Advancing By A Foot

By Jeff Lippman - March 29, 2008

Told you Angel McCoughtry was going to need to score 40 points for Louisville to beat top-seeded North Carolina in Saturday afternoon's regional semifinal game from New Orleans.

McCoughtry, though, didn't heed my advice. She only managed to score 35. And guess what? The Cardinals lost by just four points. Had McCoughtry's total been 40, Louisville would still be dancing.

The Cardinals star was on fire in the first half and Louisville, who's men's team is also playing North Carolina in the Elite Eight later tonight, rushed out to an early 18-point lead over the Tar Heels.

But it wasn't to last.

North Carolina's toughness took over in the second half as the Tar Heels turned a 46-37 halftime deficit into a 78-74 victory.

Oh, and something else took over for North Carolina in the second half. LaToya Pringle.

The senior center scored 27 points and grabbed 11 boards and, more importantly, went to the free throw line 19 times as the Tar Heels out-muscled their opponents to reach their fourth consecutive Elite Eight where they will face the winner of Oklahoma State vs. LSU.

This game could easily have been won by the Cardinals, who refused to give up even after UNC made their run to take the lead. After being up big early, it would have been easy for Jeff Walz' team to yield to the more athletic and bigger Tar Heels.

Candyce Bingham was huge once again for Walz scoring 17 points and grabbing 20 rebounds. Louisville, who actually managed to win the rebounding battle with UNC, needed every one of those big boards from Bingham.

Louisville came very close to playing the game I said they'd need to play in order to upset North Carolina. But, at the end of the day, the fact remains that UNC is the top seed for a reason. With Pringle's emergence as a bonafide star, coach Sylvia Hatchell is well on her way to that third consecutive Final Four appearance.

Posted by Jeff Lippman at 02:25 PM on March 29, 2008

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