by 2018-19 Wooden Award winner Sabrina Ionescu, who is nearly averaging a triple-double (14.3 points, 9.5 assists, 9.3 rebounds). Fellow senior Ruthy Hebard, who was named All Pac-12 last year and the Katrina McClain Award Winner for the best power forward as a sophomore, is averaging 20.5 points on 72 percent shooting, while adding 13.3 rebounds.
Series History – Louisville is 2-2 all-time against Oregon with wins in the last two matchups. The Cardinals are 1-1 at home, 0-1 on the road and 1-0 at neutral sites. The other neutral site contest was on March 17, 1995, when the Cards downed the Ducks 67-65 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Athens, Ga. Louisville fell 81-68 at Georgia in the second round.
The Last Meeting (Nov. 19, 2017 at Louisville in WNIT Final) – Asia Durr scored 26 points and the No. 5 Cardinals dominated early with defense, beating No. 10 Oregon 74-61 in the WNIT final. Louisville forced 14 turnovers and got 13 points from their reserves in taking a 16-point lead at halftime. Oregon drew within 64-53 midway through the fourth quarter, but never got closer. Myisha Hines-Allen, the tournament MVP, added 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Cardinals.
Date: Thursday, Nov. 28 through Saturday, Nov. 30
Site: University of the Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Center, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
TV: FloHoops.com, Brenda VanLegend, play-by-play; Kevin Lehman, analyst
Radio: 790 AM (WKRD) and 1080 AM (WGTK), Nick Curran, play-by-play; Adrienne Johnson, analyst
UofL National Ranking: 8th Associated Press, 9th USA Today