By Sam Draut–
However unlikely an NCAA tournament appearance might have seemed when the University of Louisville women’s basketball team began the year 1-4, the Cardinals found a way to turn around the season and won 22 of their final 24 games. Louisville (25-7) earned a three-seed in the NCAA tournament and hosts Central Arkansas (28-3) in the first round at 2:30 p.m. The winner will play sixth-seeded DePaul on Sunday.
Coach Jeff Walz was critical of his team’s defense after Louisville lost to Syracuse 80-75 in the semi-finals of the ACC tournament. Louisville has had nearly two weeks to prepare for the NCAA tournament.
Follow along for live updates and analysis here:
Final: Louisville defeats Central Arkansas 87-60.
2:10 left- Louisville leads Central Arkansas 84-57. Walz is resting his starters, reserves playing the final few minutes.
End of the third quarter- Louisville leads Central Arkansas 73-49. Cardinals moved the ball well in the final few minutes of the quarter, Fuehring is the third Cardinal in double figures with 10 points.
4:14 third quarter- Louisville leads Central Arkansas 64-43. Jackson takes a hard tumble to the floor on a transition layup, but gets up quickly.
8:56 third quarter- Louisville leads Central Arkansas 55-34. Rushing calls a quick timeout after Louisville scores on consecutive open layups. Moore made the first layup to open the second half, she was 1 of 18 shooting in the ACC tournament, 3 of 5 today, 7 made FTs, up to 13 points.
Halftime: Louisville leads Central Arkansas 51-34. Cardinals finished the final six minutes of the first half on a 19-2 run. Hines-Allen has 19 points and six rebounds. Moore has 11 points, four rebounds and three assists. Louisville is shooting 63 percent from the field, Hines-Allen is 9 of 12 from the field.
31.1 seconds second quarter- Louisville leads 49-34. The Cardinals were on a 17-0 run before Central Arkansas’s last basket. Walz calls a timeout.
4:34 second quarter- Louisville leads Central Arkansas 38-32. Durr scores in transition, Rushing calls a timeout as Louisville takes its largest lead of the game. Hines-Allen has 15 points, 7 of 9 shooting from the field. Central Arkansas hasn’t been able to handle her in the low-post, only plays one player over 6-foot.
End of the first quarter- Central Arkansas leads Louisville 25-22. Central Arkansas has made 4 of 5 3-pointers and is shooting 53 percent from the field. Hines-Allen has eight points and Moore has four points and three assists.
4:38 first quarter- Louisville leads Central Arkansas 12-11. Hines-Allen has six points. Watts and Proffitt each have five points for Central Arkansas. Moore has two assists and a few nice drives to the basket, the sophomore struggled in the ACC tournament, but seems more assertive today. Sam Fuehring and Asia Durr replace Hines-Allen and Jackson.
Louisville: Briahanna Jackson, Arica Carter, Cortnee Walton, Myisha Hines-Allen, Mariya Moore.
Central Arkansas: Brianna Mullins, Jameka Watkins, Maggie Proffitt, Kendara Watts, Taylor Baudoin.