Louisville holds off Michigan in Wichita, moves on to Final Four
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Update: No. 1 seed Louisville has emerged as the champion of the Wichita Regional, cutting down nets inside INTRUST Bank Arena as they look ahead to NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament Final Four set for April 1 and 3 in Minneapolis.
Hailey Van Lith scored 22 points, Olivia Cochran made a series of crucial baskets in the final minutes, and Louisville held off Michigan 62-50 to return to the Final Four for the fourth time in program history. Chelsie Hall added 15 points and Emily Engstler balanced out a poor shooting night with 16 rebounds and some big plays on defense, helping the top-seeded Cardinals advance to face South Carolina next weekend in Minneapolis. Naz Hillmon finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Wolverines, who couldn’t overcome 22 turnovers despite a huge disparity at the foul line in their first regional final.
If Louisville beats South Carolina Friday, the Cardinals will take on the winner of Connecticut and Stanford in the national championship game Sunday, April 3. Louisville’s celebration in Wichita capped a successful weekend that saw Wichita’s INTRUST Bank Arena host NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 games and an Elite Eight for the first time in its history. Through Saturday, Wichita boasted the second best attendance among the four NCAA Tournament regional sites.
Two teams have already punched their tickets to advance in the NCAA Women’s Basketball tournament in Minnesota. South Carolina and Stanford are both number one seeds. Who they will play in the Final Four will be determined Tuesday night.
Back in the summer of 2018 is when the NCAA announced Wichita would be a region host for the 2022 women’s Sweet 16 games. It was a long time coming, but Friday’s action saw Louisville handling the Tennesse Lady Volunteers in the early game, then Michigan beat the South Dakota Coyotes.
Now, the No. 3 Michigan Wolverines will take on the No. 1 Louisville Cardinals at Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita. The tip-off is at 8 p.m.
Wichita has a couple of ties to Louisville. Heights senior Zyanna Walker will be playing for the Cardinals next year. The team’s videographer, LaMont Russell, is also from Wichita. He said is excited to see his team play in his home city.
“It’s an amazing journey, definitely blessed. I was the Graduate Assistant with Wichita State women’s basketball team under Jodi Adams and just having that opportunity kind of propelled me to where I am now,” said Russell.
The No. 2 UConn Huskies will tip-off against the No. 1 North Carolina State wolfpack in Bridgeport, Connecticut. That game starts at 6 p.m. Then at 8 p.m., No. 3 Michigan will tip off against No. 1 Louisville at Intrust Bank Arena. Tickets to the game are still available. You can purchase them at the gate for $25.
The Women’s Final Four will be Friday, April 1 with the championship Sunday, April 3.
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