When Monique Reid arrived at the University of Louisville in 2008, she did so with the building expectations of the women’s program under the direction of then new head coach Jeff Walz.
Following a stellar career at Fern Creek High School, where she earned two-time first team All-State honors and led the state in scoring as a senior, Reid had plenty of college options, but chose to stay home and play for the Cardinals.
“She was one of the first to come here and take a chance on this program,” said Walz, now in his fifth season at U of L. “She was a big part of our national final run. I think she has had a lot of great experiences here. I know that it is something that she really has enjoyed and we have been very fortunate to have her.”
Reid became a key figure on the Cardinals lineup immediately. As a freshman she started 13 games. She became a regular starter as a sophomore and responded by leading the team and Big East Conference in scoring.
“Coach Walz has been the coach that I’ve never had,” said Reid. “He’s demanding, he stays on me, but I always needed somebody like that. In high school it was easy for me and I didn’t really have to try, but he pushed me to be the best that I could be. I went from averaging 5 points to averaging almost 20 points my sophomore year, so he’s basically helped me become a great player.”
During her time at Louisville, Reid has experienced the best high’s that the program has had, but she’s also been forced to deal with the low’s of nagging knee injuries. Since suffering an injury to her left knee early last season, Reid has been in and out of the lineup, but has maintained her desire to help the program succeed.
“Monique Reid has had a rough year and a half with her knee, but she’s a fighter,” said Walz. “Its been great to have the opportunity to coach her. She’s been apart of all three Sweet 16 teams, which has never been done here before. I think that says a lot about her.”
Dealing with the knee injury has been a struggle at times, but Reid continues to push herself and her teammates.
“It’s tough mentally and physically, because I know what I can do,” she said. “It is what it is, so I had to keep encouraging my teammates to try and get better. Obviously, I’m playing hurt, but I’m trying to do the best that I can and end the season out right.”
She’ll be in the starting lineup for the team’s final regular season home game on Wednesday night when Seton Hall visits the KFC Yum! Center.
“It has been a roller coaster, up and down ride because of the injuries, but the basketball experience has been pretty good,” she said. “I really appreciate everything that everyone has done for me during my five years. I can‘t believe that it‘s ending.”
Before her senior season comes to a close, Reid hopes to add to the building tradition during the upcoming Big East Conference and NCAA Tournaments.
“I’m a hometown kid, so I’ve seen what this program has been through and what it has become,” said Reid. “It’s an amazing feeling to be a part of history. We’ve basically built a tradition here. I definitely feel like it’s on good footing. We have built a tradition of winning and it’s a great feeling to have been a part of starting that tradition.”