The Louisville women were already the first 5-seed to make the Final Four and had pulled the biggest upset in tournament history, and Louisville was already only the fifth school to put a men’s and women’s team in the final game within five years (see table below). Antonita Slaughter was not satisfied, hitting six 3-pointers to rally Louisville back from 10 down to pull another upset, 64-57 over Cal and make Louisville the third school ever to put the men and women in the title game in the same year (Duke 1999 with both runners-up, UConn 2004 with both titles).
Bria Smith added 17 points while only missing one shot.
For the full AP account of the game, click here.
While no one was shocked to see the Louisville men make the title game, the Louisville women making the title game is the biggest surprise in the history of the women’s tournament. While the win over Cal was an upset, the bigger reason for the surprise was their upset of Baylor in the Sweet 16. Few thought the smaller Cardinals team could match Baylor’s 6-foot-8 Brittney Griner, who Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has suggested might be drafted by the NBA.
The UNC women won the title in 1994, the year after the men, and the 1999 Duke teams both made it though both lost in the title game. Louisville hopes to match UConn, which was the only team to win both titles in the same year, in 2004.
The win also guarantees the Big East will be the second conference in history to have three of the four teams in the two title games. The SEC did it when Tennessee won the women’s title over Georgia and Kentucky won the men’s title over the only non-SEC team, Syracuse. Ironically, the Orangemen were a part of the equation this year, as they could have made the Big East the first conference to have all four spots if they had defeated this year’s only non-Big East participant, the Michigan men. While Michigan will play Louisville for the men’s title Monday, the Louisville women are guaranteed a Big East opponent, as the UConn and Notre Dame women play the late semifinal Sunday.
Here are all the schools that have put both their men’s and women’s teams in the NCAA title game within five years of each other.
|2005||Michigan State||Women||Runner up|
|2009||Michigan State||Men||Runner up|