Sacred Heart grad gets homecoming vs. U of L

The University of Louisville women’s basketball team will play at the KFC Yum! Center at 7 p.m. Friday for the fifth consecutive time, but it’ll also be a home game of sorts for a member of the opposing team.

Lafayette College senior guard Maddie Peabody, a Louisville native, graduate of Sacred Heart Academy and lifelong U of L fan, is eager for her team to face the Cardinals in front of lots of her family and friends, many of whom haven’t seen her play since high school. She said Sacred Heart coach Donna Moir and some of the current Valkyries may make it out, too.

“I’m really excited,” said Peabody, who starts for the Easton, Pa., school. “(U of L is) a great program to play against and a wonderful facility. I can’t believe I’ll play in the Yum! Center and in front of all the people who have supported me over the years.”

It’s made her first Thanksgiving home since she’s been in college a special one. Lafayette’s entire team was to have holiday dinner at Peabody’s house.

Friday night it’s back to work, on a big stage. Lafayette (3-1) has averaged 356 fans at its games this season. The Cards (5-0) regularly draw close to 10,000.

It’ll be a shocker if Lafayette comes away a winner against the No. 12 Cards, but Peabody is proud of the strides her program has made. Lafayette was 8-22 her first year, 11-19 in 2012-13 and 14-16 last season.

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She’s averaging a career-best 10 points per game and scored a career-high 16 in a win over Rider on Tuesday.

“The program at Lafayette is on the upswing,” she said. “… It was an OK place when we got here, and hopefully we’ve made it better.”

Steve Jones can be reached at (502) 582-7176 and followed on Twitter at @SteveJones_CJ.

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