Examining key losses from ’21-’22

Let’s take a look at the turnover from the Louisville women’s basketball team’s 2021-22 season

The 2021-22 season started a little rocky with the first game loss to Arizona. Then the Louisville women’s basketball program reeled off a 15 game winning streak after that loss – including four wins over top 15 teams.

When a loss to NC State halted the win streak, the Cards got back on track only losing one more game in the regular season. After taking a share of the ACC regular season championship with NC State, Louisville would make a first game exit in the ACC tournament.

Louisville would end up with a one seed in the NCAA tournament even with the early exit. After a great season, and final four run in 2022 Louisville women’s basketball had to deal with plenty of turnover.

The Seniors say goodbye

The biggest losses would come in the form of the three senior starters.

First Emily Engstler the All-ACC player, and WNBA draft pick. Second was starter and WNBA second round pick Kianna Smith. Last was starting point guard Chelsie Hall. Even though it was Englster and Hall’s first season with the Cards, they adjusted nicely. The two grad transfers came straight into the starting lineup and proved they deserved to be there. Englster saw her stock rise the whole season to make her an All-ACC player, and top 10 WNBA pick. Hall steadied the offense, and was a very under the radar player the whole season. Fan favorite Smith was also a huge loss for the Cards. As one of the Cards leading three point shooters, and on floor leaders Smith will be hard to replace.

Also trending: NIL Collective “502 Circle” Launches to support Louisville Athletics

A couple of transfers find a new home

The Cards not only lost to graduation, but also the transfer portal.

Louisville fans saw red-shirt junior Ramani Parker, and super senior Ahlana Smith both head to Mississippi State. Most fans thought Parker would play a bigger role for the Cards last season, but she could never find her way into the rotation with steady minutes.

Smith was expected to play a big role in the Card’s backcourt this coming season, but after some transfers came in it seems she saw that opportunity slipping. Both did what they thought was best for them and I wish the both nothing but the best this season.

The coaching staff gets the turnover bug

The only losses were not just on the court, but on the sideline as well.

This offseason saw beloved assistant coach Sam Purcell take the head coaching job at Mississippi State. Coach Purcell has been with the Cards since 2013. Purcell had become beloved by Cardinal fans with his southern charm, quick wit, and swaggy dress. Until the Louisville coaches relaxed the dress code this past season, you could always find Coach Purcell on the sideline with his suit and his bow tie. Coach Purcell was on staff to help guide such stars as Shoni Shimmel, Dana Myisha Hines-Allen, Asia Durr, Dana Evans, and this past year’s stars. Purcell will be missed by all of CardNation.

Editor’s note: Coach Purcell appeared on the Off the Walz Podcast with Brian Trent during the 2021-22 season – catch that episode below.

Head Coach Walz also saw the departure of associate strength and conditioning coach Beth Burns. Coach Burns, or Coach B as the team referred to her, has been with the program since 2017. Burns has been in the coaching industry since 1979, and came to Louisville from USC where she was the Associate Head Coach. Coach B departs Louisville to go back to USC to join Lindsay Gottlieb’s staff in her second season as head coach.

Glad to finally get back to telling you all about the Louisville women’s basketball team after a summer off from them.

Expect more articles coming in the next few days, detailing all the returning players and newcomers to the team. Thank you to all the fans who support my writing, the Off The Walz Podcast, and the whole team at State of Louisville.

Time to get ready for another great season of Louisville Women’s basketball.

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