Middle Tennessee mocks Louisville with ‘L’s down’ gesture after stunning March Madness upset

The women on Middle Tennessee rubbed salt in the wounds of Louisville after erasing an 18-point deficit in their upset win in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

After the No. 11-seed Blue Raiders capped off their 71-69 victory over the No. 6 Cardinals in Baton Rouge on Friday, ESPN cameras captured essentially the entire Middle Tennessee team doing the “L’s down” gesture to mock their opponents.

Savannah Wheeler and Jalynn Gregory both threw down the “L’s down” at midcourt.

Jalynn Gregory of the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders celebrates during the first round of the 2024 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament held at Pete Maravich Assembly Center on March 22, 2024 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Then, in a team huddle after the game, Courtney Whitson could be seen galvanizing her teammates as she made the “L’s down” with both hands and all of her teammates responded in kind.

Wheeler, this season’s Conference USA player of the year, struggled in the first half, missing her first six shots and getting in foul trouble early.

However, she scored 20 of her 22 points in the second half and explained her mindset after the game.

“I kept telling myself to keep staying aggressive and just keep playing within myself and eventually one is going to fall,” Wheeler said after going 5-of-7 from the field in the second half, including making all three of her 3-point attempts. “We’re a team that we don’t give up. We keep playing hard. We keep fighting.”

Middle Tennessee forward Courtney Whitson (33), guard Jalynn Gregory (10) and center Anastasiia Boldyreva (2) celebrate after defeating Louisville in a first-round college basketball game in the women’s NCAA Tournament in Baton Rouge, La., Friday, March 22, 2024. Middle Tennessee won 71-69. AP

After the game, Louisville guard Merissah Russell put the onus on the players for the lead slipping away, emphasizing that she had the back of head coach Jeff Walz.

“It’s on us as a team as and as players,” Russell said. “We know the culture here. We know the standard here and this is not it. … This is not who we are. I feel like failure.”

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