Louisville, KY -- The young and talented University of Louisville Women's Basketball team has great expectations for the 2015-2016 season.
Finishing last season 27-7 with a Sweet Sixteen exit, the Cardinals also said goodbye to eight letter-winners. The departing players include the winningest senior class in school history. Despite losing veteran leadership, the Louisville Women have gained tremendous talent.
The star-studded freshmen class has been named one of the top classes in the country. This class boasts three five-star recruits, including the top point guard in the 2015 class, Asia Durr. All five freshmen are ranked in the 2015 espnW HoopGurlz Top 100.
Head Coach Jeff Walz spoke highly of the freshmen, "we've got really talented freshmen. All five of them are going to play."
While Coach Walz said that Taja Cole, Asia Durr and Sam Fuehring are probably the most ready to play. He noted the progress made by Center Erin DeGrate and praised Guard Brianna Jones for her ability to shoot the basketball.
However, the Cardinals aren't worried about a lack of leadership.
The Louisville Women return two of the best players in the ACC, All-Americans Mariya Moore, and Myisha Hines-Allen.
Mariya Moore had a stellar freshman season earning Full Court Freshman All-American honors among several other accolades. Moore averaged 13.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 30.1 minutes. She ranked 20th in ACC scoring, fourth among ACC freshmen. Moore spent the offseason competing with the 2015 USA Basketball Women's U19 World Championship team. Her work in the offseason has translated to her leadership on the court.
Myisha Hines-Allen, a 6-foot-2 forward, also had a strong freshman year. A third team Full Court All-American, Hines-Allen boasted the best shooting percentage, 55.8 from the field, for the Cardinals and ranked 13th nationally.
It's no doubt that Moore and Hines-Allen, along with fellow Sophomore Arica Carter and redshirt Junior Cortnee Walton, will be counted on to provide leadership for the young Cardinals.
The Louisville Women also picked up University of Central Florida transfer, Briahanna Jackson, and Junior Dakota Weatherford.
The addition of Briahanna Jackson adds a dynamic level of athleticism and scoring that the Cardinals have not seen in a while. Jackson, most known for putting up 28-points against UConn in 2014, is quick to the basket and puts up good shots. And Dakota Weatherford, who was awarded a scholarship recently, is a vocal leader who can run the floor.
"Scoring without a doubt is going to be one of our strengths." Coach Walz said about the 2015 - 2016 team, "I think we're deep. I think we have a good group of 12 that are going to be able to play and give us quality minutes... Offensively, I think our ability to put the ball in the basket is going to be one of our strengths."