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Louisville coach Jeff Walz says life is too short, tells players to enjoy every minute of win over Baylor

The Cardinals enjoyed reliving the moment through social media and television — but they will be ready for the Tennessee Volunteers on Tuesday night.
by Jenni Carlson Published: April 1, 2013
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photo - Louisville coach Jeff Walz speaks during media day for the NCAA Women's Basketball regional final game at the Chesapeake Arena on Monday, April 1, 2013, in Oklahoma City, Okla.  Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
Louisville coach Jeff Walz speaks during media day for the NCAA Women's Basketball regional final game at the Chesapeake Arena on Monday, April 1, 2013, in Oklahoma City, Okla. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

Sara Hammond went to bed Sunday night thinking about the momentous upset that her team had just scored.

She awoke Monday to the sports world talking about it.

The Louisville forward left on the TV in her Oklahoma City hotel room all night, and when she woke, it was still on ESPN. She and her teammates were on SportsCenter.

“I was kind of reliving it all over again,” she said.

On a day when everyone was buzzing about Louisville’s shocking victory over Baylor, the Cardinals were soaking it all in. The locker room visit from Thunder players. The text messages. The shared jubilation with the Louisville men making the Final Four. The Twitter hubbub.

Yes, Louisville has a game Tuesday night against Tennessee for a trip to the Final Four.

Yet it was oh so refreshing to hear Louisville coach Jeff Walz 's instructions to his team.

“Embrace it,” he said. “It can arguably be called the greatest upset it women’s college basketball.”

No. 16 seed Harvard beating No. 1 seed Stanford in 1998 and an up-and-coming Duke team beating the three-time defending champion Tennessee in 1999 are the only other ones in the discussion. Regardless of where Louisville-Baylor lands in the upset rankings, it created a crazy 24 hours for the Cardinals.

Monique Reid, who hit the game-winning free throws with only seconds left, heard from every member of her family.

Feisty guard Shoni Schimmel received about 60 text messages.

“I don’t have Twitter,” Schimmel said, “and I don’t really have Instagram.”

Twitter was still buzzing about it Monday morning. Proud Baylor alum Robert Griffin III, the Heisman Trophy winner and Washington Redskins quarterback, gave props Sunday night to Louisville’s scorching three-point shooting but took exception to their defense on Baylor superstar Brittney Griner.

“For every 3 they made, they threw 6 elbows, 5 straight lefts, 4 right hooks, 3 roundhouse kicks, 2 jumping knees & 1 superman punch at B. Griner’s abdominals,” he tweeted. “Aiming for her face but couldn’t reach.”

Former Louisville player Angel McCoughtry responded Monday.

“(Basketball) is a physical sport,” she tweeted.

She said players have got to do what they have to do.

Then, RGIII responded that if he and McCoughtry played one-on-one, he'd elbow her, too.

Then, McCoughtry fired back.

“The harder the better,” she tweeted. “Blood sweat and tears.”

Walz thought the entire exchange was great.

“I just want to give Angel McCoughtry a little shoutout,” the coach said. “You’ve got a young lady who is without question the best player that’s ever played for us ... and she’s sitting there standing up for her program.
“That means a lot to me because she still believes in what we’re doing.”

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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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