CRAWFORD | Shorthanded U of L women take shot at No. 1 UConn - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Shorthanded U of L women take shot at No. 1 UConn

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Coming off the program's second trip to the NCAA championship game, the University of Louisville women's basketball team chose the slogan, "Unfinished Business" for this season.


It could refer to winning the title game. It could just as easily refer to beating Connecticut. To do the latter is to be able to do the former.

U of L will face the No. 1-ranked Huskies in Storrs, Conn., Sunday at 1 p.m. U of L is 23-1, 11-0 in the American Athletic Conference. UConn is 24-0, 11-0 in the league.

Same old story. UConn is really good. The Huskies aren't as deep as in previous years, and could be without starter Brianna Banks, who has struggled with an ankle injury, is questionable. But U of L definitely will be without starter Bria Smith, making the task that much more difficult. Bria is one of the Cards' best defenders and one of the best on the team at penetrating the defense on the dribble. Walz expects to start Tia Gibbs in her place.

UConn leads the series 13-1, and has won 13 straight. Included in those are both of U of L's losses in the NCAA championship game. There are also some lopsided losses in Storrs.

"It's going to be great test for us because we're going to have to play for 40 minutes," U of L coach Jeff Walz said. "If you have a breakdown, they're going to exploit it."

U of L senior Asia Taylor says she's hoping this is the year U of L can score an upset.

"I've been here five years and we haven't beaten them yet," she said. "We play them every year, get our shot every year, but I think this is our best opportunity."

U of L is ranked No. 4 nationally, but hasn't had many showcase opportunities. It has wins over ranked opponents in LSU, Oklahoma and Colorado, and suffered its only loss of the season at Kentucky.

The Cards' 16-game winning streak is a school record, but all season, Walz has been holding UConn up as an example. 

Even when they've blown out lesser opponents, he has asked his players, "Did you play well enough to beat UConn?"

Today, they find out.

"It's going to be a good gauge of where we are, where they are," Walz said. "You can watch teams on film all you want, but until you see them in person, you can find out, ‘Okay, what do we have to do.' . . .  It's more of a gauge right now, but our kids are excited to play. We're going up there to win. . . . We're going to try to attack them, but they're just not a team you really want to drive into the paint a lot with because they block so many shots. So we'll have to hit a lot of midrange shots."

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