March 30, 2009

Buy Game Photos! | Louisville-Maryland Highlights | Raleigh All-Regional Team

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -It took an Angel to carry Louisville to the program's first Final Four.

Angel McCoughtry had 21 points and 13 rebounds and Louisville claimed its first Final Four berth by upsetting top-seeded Maryland 77-60 on Monday night in the Raleigh Regional final.

Deseree Byrd added 17 points and Candyce Bingham had 15 for the third-seeded Cardinals (33-4). They never trailed and led by double figures for virtually the entire second half in continuing the most successful tournament run in school history.

They'll face the winner of the Oklahoma City regional, either Oklahoma or Purdue, Sunday night in St. Louis.

Marissa Coleman finished with 18 points two nights after scoring a career-high 42 against Vanderbilt and Marah Strickland added 15 the top-seeded Terrapins (31-5), who finally ran out of comebacks.

Two nights after rallying from 18 down to beat the Commodores, the Terps turned it over 21 times - a major reason why they were denied their fourth trip to the national semifinals.

Headed there instead is a Cardinals team led by a Baltimore native, McCoughtry, and coached by a former Maryland assistant, Jeff Walz.

Just when the Terps thought they had clawed back into the game late, the Cardinals' seniors put it away.

Coleman hit a 3-pointer to pull Maryland within eight at the five-minute mark. But Bingham responded seconds later with a layup over Demauria Liles to start the 13-2 run that pushed it into double figures to stay. McCoughtry added hit a 3-pointer over Liles and Bingham followed that with a layup to stretch it to 67-52.

The Cardinals won for the 12th time in 13 games and snapped Maryland's 15-game winning streak.

The win was particularly sweet for both Walz, who spent six years assisting Brenda Frese and drew up the most memorable play of Maryland's national title in 2006 - the 3-pointer in the final seconds by then-freshman Kristi Toliver that forced overtime against Duke.

There were no such heroics this time for Toliver, the ACC player of the year who finished with 14 points on 5-of-15 shooting. Nor were there any for Coleman, who wept inconsolably and nearly collapsed as she came off the court for the final time with about a minute remaining.

Becky Burke finished with 10 points for the Cardinals, who sent the Terps into an early hole they couldn't escape.

They used an early 13-3 run to take a quick double-figure lead, with Monique Reed's layup with just under eight minutes before the break making it 24-14.

Part of the problem was that the Terps' two biggest stars, Coleman and Toliver, combined to go 3-for-15 in the first half. Maryland managed just three field goals in a span of roughly 11 1/2 minutes and was held to a season-low 25 points at halftime.

The Cardinals had shooting struggles of their own - they went scoreless for nearly six minutes, missing nine straight shots. McCoughtry missed eight in a row before swishing a mid-range jumper at the buzzer to put Louisville up 30-25 at the break.