The Louisville women's basketball team's season has come to an abrupt end on Sunday afternoon in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Playing in front of a crowd of 7,515, No. 3 seeded Cardinals jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead over No. 6 DePaul, but saw their lead quickly evaporate and found themselves playing from behind for the remainder of the contest. Despite a late rally, U of L lost its first-ever game against a 6-seeded team (5-1), falling 73-72 to the Blue Demons.
The Cardinals, which trailed 20-18 after the first quarter, struggled to slow a hot-shooting Blue Demon squad that connected on 52 percent of it's field goal attempts in first half, including 5 of 10 beyond the three-point arc, trailed by eight, 40-32 at the half. Louisville's play on the offensive end improved in the second half, but wasn't able to slow the DePaul offense until trailing by 10 early in the fourth quarter.
Sparked by three-pointers from Asia Durr and Arica Carter, the Cardinals used a 14-4 run to even the score at 69 with 2:52 to play, but were unable to grab the lead, connecting on just one of three attempts during the final minutes. DePaul were unable to seal a victory at the free throw line providing U of L one final opportunity to win, but Myisha Hines-Allen was called for a questionable charge with 1.5 seconds remaining that cemented a Blue Demon victory.
"I thought she made a strong take," U of L head coach Jeff Walz said of the team's final play. "It's a 50/50 call. It's one that I thought on her way up they slapped at the ball, but whatever. I mean I'm not worried about that. There's plenty of calls that could have gone both ways."
Briahanna Jackson led Louisville with 20 points, while also grabbing six rebounds and handing out five assists. Mariya Moore recorded her third career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Asia Durr finished with 15 points, while Hines-Allen, the ACC Player of the Year, was limited due to early foul trouble and finished with 14 points and nine rebounds.
For Louisville, the focus now turns to the 2016-17 season.
"It's like I told (the players) in the locker room there, this loss has to hurt them as bad if not worse than it hurts me," said Walz. "Because come May, if this loss doesn't still sting and hurt, then you are aren't going to become the player you need to be. Because this has to fuel your fire. This loss has to give you something in desire to want to become better."