Women's NCAA Tournament: Louisville upsets Tennessee to earn Final Four berth
Oklahoma City • One mammoth upset wasn't enough for Shoni Schimmel and plucky Louisville. Going through two of the sport's powers, the Cardinals are Final Four-bound.
Schimmel scored 24 points and Louisville beat second-seeded Tennessee 86-78 Tuesday night to earn the school's second trip to the Final Four.
Two nights after taking down Brittney Griner and defending national champion Baylor, the fifth-seeded Cardinals (28-8) built a 20-point lead and then withstood a second-half comeback by the powerhouse Lady Vols (27-8) before celebrating another big victory.
When it was over, the Cardinals huddled at center court and celebrated. Tennessee headed home with a third straight loss in the regional finals, failing to make the Final Four for a fifth straight year.
"We ruined the entire party," Louisville coach Jeff Walz said. "We're the ugly ducklings that ruined the party. No one gave us a chance and we shocked everybody. It's a journey and we're going to continue."
Taber Spani led the Lady Vols with 20 points, and Meighan Simmons and Kamiko Williams chipped in 12 apiece.
Louisville joined the school's men's team in the Final Four, marking the 10th time that a program had both teams make it that far. Only Connecticut has won both titles in the same season, in 2004 the last time the women's champion was crowned in New Orleans.
Notre Dame 87, Duke 76 • Skylar Diggins and Notre Dame are headed back to the Final Four for another rematch with Connecticut.
Before looking ahead, though, they wanted to soak in their third consecutive trip to the national semifinals.
"We're enjoying the moment right now," Diggins said when asked about UConn. "We'll talk about that later."
The flashy left-hander shook off early foul trouble to score 24 points and the Fighting Irish rallied to beat Duke to earn their third straight trip to the Final Four. The Irish have lost in the past two national championship games.
Oklahoma City Regional
• Louisville 86, Tennessee 78
• Notre Dame 87, Duke 76
At New Orleans
• Louisville (28-8) vs. California (32-3), 3:30 or 6 p.m.
• Notre Dame (35-1) vs. Connecticut (33-4), 3:30 or 6 p.m.
• Semifinal winners, 7:30 p.m.