#8 Louisville Women's Basketball 2020-2021 Preview

Louisville Cardinals
Overall Rank: #8
Conference Rank: #2 ACC
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Over the last three seasons, Louisville has gone 45-5 in conference play. That is impressive in any conference, but even more impressive in the daunting ACC. This impressive run could take a small step back this season though. Three starters are gone, but Coach Jeff Walz brings in enough talent to be right in the mix for yet another ACC title.
2019-20 Record: 28-4, 16-2
Coach: Jeff Walz
Coach Record: 360-103 at Louisville, 360-103 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Jazmine Jones, Guard, 14.1 ppg
Kylee Shook, Forward, 10.1 ppg
Yacine Diop, Guard, 6.0 ppg
Bionca Dunham, Forward, 6.1 ppg
Lindsey Duvall, Guard, 2.0 ppg
Jessica Laemmie, Guard, 1.3 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Dana Evans, Senior, Guard, 18.0 ppg
Elizabeth Balogun, Junior, Guard, 8.1 ppg
Norika Konno, Sophomore, Guard, 4.6 ppg
Elizabeth Dixon, Junior, Forward, 4.4 ppg
Mykasa Robinson, Junior, Guard, 2.7 ppg
Key New Players
Olivia Cochran, Freshman, Forward
Nyah Green, RS Freshman, Guard
Ramani Parker, RS Freshman, Forward
Merissah Russell, Freshman, Guard
Ahlana Smith, Junior, Guard, JC Transfer
Kianna Smith, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Cal
Hailey Van Lith, Freshman, Guard
Malea Williams, Freshman, Forward
Dana Evans is back after earning ACC Player of the Year accolades last season. She averaged 18.0 points and 4.2 assists, while hitting 43.1 percent of her 209 attempts from beyond the arc. Evans will once again be the leader of this group. Evans can carry this team, but she will need some help if Louisville is going to reach the Final Four. Elizabeth Balogun was a regular starter during her sophomore season, averaging 8.1 points and 3.4 rebounds. One key returning play to watch is Elizabeth Dixon. The 6-5 junior had to wait behind the talented frontcourt of Kylee Shook and Bionca Dunham, but now it is her time to take over. The frontcourt will get some help from incoming freshman Olivia Cochran, but this is still a team that will rely on their backcourt. And the backcourt has three newcomers who will make a huge impact right away. Incoming freshman Hailey Van Lith is one of the best recruits in this class and she is expected to be the next Louisville superstar. Kianna Smith comes from California where she was a two-year starter and Ahlana Smith started her collegiate career at UCLA before earning junior college national player of the year honors last season. With that much experience on the perimeter, do not be surprised if Coach Walz employs a four guard lineup at times. As long as the frontcourt can keep up, Louisville will be eyeing their fourth straight ACC regular season title.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.8 (36th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 56.4 (22, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.5 (15, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 35.9 (27, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.3 (136, 7)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.1 (25, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 74.8 (43, 1)
Rebound Margin: 5.8 (46, 5)
Assists Per Game: 15.9 (29, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.9 (65, 4)
Madness 2021 WNBA Draft Rankings:
#5 Dana Evans
Madness 2020 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#4 Hailey Van Lith
#11 Olivia Cochran