- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Antonita Slaughter didn’t just make history Sunday night, she made six 3-point baskets.
The latter helped Slaughter, the first Shelby County woman to play in an NCAA Final Four, and the University of Louisville earn a spot in the national championship game.
Slaughter scored a game-high 18 points – on the strength of 6-of-10
shooting from 3-point range – as the Cardinals rallied from a
10-point halftime deficit to defeat California, 64-57, Sunday in New Orleans Arena and secure a place in Tuesday night’s national title game against Connecticut.
“My teammates [were] just getting me open shots,” Slaughter, a 6-foot-1 junior
guard, said immediately after the game on ESPN. “They screen for me, they get me open, they know I can shoot, and they have confidence in me.”
They had plenty of reason to. In her first five NCAA Tournament games, heading into Tuesday’s final, Slaughter hit 17 of 38 3-point shots (44.7 percent). She made seven in UofL’s monumental upset of Baylor in the Sweet 16 before hitting half a dozen more in the Cards’ triumph over the Bears. She entered the final just three made 3s shy of tying the all-time tourney record shared by three players (two of whom were from UConn – Maya Moore in 2010 and Diana Taurasi in 2003).
Tuesday was Louisville’s second appearance in the NCAA final in four years as well as a rematch of the 2009 title game, which was won by UConn.
“No one expects us to be here, no one expects us to be in the championship game, [we’re] just coming together as a team and winning as a team,” Slaughter said Sunday.
In addition to trying to win the program’s first national title, Slaughter & Co. also were trying to follow the lead of the UofL men’s team – which beat Michigan, 82-76, Monday night in Atlanta – and in the process become only the second school to claim championships in both men’s and women’s basketball in the same season (UConn did it in 2004).