The UofL women finished up the regular season 25-6 and 12-4 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Cards are the No. 5 seed in this week’s ACC Tournament in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Starting center Cortnee Walton was one of three seniors honored before UofL’s final regular season home game, a 66-55 win over Virginia on February 23. Walton is a 6-foot-3 senior from Surprise, Arizona. She has spent the last semester as a sports intern at WAVE 3 News. The Cards could potentially host NCAA Tournament games.
Can you believe it’s finally winding down?
No, because I feel I’ve been here for so long and it’s kind of scary to move on to somewhere else.
What are the emotions about “Senior Day”?
I’m just kind of sad because I really enjoy playing at the KFC Yum! Center, so I hope that we keep a No. 4 seed so that I can have a couple more games at the Yum!.
What is different about postseason basketball at home?
We have so much more of an advantage because we’re at home, in front of our fans, and they can really help us when we have a close game. But it’ll be nice, especially because I’m a senior and it’ll be my last opportunity to play in the Yum! Center.
What are your memories about making it to the National Championship game as a freshman?
It was really cool, especially it being my freshman year and you know, the first time I’m playing in the NCAA Tournament, going to the Final Four, having one of the biggest upsets in women’s basketball history. It was kind of like, wow, what am I going to do now – I feel like I’ve accomplished so much already.
How many minutes did you play as a freshman?
I think close to 15 minutes a game. I played over 20 minutes in the Baylor game. I did play a lot my freshman year.
How did you help overcome 6-foot-8 Brittney Griner?
Going into it, we were the only people that thought we were going to win. Our whole team bought in. The game was really tough. Sara [Hammond] got in foul trouble early, so I had to step up as a freshman. If you can imagine, your freshman year, first time playing in the NCAA Tournament, you’re playing against arguably one of the best women’s basketball players in the country and everyone thinks you’re going to lose. We were a 28-point underdog, or something like that, and so we ended up winning. And it’s definitely a highlight of my career.
What do you remember about that matchup?
Coach Walz was kind of telling us to get in her head, get in her head. She kept elbowing me in the face, and it was driving me crazy. I was like, “Why is she elbowing me in the face? I’m not hitting her on purpose.” I elbowed her in the stomach and she called me some choice words and I called her some choice words and the ball went out of bounds and she came charging at me before a media timeout. The refs were blowing their whistles and nobody ever saw that on TV, but I like to say I’m tough. People think that because I’m nice I’m not tough, but I like to say, you know what, when I was a freshman, Brittney Griner got in my face and I wasn’t intimidated.
What do you want to do now?
I want to go into broadcasting and I would love to work for the ACC Network and be a color analyst and do sideline reporting – just everything about sports. I love sports and I want to continue working in sports. I want to stay in the Louisville area and use my connections. I love the people here and I love the environment, and I just have had such a great time that I want to live here.
What is your major?
I graduated in three years, so I got my undergrad in three years and I’m going to finish my master’s in sport administration in May. VT