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U of L women’s basketball team falls in NCAA Final Four

The Cardinal Bird mascot logo on the UofL campus.
More than 1,700 people have signed a petition asking for better COVID-19 safety at the University of Louisville.

The University of Louisville women’s basketball team lost to the University of South Carolina, 72-59, Friday night in the NCAA Final Four. 

The two No. 1 seeds, with the Gamecocks being the top-ranked overall, faced off at the Target Center in Minneapolis. Cards head coach Jeff Walz attributed the loss to too many missed shots, despite his team making some great plays throughout the night.

“I really thought we had some great looks and some that just went in and out for us,” Walz said.

Walz said it doesn’t just take good coaching and players to win a NCAA championship — it also takes a little bit of luck. 

Even with the loss, Walz said he’s happy with this season.

“I’ve never been more proud of a group,” Walz said. “They’ve been a joy to coach.”

Much like Walz, U of L fans watching the game at the Granville Pub, a bar near the school’s campus, were proud to see just how far their team made it. 

“I feel like this is definitely a special moment, just for Louisville,” said U of L senior Kevin Sullivan.

The U of L women’s team didn’t just have an impressive run this year, which ended with a 29-5 record. They’ve been a top team since Walz took over in 2007.

Under Walz, the team has had 13 NCAA appearances, which include several appearances in the Sweet 16, Elite Eight, Final Four and championship game. According to U of L’s athletic website, Walz is the winningest coach in program history

“I saw something the other day that said every four-year player in the Jeff Walz era has made it to a Final Four, so it’s definitely become a historic program at this point,” Sullivan said.

Chris Kemper, another U of L student who was watching the game at the Granville, said Walz is bringing back an era of Louisville basketball dominance.

Kemper said growing up, he used to look up to U of L men’s players.

“I’d like to think that this team is equally inspiring for a bunch of Louisville fans that are girls, also guys,” Kemper said. “I know when I play basketball, I try to use moves that Hailey Van Lith uses.” 

The women’s team’s success has brought the campus together, U of L student Virginia Cunningham said, which has caused a shift in how people view women’s sports.

“I’ve been seeing more guys talk about it and I know a lot of guys are coming out to watch the game, and usually that never happens,” Cunningham said. “But it’s kinda cool to see a women’s team succeed this much.”

Looking to the future, Walz plans to stay the course the team has been on since he took over.

“We aren’t gonna change anything, I don’t think there’s a reason to change anything,” Walz said. “We’ve been to four Final Fours in 15 years. I don’t think that’s too shabby.”

Breya Jones is the Arts & Culture Reporter for LPM. Email Breya at bjones@lpm.org.

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