It is finals week at the University of Louisville, so coaches aren’t allowed to talk basketball to players. However, Coach Walz did take time to speak to the media during a teleconference.
Louisville Women’s Basketball Coach Jeff Walz said that he was expecting another great year academically from his team and gave credit to the academic staff and players for their time and effort during this time.
Coach Walz confirmed that Cardinals guard Lindsey Duvall has entered the transfer portal, “we talked Friday about what she wanted and that she was interested in transferring.” A factor going into Lindsey entering the transfer portal was that she wanted to play more and with what’s already on the roster that was going to be a challenge. Coach Walz also indicated that if Lindsey didn’t find anything, that she’ll still have a scholarship here at the University of Louisville.
Coach Walz also brought up a few players during his teleconference, players such as: Arica Carter, Asia Durr, Jazmine Jones, Kylee Shook, Elizabeth Balogun, Elizabeth Dixon, Ahlana Smith, and Norika Konno.
Konno, who suffered from a knee injury and was forced to shut down for the remainder of the season, is back home in Japan rehabbing and is doing fine. Konno originally wanted to stay in Louisville to rehab, but with the virus picking up a head of steam and the opportunity to go home was one she couldn’t pass up. The injury couldn’t have came at a worse time for Konno because “she was showing some flashes and getting comfortable with herself in the team,” according to Coach Walz.
Elizabeth Dixon is at home in Memphis and is following through with the offseason workout program designed to help her develop individually. Both Dixon and (Elizabeth) Balogun didn’t get the typical transitional year (sit out year) that most transfers get, so it took some time to adjust. They had to adjust to new players, new coaches, and a new scheme.
Coach Walz had this to say about the impact on having players drafted into the WNBA:
“Its hard to say. Jazmine Jones wasn’t a McDonald’s All-American. She was ranked in the 40s coming out of high school.”
“Kylee wasn’t on anyone’s draft a year and half ago.”
“Asia Durr was already special, we just needed to fine tune some.”
Coach Walz credited his staff for their ability to evaluate talent and his players for their dedication to getting better.
Notre Dame Rivalry: Coach believes the rivalry will stay put.
“It’s Notre Dame, it’s going to be fun.”
“I have the utmost respect for Muffet McGraw.”
He also double downed on that statement later by saying that he harbors, “no ill will towards Muffet, I just wanted to beat them.” Coach Walz also complemented new Notre Dame head coach Niele Ivey on her ability to coach and recruit.
On the Impact of Ahlana Smith: Smith is coming to Louisville as one of the top Juco guards. Coach Walz is looking forward to Smith adding some more depth to the Louisville backcourt.
“Ahlana is a tremendous talent. She can score and defend,” Coach Walz said. It will take her some time to get adjusted to Louisville and the scouting report, but a positive is that she did spend one year at UCLA before transferring to Gulf Coast State College.
Japan Pre-Season Trip Canceled: Every four years, a program is eligible to travel abroad for the pre season and plays few games. With the ability to travel and play a few games teams are able to start practicing earlier than normal and are allowed 10 practices. With the current pandemic, the Louisville’s trip to Japan has been cancelled. No timetable or rescheduled date was mentioned. Trips abroad are a great way to get in some extra practices and a great team building exercise. Don’t forget the 2013 Louisville Men’s Basketball team went to the Bahamas on their abroad trip.
All in All, Coach Walz, his staff, and the team are continuing to work and train hard in anticipation of the season starting on time.