In Women's Final Four games Sunday in New Orleans, California plays Louisville and Notre Dame faces Connecticut.
NEW ORLEANS — Louisville has relished being the underdog. So much so that coach Jeff Walz doesn’t want to hear about how the Cardinals have a team-of-destiny air about them heading into the Women’s Final Four.
But is there any other way to see Louisville after it derailed defending national champion Baylor and then knocked off traditional power Tennessee?
Surely the Cardinals couldn’t be the underdogs against Final Four newcomer California in Sunday’s national semifinals? Don’t tell that to Walz.
“No one expects us to win now,” Walz said. “I’m sorry, we’re seeded fifth. So my thing is, I know we won two games, but we’re seeded fifth, and if they expected us to win, we’d be seeded second or third.”
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California, Walz noted, “is a team that’s 32-3, that beat Stanford. … They’re a great basketball team, so we’re going to have to figure out a way.”
No team seeded worse than fourth has won a national-semifinal game.
The Golden Bears were the No. 2 seed in the Spokane region and did not have to play their Pac-12 rivals, top-seeded Stanford, in the NCAA tournament. Georgia took care of the Cardinal in the regional semifinal.
“I definitely agree that a lot has to go right in order to get to this point, but I also think there’s a huge impact that our players have in making things go right,” Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said.
“The teams that were in front of us at each stage were really formidable and we had to get the job done.”
NEW ORLEANS — Skylar Diggins has accomplished nearly everything she could have imagined in her career at Notre Dame. The only thing missing is a national championship.
To get another chance at that elusive title, Diggins will have to help the Fighting Irish women beat Big East rival Connecticut for an unprecedented fourth straight time this season.
Notre Dame won by margins of one point, two points and in triple overtime.
“I don’t think the past three games matter,” guard Diggins said. “They are a team that when you play against them, they can get in your head. When you think of UConn basketball, you think of all the championships.”
UConn has lost 11 games since starting its record 90-game winning streak in 2008-09 — but seven came against Notre Dame.
• Brittney Griner of Baylor was voted player of the year by The Associated Press for the second consecutive year and the AP media panel selected Notre Dame’s Muffet McGraw coach of the year.
The only other players to earn the AP award in consecutive years are Seimone Augustus of Louisiana State (2005-06) and Chamique Holdsclaw of Tennessee (1998-99).
• Quarterback Peyton Manning of the NFL Denver Broncos and his wife, Ashley, plan to donate $500,000 to the Pat Summitt Foundation, which was founded in 2011 to help fight Alzheimer’s disease. Peyton Manning was a football standout at Tennessee.
• Drexel beat Utah 46-43 in the WNIT championship game in Philadelphia.
Hollie Mershon scored the go-ahead layup for Drexel with 20.6 seconds remaining and was selected the tournament’s most valuable player. It was the first postseason championship for the Drexel program.