The 6-seeded Louisville Cardinals saw the beginning and end of their tournament run in Baton Rouge today when they faced and lost to 11-seeded Middle Tennessee State University. The 71-69 loss is Louisville’s second loss to MTSU in the past two seasons.

Things went well for the Cards through most of the first half as the team broke out an early 9-0 run that included a three-pointer from Olivia Cochran. Louisville was leading 17-7 at the first media timeout and the team appeared to have a level of focus that brought them much improved shooting from the three-point line, and an improvement on made layups. If any lessons were learned from last year’s loss to MTSU, it was knowing how imperative it would be to contain Savannah Wheeler. Louisville did a fantastic job of this through the first half and held her to just two points on their way to a 38-27 halftime lead.

The third quarter haunting came right on time, and it felt like the wheels fell off. Louisville could not find a shot and during that, they allowed Middle Tennessee to find all the shots. Most notably, Savannah Wheeler, who broke loose and put up a light 20 points in the second half before throwing her L’s down on her way off the court. For that, the city of Louisville will forever hold a grudge. It really felt like the Cards just quit taking care of the ball like they were early on and to add to the madness, everyone was in foul trouble. Ok, not everyone, but most everyone it seemed was catching whistle with every breath they took. With 5 minutes left to play, there were 4 players at risk of fouling out.

The Cards were able to claw their way back and found themselves down by just two points with a few seconds left on the clock, but it wouldn’t be enough to send the game into overtime. Merissah Russell threw up a half-court shot that had a real chance of going in, but ultimately bounced off the rim as the buzzer sounded to end the Cardinals’ season.

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Chrissy Banta

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