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The University of Louisville women's basketball team opens NCAA play on Saturday; here's a notebook of items

The University of Louisville women's basketball team opens NCAA play on Saturday; here's a notebook of items.

Jackson back for the Cardinals

University of Louisville women's basketball coach Jeff Walz said senior Briahanna Jackson will be back for the NCAA Tournament 

Jackson has missed the last eight games with back spasms but Walz said she has been cleared to play.

"She practiced this past week and she looks good," Walz said. "She feels fine. It's been about a month that she's not been on the court. So it's not something that she'll go out there and play 35 minutes.

"But she does feel good, so we do have her in the rotation, which will help us. So, yeah, I do expect her to play."

Jackson averages 6.5 points a game and is second on the team in steals (39) and assists (117). She ranks 32nd nationally in assist/turnover ratio at 2.39 and has 545 in her two years at U of L.

No vacation for the Cards

Louisville hasn't played since March 4 when it lost to Notre Dame in the ACC semifinals.

But it hasn't been a vacation for the Cardinals with Walz giving them a little break but then doing some double sessions.

"We've been doing two-a-days, just going hard," Myisha Hines-Allen said. "In the afternoon we scrimmage, and morning practice we go over our plays. It's been fun."

Walz said he feels like his team has taken some strides forward in the time off.

Meeting the Mocs again

It's the second meeting of the season between U of L and Chattanooga.

The Cardinals won 63-47 on Nov. 21 in the KFC Yum Center and lead the all-time series 5-2.

But Walz has warned his team that Chattanooga has "really improved" since early in the season.

"Well, there's a lot more experience from both groups. We've had a good two and a half months of really trying to put some things together offensively, defensively. The kids getting to know each other. You learn as the year goes on who does what well.

"I think that's one thing Chattanooga's really improved on. They're very disciplined in what they're doing. They're focused. They know who is supposed to get shots from where. Offensively I think they've improved. Defensively, I think they've been solid the entire year, when I go back and watch them on film. It's going to be a great game. I think both of our games here will be fantastic tomorrow."

Cards as the No. 4 seed

Louisville is the No. 4 seed in the tournament, marking just the second time in school history.

The only other time was in 2008 when the Cardinals went 2-1. The Cardinals beat Miami and Kansas State before losing to North Carolina in the Sweet 16 in New Orleans.

That was the first season under Jeff Walz.

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