LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The 2022-23 roster for the Louisville women's basketball program has seen a few extra moving pieces over the last couple months.
Not only have the Cardinals seen a pair of players depart the program since May, they recently made yet another large splash in the transfer portal.
As a result, Louisville now sits right at the NCAA-allotted maximum of 15 scholarship players. Barring a surprise entry into the transfer portal, the Cards' roster is now completely set for next season, so let's take a look at how this team shakes out.
Departures and Arrivals
Back in May, senior guard Ahlana Smith - who had previously announced that would be taking advantage of her extra year of eligibility and returning to Louisville - entered the portal to follow former UofL assistant Sam Purcell to Mississippi State. Additionally, sophomore forward Sydni Schetnan is no longer listed on Louisville's roster, presumably to concentrate fully on volleyball,
In total, Louisville has six player departing the program. Senior forward Emily Engstler and redshirt senior guard Kianna Smith were both selected in the 2022 WNBA Draft, graduate transfer guard Chelsie Hall ran out of eligibility, and redshirt sophomore forward Ramani Parker is also following Purcell to Starkville.
But to counter all that lost production, head coach Jeff Walz is welcoming seven new pieces to Louisville for the 2022-23 season (UofL was one under the scholarship limit last year).
Most recently, the Cardinals added Utah Valley State graduate transfer Josie Williams in the wake of Schetnan leaving the program. The 6-foot-5 center was a monster in the paint last season, averaging 17.3 points and 12.4 rebounds per game, while also tallying a school record 24 double-doubles.
Her addition came after Louisville added two of the best guards in the ACC in Morgan Jones and Chrislyn Carr. Jones averaged a team-high 13.8 points per game for the Seminoles last season, while Carr was second on the Orange with 14.2 points. Combined with Hailey Van Lith, who averaged 14.4 points, and Louisville's backcourt now features three of the ACC's top ten scorers from the 2021-22 season.
And that's on top of the loaded recruiting class the program is also bringing in. Louisville signed four top-100 prospects for next season: guard Zyanna Walker, wing Jalyn Brown, forward Nyla Harris and center Imani Lester. Walker and Harris are both ranked just inside the top-40 according to ESPNW HoopGurlz.
Projected Depth Chart
Given all that we know now about the current state of Louisville's roster, below is an early look into what the depth chart next year could look like:
*Mobile users can scroll left & right on the table*
|Point Guard||Shooting Guard||Guard/Forward||Power Forward||Center|
Hailey Van Lith
Mykasa Robinson was slated to return back to the starting rotation, until the Cardinals added Chrislyn Carr. She's not only a prolific scorer, but can shoot the lights out after connecting on 37.2 percent of her three-point attempts last year at Syracuse. Robinson will likely be Louisville's sixth women next year, as she is one of the most tenured players on the team with 128 total games under her belt.
Even considering all the starting talent departing the program this offseason, the Cardinals do return arguably their biggest star - Hailey Van Lith. She is setting up to be named a preseason All-American ahead of next season after averaging a team-best 14.4 points per game and having an incredibly hot NCAA Tournament. Behind her, it's a battle between Norika Konno and Merissah Russell at the backup two guard position, as both have showcased their ability to shoot and distribute the ball in limited time on the floor.
While losing Kianna Smith is a big deal considering the production she had, Louisville has a lot of potential at the third guard/wing position. Morgan Jones was a force for FSU and could be the Cardinals' next great two-way player, as she led Florida State with 33 steals and was second in blocks with 30. Payton Verhulst also showed flashes of her potential over her freshman campaign, and saw meaningful minutes in the postseason. Zyanna Walker, the No. 38 prospect in the 2022 cycle, could also carve out an early role due to her capabilities and versatility between the backcourt and the wing. Jalyn Brown, a more true wing, could also push for early playing time as a frosh.
With Louisville adding Josie Williams, that likely makes way for Olivia Cochran to slide over to the four, although she'll still have a large role down in the paint. Cochran was the Cardinals' second leading rebounder behind Emily Engstler at 5.1 per game, and played a large but under the radar role in their NCAA Tournament run. There's also Alexia Mobley here, who has a ton of potential after redshirting last year as a freshman and could very well be the backup post player regardless of position. She averaged a double-double in all three years of high school, and was ranked as high as the No. 31 player in the country before reclassifying. Behind her is a promising newcomers in Nyla Harris, who was ranked the No. 35 player in the 2022 class.
Down under the basket, Josie Williams provides the interior size that many Louisville fans have been clamoring for. Not only was her 17.3 points per game the best in the WAC, but she scored in double figure in every one of Utah Valley State's 30 games. Her 12.4 rebounds per game also ranked fifth in the nation, with her 4.4 offensive boards per game placing seventh nationally and 8.0 defensive boards at 12th. Liz Dixon also showed that she can give the Cards solid production after playing behind Cochran last season, and Imani Lester was ranked the No. 78 ranked player in the 2022 class.
(Photo of Jeff Walz: Scott Utterback - Courier Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK)
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