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    This article appears in the December 2011 issue of LouisvilleMagazine. To subscribe, please visit **use this link

    Had the university just let Walz yell at students the way he yells at players during a game, they would have overwhelmed the server to rate their professors.

    I love U of L women’s basketball. Not just Walz but the entire team. This is the best entertainment value in town. Most of the time, if I stand outside the KFC Yum! Center long enough on game night, someone hands me a free ticket. But on the occasions when I have to fork over $8, it’s still a deal. (In contrast, tickets to men’s games are $35 — and that doesn’t include paying a scalper’s fee for a good seat when the Cards play, say, UConn.)

    The women provide far more than $8 worth of entertainment — not to mention lots of story lines. Start with the ball-handling skills of sophomore guard Shoni Schimmel. A member of the Umatilla tribe in Oregon, Shoni is the subject of the documentary Off the Rez. This season, her sister Jude — three inches shorter but as fierce as Shoni is wily — joins the team. Hometown girl Monique Reed, a senior from Fern Creek High School, is another standout who last year led the team, and the Big East, in scoring. Last season the team was 22-10 overall and 10-5 in the Big East, making it to the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet Sixteen before losing to Gonzaga. They started this season ranked third in the Big East and ninth nationally, with four returning starters. Sports Illustrated ranked them pre-season No. 5.

    Last summer, I was walking my dog through Cherokee Park and the whole team ran past me on a hill. I caught up with them as they gathered by Hogan’s Fountain. Overcome with fanitude, I couldn’t stop myself. There they were! Shoni! Becky Burke! Monique! I spread out my arms and declared, “I love you guys!”

    They didn’t laugh at me; they were very nice. Actually, I may have embarrassed them. Satisfied with my moment in their shadow, my dog and I continued on. 

    Photos: Courtesy Suki Anderson

    Jenni Laidman's picture

    About Jenni Laidman

    I'm a freelance writer who specializes in science and medicine but is passionate about art. I'm a hell of a cook. I think of white wine as training wheels for people who will graduate to red. I love U of L women's basketball. The best bargain in town is the $3 admission to U of L volleyball. Really exciting stuff.

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