Louisville’s victory over top-seeded Baylor is being deemed as one of the greatest upsets in women’s basketball history. The Cardinals’ 82-81 win was a stunner for most outside of northern Kentucky.
However, for a Purdue team watching from home, just days after Louisville eliminated it from the NCAA Tournament, the Cardinals’ victory wasn’t a surprise.
“I had a feeling that Baylor game—everybody was saying it would be a blowout,” said Purdue forward Taylor Manuel. “Once you get that confidence and the swagger, it’s kind of hard to stop it.”
Fourth-seeded Purdue fell to the Cardinals in front of the Louisville crowd. Everything went right for the local favorites, playing in front of more than 9,000 at the KFC Yum! Center. They held off every Boilermaker run while forcing many mistakes en route to a 76-63 second-round victory.
The Boilermakers gained great respect for the game plan Louisville head coach Jeff Walz put together. With the benefit of time to prepare, Walz did it again on Sunday, and his team responded to a great challenge.
Louisville’s coach is amazing,” Manuel said. “He had an amazing game plan, Baylor didn’t see it coming, they didn’t know how to work around it. But I think that their confidence is what got them really going.”
But it wasn’t easy for the Boilermakers to be watching from home. After winning their second consecutive Big Ten title, they were handed another second-round exit from the NCAA Tournament.
“It was kind of a bittersweet feeling,” said Drey Mingo, whose collegiate career came to an end with the loss.
Added Manuel: “It was very hard watching that game just knowing that it could’ve been us. But they gave us a good battle and I thought it was a great upset.”
Purdue point guard KK Houser wasn’t pulling for the underdog Cardinals. Instead, she was rooting for Baylor to continue its run to the championship.
“I’m for Baylor, 100 percent of the way,” Houser said. “It’s sad that they got knocked out.”
The fifth-seeded Cardinals now meet with Tennessee with a trip to the Final Four on the line. Purdue will be watching closely.
“I can’t wait to see them play Tennessee tonight, because I think that confidence is going to carry over,” Manuel said. “I know it’s going to be a really good game tonight.”