The No. 5 seed University of Louisville women’s basketball is set to begin the 2023 NCAA Tournament in the Lone Star State as they head to Austin for the 1st and 2nd rounds. The fifth-seeded Cardinals are set to take on the 12-seed Drake Bulldogs in the opening matchup of the NCAA Tournament this Saturday, March 18. The Cardinals and Bulldogs will square off at the Moody Center in Austin, Texas at 7:30 p.m. ET and the matchup will air on ESPN2.

This is the 25th overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament for the Cardinals and 14th appearance during head coach Jeff Walz’s tenure. Louisville finished the regular season fourth in the ACC and made it to the ACC Tournament championship game. Drake finished the regular season in fourth place in the Missouri Valley Conference and defeated the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds en route to their eighth conference tournament championship in program history and their 14th overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament. 

This will be the first time since the 2015 NCAA Tournament that the Cardinals will begin on the road for the first and second rounds. The Cardinals have had a lot of success away from home in the first two rounds under Walz. Louisville is 12-2 on the road in the first two rounds of the tournament and have advanced to two of their four Final Fours (2009, 2013) after starting out on the road. This will be the first time in program history that the Cardinals will face a current opponent from the Missouri Valley Conference in the NCAA Tournament. This will also be the first ever meeting between the two schools.

The Cardinals are 17-7 overall in the first round of the NCAA Tournament but they are a perfect 13-0 under Walz. Since Walz arrived in 2007, the Cardinals have been the higher seed in each of the previous 13 first round matchups.

Louisville has a number of players with tournament experience on the roster heading into the weekend. This will be Mykasa Robinson’s fourth tournament with the Cardinals and she has played a team-high 13 NCAA games. Morgan Jones will also be making her fourth appearances, as she made the tournament three times at Florida State. Hailey Van Lith, Olivia Cochran and Norika Konno will each be making their third tournament this weekend. 

Date: Saturday, March 18
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Site: Austin, Texas | Moody Center (10,000)
TV: ESPN2 (Eric Frede, play-by-play; Tamika Catchings, analyst)
Radio: 93.9-FM WLCL (Nick Curran, play-by-play; Cortnee Walton, analyst)
Series History: First Meeting

Drake enters the NCAA Tournament with a 22-9 record and were 14-6 in Missouri Valley Conference play. The Bulldogs were the No. 4 seed in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament and defeated No. 1 seed Illinois State and No. 2 seed Belmont to win its eighth tournament championship in program history. Drake is in the Top-10 nationally in a number of categories this season. The Bulldogs lead the country in defensive rebounds per game (32.1) and rank third nationally in assists per game (20.8), fifth in blocks per game (5.8), fifth in field goal percentage (.480) and fifth in rebounding margin (+10.5). The Bulldogs are led by Katie Dinnebier, who is 15th nationally in assists per game (5.7) and 19th in assist/turnover ratio (2.34). Maggie Bair is 11th in the nation with a .603 field goal percentage.

Drake Tournament History – This will be the 14th all-time appearance for Drake in the NCAA Tournament and their first since the 2019. They have made one Elite Eight (1982), two Sweet 16’s (1982, 2002) and advanced to the second round four times in their program history. This will be the fourth time they have faced an ACC opponent in the NCAA Tournament. They defeated Syracuse in the first round in 2002, dropped their first-round game against Clemson in 2000 and fell to then-ACC school Maryland in the Elite Eight in 1982. This is the second time the Bulldogs have played in Austin in the NCAA Tournament as they dropped their first-round game to Texas in the 1984 NCAA Tournament.

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