By LARRY VAUGHT
Louisville won the women’s Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament Sunday and after the win over Notre Dame, Louisville coach Jeff Walz was asked if he thought his team’s play had been a “breath of fresh air” for a Louisville fans who have had to suffer through the loss of a NCAA championship and more in the last year.
I thought his answer had some perspective we could all tend to remember more.
“I hope it puts a smile on everybody’s face. I’ve been saying it all year in the midst of what’s been going on and what’s transpired; that you’ve got a special group of young women who are pretty fun to watch. And I’ve been trying to convince everyone, come on out and give them a chance,” the coach said.
“You know, 32-2, 15-1, now you can say 18-1 in the league; it’s been a remarkable run. But we haven’t finished. That’s the one thing, I’ll let the players enjoy this for two days and then we’ve got bigger fish to fry.
“But I’m hoping. I mean, the one thing I will say, I thought the crowd today was great. I’m hoping that we can fill the Yum!, at least our lower bowl, which I think will be about 11,500, 12,000 for our first- and second-round games (in the NCAA).
“Our city needs to come out and support these young women for what has gone on and how they have handled it from their side of it, is pretty remarkable. I tell our fans all the time, you know, nobody comes and screams for me. Now, they will scream at me, when I’ve done something stupid but they don’t scream for me. They are cheering for the players.
“I think sometimes with the midst of what’s going on in our athletic department, people forget that. You know, you’re coming to games to cheer for Lamar Jackson. You’re coming to games to cheer for Asia Durr, Myisha Hines-Allen, you’re not coming to games to cheer for the coach or administrator.
“So I’m hoping that our fans will come out next weekend and just show these kids the love and support that I truly believe they deserve and they have earned. And it won’t surprise me because we have some of the best fans, not just in women’s basketball but in college athletics.”
There’s a good chance Louisville will be playing in Rupp Arena in the regional semifinals/final round March 23 and March 25 if it wins its first two NCAA games.