By Sonja Sykes

Angel McCoughtry and Candy Bingham were honored in every way possible before, during and after the University of Louisville women’s 75-51 win over an impressive Pittsburgh team to wrap up second place in the Big East Conference. But they were not celebrating the end of their days at Freedom Hall but looking toward for the future for the Lady Cards.

“This program is going places,” said Bingham. “I could never have envisioned a better place to play basketball than the University of Louisville. This is just the beginning for this program.”

Angel was more emphatic, predicting that the Lady Cards would win a national championship. “If it doesn’t happen this year, it will happen in the near future,” she said. “We have the perfect coaching staff in place. It is going to happen.”

A very emotional beginning to the start of the game, but a very good start for the Cards, roaring out to an 8-2 early lead and countering the Pitt size with quickness and defense.  Unfortunately, Angel was forced to sit several minutes in the first half after picking up her second foul. But the Cards hung on, thanks to Bingham’s efforts taking a 35-29 lead into the half.

Angel was spectacular again, with deadly jumpers, steals for layups and seeming to appear all over the court in warp speed. Give the senior 22 points and 4 steals. Only fitting that the final points she’ll ever score in Freedom Hall came from a soft three at the top of the circle.

Candyce Bingham with her career high. 26 points and 10 of 10 from the free throw line in the second half. Seemingly dwarfed by the tall Pitt front line defenders, she scored on close in banks and follow-ups time and time again.

Monique Reid did not play or dress, due to a concussion received in practice. The freshman did appear on the bench later in the game and was part of a standing ovation for Candyce and Angel when they left the game with two minutes to go.

Sonja Goes For A John Deere

Sometimes, I like to prowl the concourse at Freedom Hall with my husband before a game. Maybe check out the Cards Store or get a soda. Greet a few friends and sometimes sign up for the free giveaway that is usually being offered near the main entrance.  At halftime, my name was called by Public address announcer Sean Moth as one of the five finalists to win a John Deere riding lawnmower from Hartland Equipment. It caused me to miss the first ten minutes of the second half.

We waited for a time out to hit the court. The instructions were pretty clear. Five circles with a number under them would be out on the court. We were to go stand on one of the circles. If the number drawn matched the number underneath my circle, I won. I prayed I wouldn’t trip walking out to my number, crossed my fingers for luck and off we went. I headed to the circle farthest away from me and no one else challenged me for it.

A Lady Bird drew out a number and Sean Moth called out “one”. The lady two away from me turned over her circle. Seven. Still alive. The elderly gentleman next to me flipped his. One. Game over.  Ironic, because he told me that he really needed that riding lawnmower because his was always breaking down. Paul has two good ones in the garage. Poetic justice. At least the Cards won today and I did get a green John Deere cap.

Also, a chance to walk on the same court on the same day those two seniors made their final appearances on it.  That’s the stuff of memories.

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.