Louisville native, Indiana Fever rookie honored

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Louisville native Grace Berger has been making waves in the WNBA.

Berger, a Sacred Heart graduate who played collegiately at Indiana, was named to The Associated Press All-Rookie Team on Sept. 12 after her first season with the Indiana Fever.

Berger, the seventh overall pick in the 2023 WNBA Draft, played limited minutes during the first half of the campaign but excelled down the stretch as a backup to veteran guard Erica Wheeler. Averaging 14.6 minutes per game in 36 appearances, Berger scored 4.2 points on 44.9% shooting, leading all rookies with 47.1% (16 of 34) from 3-point range. points, in addition to 1.9 assists and 1.6 rebounds per game. .

His best performance this season came on July 12, when he had 15 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals, playing 36 minutes of an overtime loss to the New York Liberty. Three of her five double-digit scoring efforts occurred during the Fever’s final 12 games.

“Coming in, you don’t know what you don’t know, so I was bombarded with a lot of information,” Berger told The Indianapolis Star. “New kits, new style of play, having to learn what coach Christie (Sides) wants in the court as a point guard, as a leader on the court, so I think I’ve gained confidence in that area, being able to know what I want and execute it on the court with my team.”

Berger left IU this spring as the winningest player in program history, helping lead the Hoosiers to 118 wins from 2018 to 2023. A four-time All-Big Ten selection, she ranks second on IU in career assists (573) and seventh in scoring with 1,841 points.

As a senior at Sacred Heart, she was named a Kentucky All-Star, The Courier Journal Female Athlete of the Year and the 2018 Kentucky Basketball Coaches Association Seventh Region Player of the Year.

“She has all the skills,” Wheeler told The Indianapolis Star. “When her confidence is high, it’s a beautiful thing to see.”

The Fever finished the 2023 season 13-27, placing 10th in the 12-team league.

In town: John Spugnardi, longtime Bellarmine sports information director, announces retirement

After 34 years at Bellarmine, the last 15 as the Knights’ assistant athletic director of communications, John Spugnardi is stepping down.

Spugnardi, a native of Simpsonville, Kentucky, who began working for the university as a member of its public relations team in 1989 before transitioning to sports in 2008, will retire Nov. 1.

“I have many people to thank for making the last 34 years an incredible journey,” he said in a statement. “From my everyday co-workers to students, college presidents, colleagues from other schools, and volunteers at sporting events, I have truly had great experiences with everyone and could not have been successful without each and every one of them.”

Bellarmine athletic director Scott Wiegandt said Spugnardi “helped advance our athletics department not only on the communications side but also in event organization and brand outreach, along with many other components integral to the growth and sustained success,” as the Knights made the jump from Division II to Division II. Division I in 2020.

He described the task of filling Spugnardi’s void as “impossible.”

“John Spugnardi has been the consummate PRO!!!!!” Scott Davenport, the Knights’ longtime men’s basketball coach, said in a statement. “His greatest strength is that he cares. Caring is a very special talent, one that is often overlooked in all areas of life. The personal pride he demonstrated daily in all facets of his position was very special and something I will always be grateful for. He deserves the right to enjoy every day; he earned it.”

Performance of the Week: North Oldham boys soccer shutout win against Butler

With the KHSAA boys soccer playoffs approaching, North Oldham (4-3-4) accomplished something no team has done this season: hold Butler (7-2-3) scoreless for 90 minutes.

Behind goals from seniors Reeves Sewell and Baraka Bakwire, and junior goalie Cooper Judy’s fifth shutout in six games, the Mustangs defeated the Bears 2-0 on the road Thursday night as they prepare to challenge for a fourth consecutive Eighth Region championship.

Butler, which won the Sixth Region title last season, entered the contest having scored 33 goals in 11 games.

“We just trust each other,” Judy said after the win. “We have the effort and the desire to win.”

For more on the game, read Chris Mattingly’s dispatch from Shively for The Courier Journal.

High school recruiting: Men’s soccer star Isaac Sowells adds another Power Five offer

Baseball: Fairdale’s hunter hicks (2024) announced on September 8 that he had received a scholarship offer from Kentucky Christian.

Football: male offensive lineman Isaac Sowells received his 12th Division I scholarship offer Wednesday from Virginia. Louisville and Kentucky are among the schools eagerly pursuing the 2025 outlook.

Women’s basketball: Whitefield Academy Allison Spieker (2024) presents up to three scholarship offers, the last to Bethel University at the NAIA level.

Softball: Ballard Companions Lili Koch (2024) and Kady Dennis (2024) have committed to Georgetown College, while Eastern Hallie Roberts (2024) has committed to Lindsey Wilson College.

Mark your calendars

  • No. 2 Louisville volleyball begins ACC play with a two-game homestand, beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday against Syracuse inside L&N Federal Credit Union Arena. The Cardinals will have a quick turnaround as they host Boston College at 1 pm on September 24.
  • The fourth-ranked Louisville field hockey team plays James Madison at 5 p.m. Friday at Trager Stadium.
  • No. 5 U of L men’s soccer travels to Evansville for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff on Tuesday, then hosts NC State at Dr. Mark & ​​Cindy Lynn Stadium for a 7 p.m. ACC game. on September 24. The Cardinals women’s team hosts Pitt at 8 p.m. on Thursday before traveling to Miami for Sunday’s noon kickoff.
  • Louisville City FC plays two road games this week: at 7 pm on Wednesday against Miami FC and at 6:30 pm on Saturday against Loudoun United FC.
  • The Louisville men’s golf team competes at The Bearcat Invitational, hosted in Cincinnati, on Monday and Tuesday. The Cardinals then head to Duke for the Rod Myers Invitational, which begins September 24. The women’s team will be in Franklin, Tennessee, this weekend for the Mason Rudolph Invitational, hosted by Vanderbilt.
  • The U of L men’s and women’s tennis teams begin their seasons this weekend. The men’s team will be in Malibu, California, for the Pepperdine Invitational, and the women’s team will compete in June’s Stewart Invitational at Vanderbilt.
  • Bellarmine women’s soccer has two road games this week: a 7 pm kickoff at Kennesaw State and a 1 pm kickoff on September 24 at Queens University of Charlotte. The men’s team hosts Lipscomb on Saturday at 7 pm.
  • The Knights football team has its first home game of the season at 6 pm Saturday against Calumet College of St. Joseph.
  • Bellarmine field hockey is on the road this week for games at 5 pm against Longwood University and at 11 am Sunday against Queens University of Charlotte.
  • The Bellarmine volleyball team travels to Eastern Kentucky University on Wednesday for a 6 pm match, then hosts Queens University of Charlotte at 4 pm on Saturday.
  • And in golf, the Knights women’s team competes at The Velvet, hosted by Murray State, on Monday and Tuesday.

Play of the week: Alejo López shows his arm in the Louisville Bats’ victory against the Durham Bulls

Louisville Bats left fielder Alejo Lopez preserved a shutout in the bottom of the seventh inning on Friday night by knocking down the Durham Bulls’ Raimel Tapia at home with an impressive throw of a hard-hitting ground ball into the outfield.

The Bats won 2-0. Lopez drove in both of the team’s runs and his pitching staff combined to strike out 21 batters. Right-handed starter Christian Roa accounted for 12 of the K’s.

Contact Louisville men’s basketball reporter Brooks Holton at bholton@gannett.com and follow him on X at @brooksHolton.


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