Middle Tennessee over Louisville was one of the more popular upset picks in the first round of the 2024 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament. We saw exactly why on Friday afternoon when the Blue Raiders stunned the Cardinals with an 18-point comeback to win, 71-69. 

This was the first NCAA Tournament win for Middle Tennessee since 2007, and its 18-point comeback was tied for the third-biggest in women's tournament history. The result also ended Louisville's run of five consecutive Elite Eight appearances and was the first time they have gone out in the first round during the Jeff Walz era, which began in 2007. 

Here's a look at the biggest comebacks in the women's tournament. As you'll notice, Middle Tennessee is the only team that pulled off the comeback as the lower seed. 

Team (Seed)YearComebackRound

Texas A&M (5)


21 points


Oklahoma State (4)


19 points


Middle Tennessee (11)


18 points


Baylor (7)


18 points


Louisville (2)


18 points


Maryland (2)


18 points

Sweet 16

Early on, it was all Louisville, as the Cardinals scored the first six points of the game and were up by 16 at the end of the first quarter. They extended that advantage to 18 points late in the first half and looked extremely comfortable on both ends of the floor. That turned out to be the high point of their day. 

Middle Tennessee rattled off a 7-0 to enter the break with some confidence, and carried it into the second half. Star guard Savannah Wheeler, the Conference USA Player of the Year, started to heat up. She scored 20 of her 22 points in the second half, and either made or assisted all four of the Blue Raiders' three-pointers during the game-changing third quarter. 

Louisville also got into foul trouble. When Olivia Cochran, who led Louisville with 17 points and 10 rebounds, picked up her fourth foul in the middle of the third quarter, the Cardinals were still up 42-37. While she sat on the bench, the Blue Raiders closed the frame on a 14-8 run to take the lead. 

After a back-and-forth start to the fourth quarter, the Blue Raiders took the lead for good with 6:49 to play on a bucket by Anastasiia Boldyreva. In fact, they built an eight-point advantage with just over two minutes to play, but it was not to be an easy finish. A combination of turnovers, blown layups and missed free throws nearly cost them a famous win. 

With three seconds to play, Ta'Mia Scott went to the line with the Blue Raiders up by two. She missed both free throws, which gave Merissah Russell a chance to win it at the buzzer. Her heave from beyond halfcourt was on line, but just a bit too strong. 

Jalynn Gregory finished with 24 points to lead the way for Middle Tennessee, while Wheeler put up 22 and Boldyreva chipped in 11 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks. 

The Blue Raiders will now play the winner of No. 3 LSU vs. No. 14 Rice on Sunday.