The last meeting between Louisville and Baylor was labeled as one of the biggest upsets in women’s basketball history. The game ended in shocking fashion as the Cardinals beat defending champion Baylor 82-81 in the 2013 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 matchup in Oklahoma City.
As a result, Baylor’s 32-game winning streak was snapped, their run at a second consecutive national title was cut short, and Brittney Griner - one of the most dominant players in NCAA women’s basketball history - walked off of the court for the final time as a college player.
It was a monumental night for the U of L program. The Cardinals went on to lose to Connecticut in the national title game.
Four years later, the U of L women's team returns to Oklahoma City trying to knock off top-seeded Baylor once again. This time, the same thing is at stake: a spot in the Elite Eight.
While the pairing of teams and the location of the game mirrors the 2013 matchup, the makeup of each team is completely different. Coach Jeff Walz says it will be nice to be back in Oklahoma City, but that doesn’t guarantee a Louisville win.
“Sure, it’s going to be fun for us as a coaching staff, and Cortnee Walton because Cortnee Walton was a part of that team, to walk into that arena,” Walz said. “It will put a smile on your face just going, ‘Boy, we did some pretty special things here four years ago.’ But you really can’t look back at the game and take anything from it. Almost everyone has moved on from their team and from our team.”
Baylor’s redshirt senior Alexis Prince and Louisville’s redshirt senior Cortnee Walton are the only players remaining from the 2013 matchup. Walton says that she is excited to go back to Oklahoma City for another run at a Final Four.
“It will be really exciting because we will be playing Baylor and we played Baylor four years ago in the same place and in the sweet 16, so I’m excited to be going back to that city,” Walton said. “It’s a great city and its going to be a lot of fun. Coach Walz always says whenever you get back to the sweet 16 anything can happen.”
The Louisville women know that they are the heavy underdog, but they are ready to take on the challenge. Redshirt senior Briahanna Jackson says the Cardinals are ready to focus on what they need to do to beat Baylor, adding that the team is aware of Coach Walz’s record against Baylor.
“Coach Walz is 3-0 against Baylor so we trust him,” Jackson said. “We know that he knows what he’s doing so we are going to have blind faith in our coach and we are going to follow his game plan.”
Walz has never lost to Baylor with all three wins coming in the Sweet 16. Walz defeated Baylor as the head coach at Louisville in 2009 and 2013. He also beat Baylor in the Sweet 16 as an assistant coach at Maryland in 2006.