AUSTIN — Hailey Van Lith scored 21 points as No. 5 Louisville beat No. 4 Texas 73-51 on the Longhorns’ home field on Monday night to send the Cardinals to the Sweet 16 for the sixth straight NCAA Tournament.
In a matchup of two teams that started the season in the Top 10 only all out of the standings before late regrouping, the Cardinals stifled the Longhorns and standout point guard Rori Harmon all night, stretching a 14-point lead in the halftime at 21 at the end of the third quarter.
Louisville (25-11) led by as many as 27 going into the quarter. The win sends the Cardinals to the Seattle Region 4 to face No. 1 seed Mississippi. 8, which upset #1 Stanford on Sunday.
“The coach (Jeff Walz) told us, ‘How many times can you calm the crowd,'” said Van Lith.
The Cardinals simply pushed the Big 12 regular season co-champions and seemed to relish the opportunity to do so on the road. Louisville did not host the first two rounds of the tournament for the first time since 2015, not including the 2021 pandemic tournament played entirely in Texas.
“We wanted to go out and show that we are the same Louisville tough guy that this program has been for a long time now,” Van Lith said.
Harmon, who lost 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 gave Harmon three assists in the first quarter, but no more. He also had five turnovers before limped off the field late in the fourth quarter with an apparent ankle injury.
“We just tried to wear her down,” Robinson said.
DeYona Gaston scored 12 points to lead Texas (26-10) after sitting out most of the first quarter on an opening foul.
Louisville took control of the game on a 9-0 run early in the second quarter, punctuated by Josie Williams’ 3-pointer to center 6-foot-5 from the top of the arc, and the Cardinals led by 14 at one minute. interval.
Texas narrowed the deficit to under 10 early in the third before Van Lith and Louisville responded with another 9-0 run. Robinson saw Carr in the corner on a fast break for a 3-pointer to put the Cardinals up 49-31.
“I hate that we went out like today,” said Texas coach Vic Schaefer.
“Robustness has been kind of an issue all year. It was an Achilles showing up again today” Schaefer said.
Louisville: The Cardinals’ frontcourt of Liz Dixon, Olivia Cochran and Morgan Jones combined for 22 points, but more importantly stopped everything Texas could do near the basket. The Longhorns were only 7 for 22 in layups. Louisville outscored Texas in the paint 38-20.
Texas: With the loss, Texas head coach Vic Schaefer ended his NCAA Elite Eight appearance streak at five. Schaefer led Mississippi State to three in a row, advancing to the Final Four twice, before taking the job at Texas. The Longhorns have not made the Final Four since 2003, when Hall of Famer Jody Conradt was the head coach.