With their eighth national title — tying Tennessee for most all time — the Huskies and coach Geno Auriemma prevented Louisville from joining UConn (2004) as the only school to win national titles in both men's and women's basketball in the same season.
Louisville men's coach Rick Pitino made the trip to watch the game, one day after his team won the NCAA championship against Michigan, and gave the women's team a pre-game pep talk before sitting a few rows behind them. There was a buzz back home in the Bluegrass State as fans wondered if there would be two titles to celebrate instead of just one.
After all, the women had knocked off Baylor in the biggest upset in tournament history, then added Tennessee to their list of victims before becoming the first No. 5 seed to reach the title game by beating Cal.
"I don't think anybody can argue that unfortunately we just came up one game short," Walz said. "But I'm proud of my players."
Even Auriemma had said he wondered going into the game if UConn was playing not just against Louisville, but some sort of karma.
"The only team that was better than us the last month was the University of Louisville," Auriemma said. "They did something I haven't seen done in the NCAA tournament."
Louisville looked ready to give UConn a tough game during the opening eight minutes, but the Huskies took control with a 19-0 first-half run and never looked back, stifling the Cardinals at every turn. Sara Hammond was the only Louisville player to reach double figures with 15 points. Shoni Schimmel finished with nine.
Antonita Slaughter struggled to hit 3-pointers, hitting only one after making six in the NCAA semifinal against California. Bria Smith's dribble drives were met with a stout wall of defenders. She hit the floor hard several times, and wound up with seven points, one game after scoring 17.