(Photo of Jeff Walz: Kirby Lee - USA TODAY Sports)
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The Louisville women’s basketball program might be just a week into their offseason, and the confetti is probably still trickling down from the rafters of the Alamodome after Sunday’s national championship game, but it’s never too early to take a look at next season.
Immediately following Stanford’s 54-53 victory over Arizona to claim the title, ESPN women’s basketball analyst Charlie Creme released his ‘Way-Too-Early Top 25’ rankings for the 2021-22 season. It came as little surprise that he placed the Cardinals among the top teams in the country.
Louisville finds themselves just outside the top five, landing at the No. 6 spot in the poll. They are the highest of the six teams from the ACC to make the top 25, ahead of NC State, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Notre Dame. UConn, South Carolina, Stanford, Baylor and Maryland round out the top five.
While they are losing senior guard Dana Evans to the WNBA Draft, they are returning every other player from the 2020-21 season with the exception of guard Nyah Green - who transferred in December. The Cardinals are also welcoming in a pair of quality transfers and and a pair of highly regarded high school prospects.
Head coach Jeff Walz led Louisville to a 26-4 record, winning the ACC regular season title, claiming a berth in the ACC Championship game, as well as the Elite Eight as a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. They fell 78-63 to eventual national champion Stanford last Tuesday.
Evans was not only voted as the ACC Player of the Year for a second consecutive season, but a First Team All-American by seven different publications - including the Associated Press. Junior guard Mykasa Robinson was named to the ACC All-Defensive Team, while freshmen Olivia Cochran and Hailey Van Lith were named to the ACC All-Freshman Team.
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