Louisville continues improbable run
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP)
Sponging up tales of Jim Valvano and Muhammad Ali, the
Two of women's basketballs biggest powers didn't faze them. Why should the Final Four?
Shoni Schimmel scored 24 points and plucky
Two nights after taking down Brittney Griner and defending national champion
''It's a remarkable group. It's an unbelievable story. That's really what it is,'' coach Jeff Walz said. ''And we aren't planning on it to end right now.''
When it was over, the Cardinals huddled at center court and celebrated.
''We ruined the entire party,'' Walz said. ''We're the ugly ducklings that ruined the party. No one gave us a chance and we shocked everybody. It's a journey and we're going to continue.''
Taber Spani led the Lady Vols with 20 points, and Meighan Simmons and Kamiko Williams chipped in 12 apiece.
The Cardinals became only the second No. 5 seed to reach the national semifinals, joining Southwest Missouri State's 2001 team that featured guard Jackie Stiles, the all-time leading scorer in NCAA history. Only seven teams outside of the top four seeds have ever made it to the Final Four since the NCAA tournament started in 1982.
No team seeded higher than fourth has ever won a game at the Final Four.
But the seemingly impossible hasn't stopped this group of Cardinals yet.
First, they took down Griner and her
Next up is a Sunday showdown in New Orleans against California, the Spokane regional champion.
''No one wanted to see us beat
The Cardinals' only other Final Four trip was in 2009, ending in a loss to Big East rival Connecticut in the championship game.
Walz showed the team the documentary on Valvano's North Carolina State 1974 team that made perhaps the most notable Cinderella run to the men's championship. He also showed them footage of Ali and took them to Ali's center in
''Seeing a lot of the underdog things like that, it just motivated us even more to believe in each other and believe in ourselves,'' said Schimmel's younger sister, Jude, who scored 15 points.
Spani finally broke
Spani missed a 3-pointer from the right wing that would have tied it on the next possession, and
''We just needed to make that 3 to get the momentum, and it just didn't go down,'' said coach Holly Warlick, the longtime assistant in her first year replacing Pat Summitt.
Shoni Schimmel had a pair of driving layups and Jude Schimmel hit a 3-pointer and set up Slaughter for a reverse layup in a 9-3 burst for
The Cardinals shouted ''
''To come short of that is disappointing.''
Just like in the previous round, when a 19-point lead disappeared before Monique Reid's winning free throws in the final seconds, the Cardinals had to hang on for dear life at the end.
''With both games this week, nobody thought we could win. There's not anybody in here that still actually believes that we beat