As most basketball fans in Louisville know, Bellarmine just made the move to Division I basketball in the 2020-2021 season. So let’s just say we were not expecting a UConn-level performance from them quite yet. At the end of the first quarter the score was 28-10 and the Knights were held to only 15 more points the rest of the game. However this gave Coach Walz the chance to get lots of minutes to the bench which is valuable for our long term prospects this season but also because the Cards have a quick turnaround to play a tough UT-Martin team tomorrow night.
Syracuse transfer Emily Engstler had a double-double by halftime and finished the game with 12 points, 14 rebounds, 4 steals, 3 assists and 3 blocks. That’s about as all-around a good game as you can get. When asked how her double-double felt she said, “Hopefully it feels normal if I continue it. I’ve always been a kind of rebounder so just learning how to consistently score efficiently is the next goal.”
Coach Walz said of Emily, “When Chelsie [Hall] and Emily decided to join this family everybody embraced it. I told them ‘Guys go out and play. Do what you do. We want to win. The players who have been here like to win. Do what we know you can do’ and that’s exactly what Emily did tonight.” He added, “In my 15th season here I don’t know if we’ve ever had somebody get a double-double in the first half. That’s not easy I don’t care who you’re playing. She pursued the ball.”
Hailey Van Lith and Norika Konno both scored 11 points apiece. Coach Walz said, “Norika’s been playing some really good basketball. I thought she played well in our Arizona game. Defensively she’s getting so much better…. She really understands concepts and she’s shooting the ball with more confidence now.” He added, “She has been a joy to coach.”
He said he challenged his team by saying, “There’s not one person on this roster now that’s been a part of hanging a banner. We’re preseason rank 6 because of what we’ve done in the past. And I’ve got to get them to understand everybody’s coming at you… so you’ve got to be prepared to play.”
As mentioned the Cards play again tomorrow night. Coach Walz said that they were scheduled to play the game on Thursday but UT-Martin did a favor and agreed to come in early so that Louisville could fly out early to Washington for their game Saturday. The game is at 7PM and can be seen on the ACCNX.