AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Hailey Van Lith scored 21 points and No. 5 Louisville rolled over No. 4 Texas 73-51 on the Longhorns' home court Monday night to send the the Cardinals to the Sweet 16 for the sixth NCAA Tournament in row.
In a matchup of two teams that began the season in the Top 10 only to all out of the rankings before regrouping late, the Cardinals smothered the Longhorns and standout point guard Rori Harmon all night, stretching a 14-point halftime lead to 21 by end of the third quarter.
Louisville (25-11) led by as much as 27 early in the fourth. The win sends the Cardinals to the Seattle 4 Region to play No. 8-seed Mississippi, which upset No. 1 Stanford on Sunday.
“Coach (Jeff Walz) told us, ‘How many times can you quiet down the crowd,’” Van Lith said.
The Cardinals simply pushed around the Big 12 regular season co-champions and seemed to relish the chance to do it on the road. Louisville didn't host the first two rounds of the tournament for the first time since 2015, excluding the 2021 pandemic tournament played entirely in Texas.
“We wanted to go out and prove we’re the same Louisville tough that this program has been for a long time now," Van Lith said.
Harmon, who missed the matchup between the teams when Louisville beat the Longhorns in November, was rarely a factor in the rematch.
Van Lith, Mykasa Robinson and Chrislyn Carr allowed Harmon three assists in the first quarter, but no more. She also had five turnovers before limping off the court late in the fourth quarter with an apparent ankle injury.
“We just really tried to wear her out,” Robinson said.
DeYona Gaston scored 12 points to lead Texas (26-10) after sitting for nearly the entire first quarter because of an early foul.
Louisville took control of the game with a 9-0 run to start the second quarter, punctuated by 6-foot-5 center Josie Williams'3-pointer from the top of the arc, and the Cardinals led by 14 at halftime.
Texas cut the deficit under 10 early in the third before Van Lith and Louisville answered with another 9-0 run. Robinson spied Carr in the corner on a fast break for a 3-pointer that put the Cardinals up 49-31.
“I hate that we went out like we did today,” Texas coach Vic Schaefer said.
“Toughness has been kind of an issue all year long. It’s been an Achilles that showed up again today," Schaefer said.
Louisville: The Cardinals' frontcourt of Liz Dixon, Olivia Cochran and Morgan Jones combined for 22 points but most importantly disrupted everything Texas could do near the basket. The Longhorns were just 7 of 22 on layups. Louisville outscored Texas in the paint 38-20.
Texas: With the loss, Texas coach Vic Schaefer had his string of NCAA Elite Eight appearances snapped at five. Schaefer took Mississippi State to three straight, advancing twice to the Final Four, before accepting the job at Texas. The Longhorns have not reached the Final Four since 2003, when Hall of Famer Jody Conradt was coach.
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