It took a spark from a former walk-on and a huge second-quarter performance from its leading scorer, but the University of Louisville women's basketball team cruised in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday afternoon.
Dakota Weatherford, who came to the team as a walk on, was inserted into the lineup for eight minutes in the first half when the Cardinals were struggling on both ends of the floor and gave the Cardinals a spark against Central Arkansas.
Weatherford's steal and three-point play on the other end gave the Cardinals a lead at 29-28 before Myisha Hines-Allen took over. Her jumped gave the Cardinals the lead over the Sugar Bears for good at 32-30, kickstarting a 17-0 run en route to a 87-60 victory at the KYC Yum Center.
The win gives Louisville (26-7) an eighth straight victory in NCAA opening rounds under Jeff Walz, who has guided the team to eight tournament appearances in nine seasons as the coach.
The Cardinals, the No. 3 seed in the Dallas Regional, will play DePaul (26-8) on Sunday in the second round. The winner will advance to next weekend's Sweet 16 in Dallas.
In 23 minutes, Hines-Allen led the Cardinals with 25 points and seven rebounds. She was 12 of 15 from the field.
Mariya Moore added 16 points and four assists, while Sam Fuehring chipped in 12 points, four assists and four rebounds.
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