The No. 5 seed Louisville Cardinals season came to an end in the Elite Eight as they fell 97-83 to No. 2 seed Iowa Sunday night at Climate Pledge Arena. The Cardinals were right in it in the first half as they trailed by just five at halftime. The Hawkeyes had a big third quarter, scoring 30 points, and the Cardinals were unable to overcome the deficit.
Hailey Van Lith led the Cardinals with a postseason career-best 27 points. She scored 20 points or more in each of the first four NCAA Tournament games for the second-straight season. She finished the season with 729 points, fifth-best for a single season in program history. Olivia Cochran had her ninth career double-double with a career-high 20 points and 14 rebounds. The 14 rebounds are tied for the fifth most in an NCAA Tournament game in program history.
The Cardinals were shot out of a cannon in the first quarter and started the game on an 8-0 run. The Cards hit four of their first six shots and Van Lith had six of the eight points. She hid a mid-range jumper for her third bucket and forced the Hawkeyes into an early timeout. The Hawkeyes responded with a 7-0 run out of the timeout and trimmed the Cardinals lead to one until Chrislyn Carr nailed a three on the ensuing possession. Iowa had another run in them as they went on a 9-0 run to take its first lead of the game. Carr ended the run with her third three of the quarter but the Cardinals trailed 25-21 after the first 10 minutes.
The Cardinals hit four of five shots to start the second quarter but the Hawkeyes were 3-for-3 from three and forced a timeout from the Cards as the Iowa lead grew to nine. Van Lith ended a 9-0 run for Iowa with her fourth bucket of the night. She followed it up a three on the next possession as she reached double figures. Van Lith scored each of the last six points for the Cards as they trimmed the deficit to 48-43 at the half.
Van Lith had 17 points at halftime on 6-of-10 shooting while Carr added nine points and Robinson had six. Robinson led the team with five assists in the first half while Cochran had five rebounds.
The Cards scored the first four points of the third quarter to get within one. Iowa followed it up with the next eight points and the Cardinals used another timeout. The Cards hit a dry spell from the floor and Iowa’s lead grew to as high as 21 in the quarter. At the end of the third quarter, Iowa held a 78-59 lead.
In the fourth quarter, the Cardinals hit five of seven shots and ripped off a 13-1 run to trim the lead down to 10. They held the Hawkeyes without a field goal for over seven minutes but could not cut into the lead any further than 10.