Women’s Final Four: Play resumes tonight
ST. LOUIS ó Louisville versus Oklahoma feels like the consolation game of the Women’s Final Four.
Good reason. Both semifinalists have been drubbed by top-ranked Connecticut. Twice in the Cardinals’ case.
Louisville coach Jeff Walz, whose team lost by 28 and 39 points, joked that it was all part of the plan to lull the unbeaten Huskies into a false sense of security. Of course, the Cardinals first have to win the opener tonight and then Connecticut (37-0) would have to get past Stanford (33-4) in the second semifinal.
“I think we did a great job,” Walz said. “Obviously, if we play them they’re way overconfident.”
Oklahoma’s Sherri Coale, on the wrong end of a 28-point blowout at Storrs, Conn., in late November, bristled a bit at the notion that it’s the Huskies’ tournament to lose.
“I think it’s a great Final Four,” Coale said. “I think it’s a fans’ paradise, and I think there will be two really good games (tonight), and another really good one on Tuesday.”
Led by double-double machine Courtney Paris, Oklahoma (32-4) is a legitimate title contender heading into its first-ever meeting against Louisville.
In a season in which the Connecticut women’s basketball team has run through its opponents, it’s no surprise the Huskies won both major individual awards.
Maya Moore became the second sophomore ever to win The Associated Press’ player of the year Saturday. She averaged 19.2 points and 8.9 rebounds to help UConn within two victories of the third undefeated season in school history.
Huskies coach Geno Auriemma, who has guided the team to five national championships, picked up his sixth coach of the year award.
“It never gets old,” Auriemma said. “It’s really a credit to the coaches and players that I work with. Having really good players makes me look good.”
Auriemma has the best player in the country with Moore, who joined Courtney Paris as the only sophomores to win the award.