Cincinnati Basketball: Looking ahead to Bearcats season opener at Louisville

Hailey Van Lith of the Louisville Cardinals handles the ball against the Connecticut Huskies. Getty Images.
Hailey Van Lith of the Louisville Cardinals handles the ball against the Connecticut Huskies. Getty Images. /
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In just a few days, the Bearcats women’s basketball team will open the season with a trip to Louisville. Michelle Clark-Heard is returning to her hometown with an opportunity to upset her former program and start the new season with a monumental win.

Clark-Heard spent six years as an assistant coach at Louisville before taking the head coaching job at her alma mater Western Kentucky in 2012 and being hired by the Bearcats after that. She was a part of Louisville’s first ever trip to the Final Four in 2009.

During the last decade, Louisville has become one of the nation’s premier programs with Jeff Walz at the helm. Junior guard Hailey Van Lith will lead the way with senior forward Morgan Jones. Van Lith scored a team-high 14.4 points per game last season.

After blowing out Wittenberg in a recent exhibition game, Cincinnati will try to pull off an upset at 7th ranked Louisville on Monday night. That’s certainly easier said than done though as Cincinnati looks to slow down the Cardinals and compete at a high level.

Cincinnati Basketball: Looking ahead to Bearcats season opener at Louisville

In the preseason exhibition, the Bearcats picked up a 91-45 win on Wednesday to prepare for Louisville. Seton Hall transfer Mya Jackson scored a team-high 17 points and four assists as junior forward Jillian Hayes finished with 15 points and five rebounds.

Following the matchup at Louisville on Monday, the Bearcats will return home for three straight games at Fifth Third Arena before heading to the Daytona Beach Invitational. In a recent interview, Clark-Heard looked ahead to the season via Cincinnati Athletics.

"“It’s important that we bring in individuals that fit our culture. When you have an opportunity to be around the game for a long time, I think you always get a little anxious because you can foresee what you want to happen. I’ve grown and learned it’s about the process so that’s something I’ve tried to focus on from spring and summer to now. I’m excited about this group that we put together and the returners and their growth. We have a lot of challenges ahead of us. We start at Louisville and our schedule is really strong. I know it’s definitely going to prepare us for the conference and that was the most important thing. We want to be able to do some great things and leave this conference in a great standing.”"

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