Louisville Women’s Head Basketball Coach Jeff Walz had a tall order to fill once his team’s season ended. He lost eleven players in total, six due to graduation and five due to the transfer portal. Despite losing household name, Hailey van Lith, to the transfer portal and a team cornerstone in Norika Konno, Jeff Walz has done an impeccable job reloading this roster.
Primarily through the transfer portal, he has completely bolstered this roster with players like Jayda Curry, Kiki Jefferson, Nina Rickards, and Sydney Taylor. But, for now, we are going to focus on two former Louisville Cardinals who used to suit up for Coach Walz and have now moved on to bigger and better things.
One of the most genuine players on the team and seemingly always with a smile on her face, Norika Konno just recently announced that she has signed a contract to play professional basketball in her home country of Japan. She has agreed to a contract with Denso Iris.
Known for her No. 11, Konno will be wearing No. 73 for Denso Iris. Denso Iris is a professional women’s basketball team that was established in 1962. But, it wasn’t until 1993 that the team was promoted to the Japan League Division I. The team has won both the All Japan General Championships and the W League while maintaining a desire to produce high-end talent for the Japan National Team.
Sounds like the perfect place for Norika Konno to continue her career. Not only is she passionate about the game of basketball, but she is passionate about Japan and now she combine both of her passions continuing to play the game she loves.
In 94 career games with the Cardinals, she recorded a total of 293 points, 119 rebounds, 106 assists, 38 three-pointers, and 37 steals. She will be a great asset to the Denso Iris team.
Liz Dixon transferred to Louisville after one season at Georgia Tech. While in Atlanta, she started all 30 games for the Yellow Jackets and earned a spot on the All-ACC Freshman Team. Once she arrived in Louisville, she picked up where she left off. In four seasons in Louisville, she averaged 5.5 points per game, 3.8 rebounds per game, and shot 55% from the field.
Not known for her three-point capability, she only attempted one three-pointer in four years, but that did not stop her from joining the 1,000-point club.
And now, she can continue filling up the basket as the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun announced they signed Liz Dixon to a contract for the rest of the season.
She now joins three other active former Louisville Cardinals in the WNBA: Asia Durr (Atlanta Dream), Dana Evans (Chicago Sky), and Myisha Hines-Allen (Washington Mystics). Emily Engstler was on the Indiana Fever earlier this year, but was waived and still remains a free agent.