A preview of the future of Louisville women’s basketball arrived today as 19,123 fans crammed Freedom Hall to see the Lady Cards take on No. 1 ranked Connecticut. The total was a record for both U of L and the Big East Conference — and the largest crowd to attend a women’s game in the country this year.

What the fans saw was evidence that the quality of women’s basketball continues to improve. The prototypical women’s college basketball players today are athletes. They are fast, they play tough defense, and they hit shots their predecessors never dreamed of taking. Probably a surprise to some people attending their first women’s game, should make them want to return.

UConn is the envy of every women’s basketball coach. The Huskies are 15-0 after defeating U of L 93-72. They are undefeated because every player on that team is a finely-tuned athlete. The best athlete on the floor, however, was U of L’s Angel McCoughtry, managing to score 30 points while she was the primary focus of a bruising UConn defense.

Even though the place was packed, there weren’t that many familiar faces. Probably means some fans aren’t that clued into what’s really happening. They’ll jump on the bandwagon when Jeff Walz takes a team to a first Final Four. Many children in the crowd, future fanatics of U of L’s women’s basketball. U of L women’s basketball takes a giant step.

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The impressive turnout also had to impress another key audience — several important football recruits on campus this weekend, trying to decide between U of L and other major schools. Watch for some verbal commits next week.

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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.