BOZICH | Five Farewell Facts about Fab Five of Louisville women's basketball
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The most successful collection of seniors to perform for the University of Louisville women's basketball program will play their final home game against Boston College Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the KFC Yum! Center.
U of L coach Jeff Walz said he will start the five seniors – Sara Hammond, Shawnta' Dyer, Sherone Vails, Bria Smith and Jude Schimmel against the Eagles as the group tries to win their 109th game over the last four seasons.
More than 9,000 tickets have already been sold for the game, which will also be Native American Night. Former U of L all-American Shoni Schimmel is expected to attend.
With an overall record of 23-4, U of L is 11-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, tucked in third place behind Notre Dame and Florida State. Walz said the team is tracking toward a three-seed in the NCAA Tournament.
“A lot of highlights (from these seniors),” Walz said. “You talk about a run to a national championship game (2013) and an Elite Eight last year. Just a great group of young women who have matured throughout their time here …
“Got a few of them who have graduated already and are working on second degrees, on master's programs. Have one or two who will finish up in the spring. Everybody will graduate. Eventually, as I tell them, they will go out and be productive parts of society, paying their taxes, so when we retire, we can still get our Social Security.”
Five Fab Five Farewell Facts:
1. Sara Hammond – A starter in all but one game over the last three seasons, Hammond will finish her career ranked in the top 10 in rebounds and blocked shots, making her one of the most complete inside players in school history.
She's delivered 18 double-doubles in her career after arriving from Rockcastle County as Kentucky Miss Basketball in 2011. She's averaging 11.1 points and 6.9 rebounds as a senior.
“There's no doubt (signing players like Hammond, a McDonald's all-American) helped put our name out there on a national level,” Walz said. “We've continued to be able to recruit players that are national level players.”
2. Shawnta' Dyer – After overcoming a broken heel (freshman season), sports hernia (sophomore), torn ACL (junior) and stress fractures in both femur bones (senior), Dyer persevered to play her best basketball, averaging 12.4 points and 6.6 rebounds in the last five games.
She is pursuing a degree master's degree in elementary educations after earning a degree in physical education last year.
“It was frustrating at first (being injured),” Dyer said. “But I finally put my trust in the coaching staff and trainers, and we came up with a game plan of what they were going to do with me for the rest of the years. It's worked pretty well.”
3. Sherone Vails -- Fourth in blocked shots in U of L history, Vails has returned to the starting lineup for the last five games. She has earned degrees in exercise science and school health education. Vails missed all of last season with a knee injury. After a 581-day absence she scored four points against IUPUI in the first game this season.
“When she first got here she was diagnosed with a little leaking heart valve,” Walz said. “Nothing that stopped her from playing, but she wasn't able to lift more than the bar for the first 2 ½ years.”
4. Bria Smith – Will start for the 120th time against Boston College. Needs 22 points to move into 15th place on the school's all-time scoring list. Ranks sixth in steals at U of L and scored a career-high 22 against Western Kentucky on Nov. 25.
Perhaps the team's most complete player, Smith has led U of L in scoring, rebounding and assists during games this season.
5. Jude Schimmel – After starting only five games over her first three seasons, Schimmel has started all 27 games for U of L this season. She leads the team with 55 steals and ranks second with 100 assists. She needs 37 assists to move into the Top 10 at U of L in that category.
Schimmel is pursuing a degree in sports administration after earning a bachelor's degree in sociology last year. She intends to write a book after finishing her playing career.
“Jude's had an unbelievable career for us,” Walz said. “She's been as important as anybody that we've recruited.”
“They had a great four years,” Walz said. “And they aren't finished. We aren't satisfied.”
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