The University of Louisville women's basketball team played without fear on Sunday night. Shooting three-pointers, playing solid defense, having fun, smiling and laughing on the floor as a heavy underdog against top-ranked Baylor.
The Cardinals turned that combination into one of the most stirring upsets in college basketball history – and arguably the biggest in women's college basketball history – as they downed top-ranked and defending national champion Baylor 82-81 in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 in Oklahoma City.
"It was just a remarkable night by a remarkable group of young women," Walz said. "We put a game plan together as a coaching staff, which we always do every night we go out and play. I've been telling them the entire year, if we can get 40 minutes out of everybody, not playing great, just playing good.
"I told them if we did that we could be special."
The Cardinals (27-8) have been the toast of the women's hoops world since Monique Reid hit the two free throws with 2.6 seconds left for the victory.
Baylor (34-2) had won 32 straight games and 74 of 75 behind Brittney Griner, among the greatest players ever in her sport. But the 6-foot-8 All-American was slowed down by U of L and held to 14 points.
The Cardinals were 24-point underdogs in the game and hit 16 of 25 from three-point range in the shocker.
"Our goal was to score, score and score," Walz said. "I told our kids, if we have to take 40 or 50 threes, then we will."
Walz told Cardinal Authority on Sunday night in a phone interview that his players were "inspired" after watching men's player Kevin Ware break his right leg against Duke late in the first half and then his teammates rally.
The U of L women were watching the game at the time of Ware's injury. Walz had graduate assistant Candyce Bingham keep him updated on the men's game as he was coaching his team to victory.
And he used Ware as an example of why his team needed to have fun on the court.
"Life's too short," Walz said. "I mean, you can go back and just watch our men's game again when Kevin Ware breaks his leg. Why tell the kids not to enjoy the moment? Life is just too short.
"Now, we're going to be focused to play (Tennessee on Tuesday) but, again, we just had the biggest upset in women's college basketball, ever. Now, it's my opinion and I have had a few others that say the same thing, ‘Why wouldn't I want my kids to enjoy that?' Are we going to go on the floor tomorrow night, shake hands and say, ‘We beat Baylor?' No. But we are going to enjoy this."