By Paul Sykes
Not long into the NCAA Women’s Selection show, the capacity crowd in Cardinal Arena knew the destination of the University of Louisville women’s basketball team for the first two rounds of the tournament. The ranking and the location weren’t the most desirable or popular with the attendees or players.
Jeff Walz and the Lady Cards were placed in Baton Rouge as the #3 seed in the Raleigh Region and drew #14 Liberty as their first assignment. They’ll play on Sunday and could meet #6 LSU Tuesday in their backyard if both advance to the second round.
If the Selection Committee is the same as the Women’s Basketball Committee (at right), one would have to question the influence of Western Kentucky’s Wood Selig and LSU’s Judy Southard in squelching the Lady Cards’ ambitions of going to Bowling Green.
When the bracket appeared, a lusty roar came from the crowd but quickly subsided when the Cards were steered away from desirable Bowling Green and an expected #2 seed.
I had the distinct pleasure of sitting next to Lady Cards color commentator Adrienne Johnson’s mother for the event and she, as well as everyone sitting around me were in shock that Louisville had slipped to a #3 and was going to Baton Rouge.
“I can’t make that one … not with my dialysis schedule” she sadly lamented, “But I know the girls will go down there and take care of business.”
The players showed little emotion as the announcement was made and I heard sophomore center Keisha Hines comment after the show that “It was a bad break for us and the fans…but you have to win them all regardless of where you go…so we’ll just go do what we have to do.” Baylor, who received the #2 seed in the region and won the Big 12 Conference Tournament, wasn’t getting much love from the fans either.
“I hope they (Baylor) last long enough for us to meet them..we’ll whip them good!” emphasized Danny Brock, in attendance with his two daughters.
Maryland received the #1 seed in the region. Jeff Walz was an assistant at Maryland before joining the Cards two years ago.
A tough break for the ladies and their fervent fans with the distance and apparent “home cooking” distributed to LSU, but the Lady Cards have been a good road team this year and should advance to the regional finals in Raleigh to give Walz his chance at the Bears and Maryland…if all goes well.