Editor's Note: The BIG EAST will be previewing both the men's and women's team from each BIG EAST member each weekday from October 22 to November 9 in advance of the 2012-13 season. Use hashtag #BECountdown to join the conversation on Twitter.
Louisville Cardinals Women's Basketball
The Big Picture:
Louisville returns four starters and 11 letterwinners from a squad that finished the season ranked 16th in the Coaches poll. Louisville advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to Maryland on the road. The Cardinals return leading scorer Shoni Schimmel, who averaged 14.3 points and 4.7 assists per game. Also returning in the back court is sophomore Bria Smith who averaged 9.2 points per game in her rookie season. The Cardinals have a deep bench and if everyone stays healthy the Cardinals are expected to make a run deep into the tournament.
Who’s Back:Louisville returns four starters from last season. Junior Shoni Schimmel returns for the Cardinals at point guard after earning First Team All-BIG EAST honors and WBCA/State Farm All-Region honors. Sophomore Bria Smith also returns to the back court after earning BIG EAST All-Freshman honors. Junior center Sheronne Vails returns after averaging 3.1 points and 2.3 rebounds per game. Senior forward Asisa Taylor added 5.6 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.
The Cardinals only lost one player from last season, second leading scorer Becky Burke with 11.5 points per game. Burke shot 38 percent from behind the arc and finished the season with a team-high 81 made 3-pointers.
Senior forward Monique Reid and guard Tia Gibbs were granted medical hardship waivers and will be eligible to compete this season. Reid was a Preseason All-BIG EAST First Team selection and also named to the Wade Watch List last fall. She has led the Cardinals in scoring and rebounding the last two seasons and was an All-BIG EAST First Team selection during the 2010-11 season. Gibbs suffered a shoulder injury four minutes into the season opener. Gibbs started every game during the 2010-11 season, averaging 8.8 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. She led the team in steals with 95 in 2011.