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On April 5, the University of Louisville Lady Cardinals basketball team made history by erasing a 14-point first-half deficit to beat Oklahoma in the NCAA Women's Final Four semifinal game.
St. Catharine College Women's Basketball Head Coach Lena Bramblett was there to witness it.
Bramblett and her head assistant coach Terreka Walker made the trek to St. Louis to watch the University of Louisville compete in their first Final Four appearance. They ended up witnessing a spectacular comeback that put the Lady Cards in their first ever national championship game appearance.
The coaches were treated to excellent seats that were about 10 rows behind the U of L bench. They were also treated to an excellent game.
U of L trailed 16-2 after the first seven and a half minutes. They finished the half down by 12 and shooting a season low of 22 percent. Their leading scorer, Angel McCoughtry, went without a point for more than 16 minutes.
The second half, however, belonged to the Lady Cards.
Louisville opened the second half with a 20-4 run, led by McCoughtry, which would put them in the game. McCoughtry finished the game with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
The Lady Cards withstood a last second three pointer to hold on to a 61-59 win.
"They played so bad in the first half and dominated in the second half," Bramblett said. "They just play with so much heart. I'm a UK fan and I hate to say that. They were definitely under talented but they didn't give up fighting."
Bramblett was very impressed with Jeff Walz, the Lady Cards head coach who is taking the program to new heights.
"Jeff does such a good job with those kids," she said. "He gets them to believe what he wants. His game plan throughout the tournament was phenomenal," she said.
Getting the Lady Cards was a huge factor in their success as they were definitely set up with less talent than Oklahoma. The Sooners had five players on the team that have fathers or family members that have played pro sports.
Courtney and Ashley Paris' father is former NFL offensive lineman Bubba Paris. Former NBA star Hakeem Olajuwon's daughter, Abi, is also on the roster. Carlee Roethlisberger is the younger sister of NFL quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Whitney Hand is the daughter of former major league pitcher Rich Hand.
"They were all their supporting them," Bramblett said of the all-star audience.
Louisville had talent of their own, however. Bramblett witnessed the WNBA's number one draft pick this year, McCoughtry.
"It was neat to see her, she's just good," Bramblett said.
After the huge win, Bramblett stuck around to see the following game between Connecticut and Stanford.
"Connecticut is unbelievable. You have to see them in person to appreciate their athleticism and size," she said. "They were huge. All four teams were. UConn was just the total package."
Connecticut would prove to be the total package, winning and setting up a third meeting with Louisville for the season. Connecticut entered the game as a heavy favorite.
While Bramblett could have landed tickets to the game, she opted not to make the trip so she could go home and be with her son, Sy, while her husband hit the road to coach baseball.
"I hate to say it, but we kind of knew what the outcome would be," Bramblett said.
Bramblett's feeling was correct. The Lady Cards fell to Connecticut 76-54. Connecticut finished the season a perfect 39-0.
While the coach missed the final game, she witnessed one of the best games of the season for the Lady Cards. Did it effect her coaching aspirations?
"I could never coach at that level because of the time, of how much time it consumes of their life," she said. "I don't want to sound like it's not family oriented. I just don't want it to consume me to that extent. But, I like the way Coach Walz continued to stick to his game plan. That would be something I would take back."