Louisville women’s basketball is looking to break it’s incredible losing streak to the Connecticut Huskies, and 2019 could finally be the year to do it.
Louisville basketball has been a national powerhouse since Jeff Walz’s arrival on campus. What was one of the most underappreciated teams on campus pre-Walz era has become one of the most recognizable NCAA women’s brands.
From 3 final fours, to two national championship game appearances, multiple All-Americans, conference championships, and much more. The Cards consistently rank top 3 in the nation in attendance, and continue to put outstanding teams on the floor year after year.
Every team has it’s kryptonite though. For Louisville, it has always been the Uconn Huskies. The Cards and Walz have never beaten a Geno Auriemma-coached squad, and Louisville has only defeated the Huskies once- in 1993. Since then the Huskies have reeled off 17 straight wins, most of which have been ugly defeats for the Cards.
Losing to UConn has almost become a fact of life for Louisville. They have conquered every other giant: Tennesse, Baylor (including one of the best squads in NCAA history), Notre Dame, South Carolina, Ohio State, and many other traditional powers have suffered defeats to the Cards in the last few years.
Yet, when the Cards play the Huskies, it is like they are still on a different level.
This is a common theme throughout the NCAA. After all, UConn has been to 11 straight final fours, and won six NCAA tournament titles in the last decade. They won 111 (ONE HUNDRED AND ELEVEN!) games in a row between 2015 and 2017. It’s safe to say that Louisville isn’t the only school having some trouble with the Huskies.
But what if things could be different going forward for the Cards?
Ending the losing streak is a distinct possibility in 2018-19. Louisville will square off against the Huskies on January 31st, 2019 at the KFC Yum! Center. Things look like they are panning out to be different on this go-around.
To start, the Cards return the majority of their core pieces from last year’s team that went to the final four, and only lost three games. Louisville returns All-American Asia Durr, talented sophomore Dana Evans, and spark plug Sam Fuehring, along with plenty of other talented players. Additionally, they will bring in graduate transfer Yacine Diop, who lit up the Cards for a career-high 26 points last season when playing for Pitt.
The Cards are also playing at home, which will be a huge factor. Over the last few seasons, Louisville has really grown the atmosphere in the KFC Yum! Center, consistently packing the lower bowl. The fan base has seen a ton of growth, and consistently rivals the men’s team with one of the best atmospheres in either men’s or women’s basketball. With the Cards projected as a top tier team once again, and UConn circled on the calendar already, the crowd is sure to play a factor when the huskies arrive in The Ville.
Lastly, the Cards are starting to figure the Huskies out. After an extremely shaky start last year in Storrs, Connecticut, Louisville fought back and actually beat UConn quite handily in the second half with excellent hustle, and suffocating defense. Other teams are starting to leave a blue print for success against the Huskies. The last two seasons, UConn has ended it’s season in shocking defeat in the NCAA tournament.
They are still clearly the cream of the crop in women’s college basketball, but they aren’t an unstoppable force. Louisville, with the right mindset and game plan can make Huskies fans sweat when the Cards host them this winter.
It’s still a long way from tip-off of the college basketball season, but Louisville looks primed for yet another great season in the ACC. With UConn circled on the calendar, the Cards may finally find themselves victorious against Connecticut in 2019.