COLUMBUS, Ohio – All she did, said Sam Fuehring, hit the floor with both hands. Did not scold. Did not name the officials.
Two minutes, 42 seconds remained in the regulation Friday night, in a women's semifinal Four, which went to the last possession. Fuehring, Louisville's 6-foot-2-junior striker, spent most of Friday night curbing Mississippi State's 6-foot-7 junior center, Missia McCowan, and Fuehring was not happy about it. McCowan finished with 25 rebounds, 13 on the offensive glass, plus 21 points, the Bulldogs to a 73-63 overtime win, while playing the full 45 minutes.
"I tried my best to keep them off the boards," Fuehring said. "The refs did not say anything in my favor, so it did not help."
McCowan presumably had a productive career in the WNBA, and nothing Fuehring tried worked. With Louisville down 54-53 and less than three minutes to play in regulation, Cardinal coach Jeff Walz Fuehring told Front McCowan. Mississippi State's Victoria Vivians missed a jumper, and as Fuehring and McCowan tangled up for the rebounding position, Fuehring said McCowan slipped a forearm into her neck, flicked her head back, and propelled her to the ground. Pipes. Foul on Fuehring, her fourth.
"When I heard this call, I was confused," said Fuehring. "I was frustrated, so I hit the ground."
The technical foul call caused Walz to run down the sideline from the bench and yell the officials. Morgan William, the best foul shooter in the Southeastern Conference, both met for a 56-53 Bulldogs lead. Louisville, however, responded with the next six points before Roshunda Johnson of Mississippi State pitched, as the Cardinals fouled slowly. He hit a 3-pointer with seven seconds to play.
The technical angry Walz almost everything, on a mad night in which the Cardinals missed potential victories twice at the end of the regulation and then shot off the field in overtime 1:10
"I have with this reputation right here and fought there, "Walz said the hallway in front of the Louisville locker room in the Nationwide Arena. "If she said something derogatory to the officer, alright, but hit the ground, how many technical fouls would the Duke men's basketball team have got back about fifteen years ago when they defended the ground in defense? God forbid." So I fought. " with the one. "
Walz said he never received a statement from the officials. "Bob Huggins (the coach of West Virginia men) said: "I would love that the officials go there and answer questions because I would like to know what that answer would be. "It's disappointing, you play in the Final Four. Warn the child."
Fuehring, sunk in her locker after the game, still could not believe it.
"Honestly, if it was a male game and they did, they probably would not even hug him," she said. "But girl … I got emotional and I hit the ground – I did not agree with the [foul] call – I thought it was a bad name, to be honest."
That did not cost Louisville the game. A jumper from Myisha Hines-Allen, then layups from Arica Carter and Hines-Allen make it 59-56 Louisville with 11 seconds left. Mississippi State had the ball, and the Cardinals had a foul to give. But instead of quickly embarrassing, Walz told his players that they should put Mississippi State on the offensive before they could put themselves in danger of taking precious seconds on the clock. In the worst case, give up a layup, but not a 3-pointer.
"As soon as they got it in and started putting their action, we wanted to go upstairs," Walz said. "If the ball is thrown into pounds, and you lazy and take a second off the clock, who cares, so we tried to get it into something, one time they try to run something, then lazy, but they did a quick one Pass, and we had a bit of misunderstanding. "
Two players followed Blair Schaefer with 3 points. McCowan jumped out to set a screen, William passed Johnson and the left-hander Johnson sank the 3-pointer from the left wing.
That left enough time for Louisville to run down and tie up. But Hines-Allen missed a runner out of balance and a backlash from late-arrival Jazmine Jones rolled off the edge.
Leading scorer Asia Durr fought against the physical defense of Mississippi State and finished with 18 points at 6 for 17 and also the entire 45 minutes go to meet McCowan.
"I was guarded throughout the year," Durr said. The Refs really change, as they call it. It's not always the same.
Walz spent a few minutes in his post-game press conference, praising Hines-Allen (11 points and four steals), the team's only senior She finished her career as third on Louisville's career-scoring list with 2,028 points. The Cardinals made it to their third Final Four in eleven years, and their returning depth makes them a danger to return next year.
But no one on the Louisville side thought much about this Friday. They also did not know that three hours later Notre Dame – a squad that the Cardinals defeated twice in the regular season, for the first time by 33 points – would play in the second semifinal against UConn. A chance lost in more ways than one.
"Athletics is a wonderful thing," Walz said. "It's a great thing, boy, but there are a few ups and downs that just kick your ass in. Right now, that's one of them."