Overlooked Louisville seeks 1st title, as SC awaits in semis


This is Louisville’s fourth excursion to the countrywide semifinals in 15 seasons under coach Jeff Walz, a feat that has ensured each individual 4-participant in the program underneath his course has had the chance to knowledge the Remaining Four.

Still the Cardinals are the crew in this year’s quartet of powerhouses that has commonly been the most forgotten, a reminder of the oligarchy even now lingering in a sport looking at extra parity each year.

No college mentor, of class, would ever pass up an opening to play the underdog part. Walz recounted hearing on a communicate show this 7 days that the Connecticut-Stanford winner was sure to face South Carolina in the NCAA championship Sunday night time, resulting in him to jokingly question if the host mistakenly figured the semifinals only highlighted three groups.

“We essentially have 4, and we are the fourth,” Walz deadpanned.

Louisville, a single of 3 No. 1 seeds in the 68-group field to make it to Minneapolis, performs No. 1 general seed South Carolina in the to start with video game at Target Heart on Friday night.

“At minimum let us roll the balls out and let’s see what takes place,” Walz claimed. “They may well finish up being true, but I’d give us a preventing shot at it.”

The Cardinals (29-4) will existing a great deal of troubles for the Gamecocks (33-2), setting up with guard Hailey Van Lith, as powerful a participant as there is in this match, and ahead Emily Engstler, a disruptive power on protection who can place the ball in the basket, way too.

“If they want to slumber, allow them snooze. We’ll appear in and do us, and we’re heading to do us to the most effective of our means,” reported Van Lith, who has strike the 20-level mark in all four event online games.

South Carolina has also been to 4 Ultimate Fours in 14 years less than mentor Dawn Staley, but the Gamecocks won the 2017 title. That’s a single purpose for the prominence gap, on the other hand slight, concerning the two programs.

“I hear men and women say, ‘What are you heading to do to get over the hump?’ What hump is there to get about, besides profitable a nationwide championship?” Walz stated Thursday. “I know it would be excellent, but we’re not heading to determine the previous 15 many years on a person video game.”

Walz is a single of 11 coaches all-time to attain four or extra Closing Fours.

“I’m really damn very pleased of what we’ve performed listed here, and we’re going to go on it,” Walz claimed.

Painful memory

South Carolina Women's Basketball

South Carolina players rally at middle court docket for the duration of a exercise session for a university basketball activity in the semifinal spherical of the Women’s Final 4 NCAA event Thursday.

Eric Homosexual | AP

The Gamecocks were the No. 1 staff in the AP Top rated 25 poll from start out to complete, with AP Player of the 12 months Aliyah Boston leading the way, but they are carrying sufficient enthusiasm of their very own after the way they dropped previous yr to eventual winner Stanford in the semifinals.

Trailing by a single position in the waning seconds, Boston turned a midcourt steal into a go to Brea Beal, whose shot bounced off the rim. Boston grabbed the rebound, but her putback at the buzzer was also off the mark.

“Good, negative, or indifferent, it’s a component of who we are, like it was intended to occur,” Staley said. “But we’re not actually determined by that. We’re inspired by what we have been equipped to do this 12 months and the habits that we’ve been able to build and conduct evening in and night time out, and we just hope that our behavior are significantly more powerful than our opponents on any presented working day.”

A great deal like Stanford and UConn, the greatest applications stay that way by emphasizing the excellent of the method relatively than obsessing more than the end result.

“Whoever it is that is standing, the final workforce that’s standing on Sunday night, it’s divine buy. I definitely consider that. So if it’s not us, it is not us. We’ll get another shot at it when it is our turn,” Staley mentioned.

Shipping up to Boston

Boston, the 6-foot-5 forward, poses the very same sort of complicated matchup that Walz and his Cardinals group nine yrs in the past faced in opposition to Baylor and star Brittney Griner in their upset of the prohibitive most loved in the Sweet 16. Louisville was runner-up to UConn in 2013.

“We know we’re going to have to make sure we’re targeted on her and know the place she is at all instances, but she’s also got really excellent teammates she’s enjoying with,” Walz explained. “So we’ll have a plan for tomorrow night, and then if system A does not get the job done, we’ll go to strategy B, and then program C if needed, and there is no program D.”

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