It’s really hard to expect the Louisville Cardinals women’s basketball team to be able to beat Connecticut. Connecticut is fielding one of their best teams of all time. The Huskies are firing on all cylinders and they have been since the first tip-off of the season as they remain undefeated heading into tonight’s championship game. They’ve beat the Lady Cards twice this year by an average of 33.5 points and one of those blowouts was in the Big East Tournament championship game. They’ve beaten all of their opponents in the NCAA tournament by double-digits.
Connecticut has the nations best player in Maya Moore. They have the nations best coach in Geno Auriemma. They have eight players who were All-Americans in high school. Louisville has none. They have a history that contains five national championships and over 30 regular season and conference tournament championships. They also have Renee Montgomery and Tina Charles.
Regardless of UConn’s long list of accolades, there is one thing that Louisville has more of.
Louisville showed they had more heart than anyone in the country when they erased a first half lead of 14 points and came back to win the game against a stacked Oklahoma team in the national semi-final on Sunday evening. Angel Mccoughtry played her worst half of the season in the first half against the Sooners and played the most memorable half of her career in the second half as she led Louisville on a charge against Oklahoma. A charge where the Lady Cards were able to grab the lead by as much as six points and coast to victory, despite a very late push by OU.
Becky Burke, Candyce Bingham and Deseree Byrd all played tenaciously on both sides of the court in the comeback. Coach Jeff Walz ripped the team at halftime and told his All-American, Mccoughtry that she was an embarassment. They came out with something to prove and left the Oklahoma Sooners shocked and in tears at the end of the game.
Some say that Oklahoma became too comfortable after their big halftime lead. Some say that Jeff Walz might be the best motivator in the country. But no one can deny that Louisville has earned their spot in the NCAA national championship and has catapulted themselves in the national spotlight as this team has become the story of the year in NCAA women’s basketball.
Louisville enters tonight’s game the underdog once again. Not just expected to lose to the Huskies but many “experts” and fans expect Connecticut to blow them out of the water. It’s possible. Connecticut seems to be on an entirely different level from the rest of women’s college basketball this year. The entire season, they’ve proven that they’ve been the best team in the country. The program hasn’t won a national championship since the 2003-04 season, and you know they’re hungry for one.
Whatever happens, I will make one guarantee and that is that regardless of whether they’re winning by 20 at halftime or losing by 30, Louisville won’t give up until the final buzzer sounds. They’re going to give it their all tonight as they have nothing to lose. The Lady Cards want this as bad as anybody and they’re not going to let anybody crown the Huskies the champions just yet. Remember, they have heart.
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Tagged Angel Mccoughtry, Basketball, Candyce Bingham, Cardinals, Cards, Connecticut, Final Four, game, Geno Auriemma, Huskies, Jeff Walz, Lady Cards, Louisville, maya moore, national championship, NCAA, renee montgomery, title game, UConn, UofL, Women's
Louisville Senior Angel McCoughtry has been named first team All-American by both the Associated Press and the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. McCoughtry is a now a three time All-American after making the AP second team in both 2007 and 2008. She has had an absolutely outstanding season averageing 23.2 points-per-game along with 9.3 rebounds-per-game and 4.2 steals per game as she has led the University of Louisville Women’s basketball team to their first ever Final Four appearance.
As Candyce Bingham hoisted the trophy over her head, it became reality that this basketball team really was, well, something special.
In the Raleigh Regional Finals, the Louisville Lady Cardinals routed top-seeded Maryland 77-60 to advance to the Final Four. The Ladies were all smiles as they held up the Raleigh Regional champion trophy and cut down the nets. Angel Mccoughtry scored 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as the Cardinals ran away from the Terps in the the second half. Candyce Bingham tallied up 15 points and six rebounds while Deseree Byrd added 17 points and nine assists. Becky Burke came off of the bench for 10 points as well.
“I’m dreaming right now,” McCoughtry said as she gestured to Byrd and adding, “pinch me, Des.”
It’s the first Final Four in the program’s history and the Cardinals became the fourth team in Big East history to advance to the final four joining Connecticut, Notre Dame and Rutgers. It didn’t come easy though despite what the final score was. Louisville was held scoreless for nearly six minutes at the end of the first half, until Angel Mccoughtry hit a buzzer beater to put the Cardinals up 30-25. Then the Cards ran away with the game in the second half despite a few attempts by Maryland to get back in the game.
“It’s time to go to Disney World,” McCoughtry said, breaking into a laugh as she added, “oh, wait. We’ve got two more games.”
The Lady Cards will take on the winner of tomorrow’s Oklahoma-Purdue contest. Should they win that game, it looks like they will have to play Connecticut again. A team which held them to just 36 points when they last met in the Big East Tournament Championship.
It’s hard to predict anything right now though considering the Cardinals might be playing better than they have all season. Let’s just hope that a national championship is in the Cards.
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Tagged Angel Mccoughtry, Candyce Bingham, Cardinals, Cards, Final Four, Lady, Louisville, March Madness, Maryland, NCAA, Terps, Terrapins, UofL, Women's Basketball
Angel McCoughtry dropped 28 points and grabbed 9 rebounds for the Louisville Cardinals as they knocked off the 6th-seeded LSU Lady Tigers 62-52 to advance to their second straight sweet 16. It didn’t look easy as LSU often exchanged leads with the Lady Cards throughout the game but Louisville was able to control the pace of the game, make a few quick runs and ultimately come out on top.
LSU’s Allison Hightower scored 21 points and dished out 5 assists but that just wasn’t enough for LSU who failed to advance to the sweet 16 for the first time in six seasons. Louisville’s Candyce Bingham played the supporting role as she was able to score 17 points and grab 6 rebounds.
In the end, Louisville proved to be the tougher team as they were able to hold off the Lady Tigers on their home floor. The Lady Cardinals continue their quest for their first national championship when they take on 2nd-seeded Baylor on Saturday in Raleigh, NC.
The good news is that Louisville is playing good basketball, Angel McCoughtry is playing like she’s the best in the country, and the Cards look like they may be able to make a good run through the regionals and into the Final Four. The bad news is that all roads look like they will eventually lead to playing Connecticut who has beaten Louisville twice this year by an average of 33 points.
UConn just seems to be on another level from the rest of women’s college basketball.
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Tagged Angel Mccoughtry, Basketball, Baton Rouge, Baylor, Bears, Cardinals, Cards, Lady, Louisville, LSU, March Madness, NCAA, Tigers, Tournament, Women's
The 3rd seeded Louisville Cardinals women’s basketball team takes on 6th seeded LSU tonight at 9:30 in the second round of the NCAA tournament. On Sunday, the Lady Cardinals knocked off Liberty 62-42 as Angel McCoughtry led the way with 12 points and 6 rebounds. Candyce Bingham tallied up 12 points while Becky Burke dropped 11 points on the Lady Flames and the Cards won their 30th game in a season for the first time ever.
The LSU Lady Tigers have a tenacious defense, allowing only 53.2 points per game but they are going to have to turn on the offense tonight if they hope for some success against Louisville. The Cardinals shouldn’t have any problem taming the Lady Tigers though.
Prediction: Louisville 71 – LSU 59
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Tagged Angel Mccoughtry, Cardinals, Cards, Lady, Louisville, LSU, March Madness, NCAA, Tigers, Tournament, Women's Basketball