ST. LOUIS — The Louisville women’s basketball team had a chip on its shoulder well before tipping off Sunday night against Oklahoma.
The third-seeded Cardinals had said Saturday that they sensed a lack of respect everywhere, and they seemed to revel in it.
"It’s OK,” Louisville’s Candyce Bingham said Saturday. "They can keep doubting us. We love it.”
In the first half of Sunday’s Final Four game, top-seeded Oklahoma came out and made the Cardinals look like that doubt was reasonable, that Louisville wouldn’t be much of a roadblock on the Sooners’ way to the championship game vs. Connecticut. But in the second half, Louisville came out swinging — and the underdog pulled off the upset, beating OU 61-59 to advance to Tuesday’s national championship game.
"They took control of the game in the first five minutes of the second half,” OU coach Sherri Coale said. "We were very flat. They came out swinging … I really felt like they were tougher the entire second half.”
It was the polar opposite of the first 20 minutes, when OU did everything right from the opening tip. The Sooners jumped to an 11-0 lead, then a 16-2 advantage. Freshman Whitney Hand dominated Louisville’s Player of the Year candidate, Angel McCoughtry, holding the senior to 0-for-7 from the field, and Hand knocked down three 3-pointers. Point guard Danielle Robinson had eight assists and zero turnovers. Courtney Paris had 11 rebounds, and Ashley Paris had 10 points.