Louisville Going To The Final Four

Lady Cards Hand Beating To Huge Favorite

By Sonja Sykes

Maryland was considered an overwhelming favorite over Louisville in the Elite Eight matchup, the only variable for the analysts being the final margin of victory. They would waltz to the Final Four and on to the championship game with UConn, or so the script went.

The U of L women’s basketball team had other ideas, and would send the overwhelming favorites to the sidelines, their star players in tears having been denied a sure thing. Final score: Louisville 77, Maryland 60.

Louisville Coach Jeff Walz had two game plans, one he knew Maryland Coach Brenda Frese would employ, and the one for the Lady Cards which they had to execute perfectly to reach the school’s first Final Four.

To the ESPN analysts:  Hang up the phone, shut down the microphones and realize that respect is something that is earned and not assigned or predicted.

  • Dez Byrd. The ultimate warrior. Banged up knee, not a true point guard, too short and so unathletic. Not worthy of the 17 points, incredible assists and cool, clutch free throws she sank late….right? Hogwash.  Give me that kind of warrior any time. Heart, guts and drive…Determined Dez did it. Six points in the first four minutes of the second half to take the Cards out to an uncatchable ten point lead.
  • Angel McCoughtry.  Wearing her heart and emotions out on those strong arms for the world to see. If she steps in three  feet she ends with 30, probably…but time and time again, Angel with the rebound, Angel on the deflection and steal. Canning the midrange jumper. 21 beautiful points and a long awaited three with 3:27 to go to make it 65-52 and put it out of reach.
  • Candyce Bingham, hampered with fouls but still with nine first half points and 13 for the game. You don’t realize how she does it, you marvel at her numbers after the game and all she does is just beat you with her silent assassin style and accuracy.
  • Becky Burke with the big threes and some clutch free throw shooting down the stretch. Her defensive job on Marissa Coleman huge…freshman containing senior All-American. A bright spot in the Cardinal future for the mad bomber. Credit fellow freshman Monique Reid with six points and some key blocks and steals also.
  • Everyone wanted the Maryland vs. UConn matchup. Sorry, check back this time next year. The Cards are marching to the arch after securing the biggest win in Lady Cards history and it wouldn’t surprise me if Angel flew there and Dez dribbled breakneck down I-64 to get there.

Get it yet, ESPN?

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Charlie Springer

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

7 thoughts on “Louisville Going To The Final Four

  • March 30, 2009 at 10:18 pm
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    A masterful performance by the Lady Cards executing Jeff Walz’ game plan down to the final whistle. Refusing to take no for answer, refusing to get rattled, seizing the opportunity to make some incredible history for the University of Louisville. Tremendously proud of this team.

  • March 30, 2009 at 10:29 pm
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    Lady Cards, just keep moving on. You make us so proud.

  • March 30, 2009 at 10:29 pm
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    Couldn’t happen to a better group of players and a super coach. Go Cards!

  • March 30, 2009 at 11:37 pm
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    What a great way to show the doubters that you should have gotten that #1 seed but no matter because you dominated the #1 seed, Maryland, tonight. Congratulations Lady Cardinals. What a great game and man was it wonderful watching you all make history with this win. go CARDS

  • March 31, 2009 at 8:12 am
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    Just a sidebar to Sonja’s report…we are out of town this week again and getting a house ready for sale or rent. Watching the game basically on a wooden floor and a way too small TV, we were still as rowdy as if we were in the RBC Center in Raleigh.

    At halftime, getting the phone calls and text messages I’m standing outside when the next door neighbor walks over and comments on the noise coming out of the house. A quick explanation, and then the shocker. Neighbor’s son was a ball boy in Freedom Hall as a child and now attends UofL. He invites over to watch the second half with us,but we explain the “don’t change venues during the game” philosophy we go by. He then offers four chairs and a “sip or two” of some very nice Woodford Reserve and brings his grandmother over to watch with us.

    Cardinal Nation everywhere and proud. I think Don and Doris weere louder than we were in the second half and he also offered the use of his massive workshop and tools for any thing we need. Gotta love that Cardinal spirit!

  • March 31, 2009 at 8:15 am
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    I agree on not changing venues. Strictly verboten! 🙂

  • March 31, 2009 at 9:43 am
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    What a great game! You guys didn’t get respect from espn but maybe that fired the team up to go out and basically crush Maryland. You’ll get the respect now…you earned it. Congratulations to Louisville on making the final four and making history!

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