The fifth-seeded University of Louisville women's team opened NCAA tournament play against 12-seed Middle Tennessee State at the KFC Yum! Center on Sunday afternoon. The Cardinals claimed an impressive 74-49 opening-round victory over the Tigers.
Sparked by it's defensive pressure, Louisville raced to an early 20-3 lead, but the Tigers, fueled by their three-point accuracy, trimmed the Cardinals advantage to 34-27 by the half. While U of L swiped 12 steals during the first frame, MTSU converted 5-11 beyond the arc to keep the game close.
The Tigers hot outside shooting continued into the second frame. Following a pair of three-pointers during the first four minutes of second half play, Louisville's lead was reduced to 34-33. The Cardinals defensive pressure then took over and sparked a run that put the host school back in control.
Louisville was lead by Shoni Schimmel's 20 points, while Bria Smith recorded a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds. Monique Reid added 15 points in the win. The Cardinals totaled 19 assists and 18 steals.
U of L will face 4-seed Purdue, which downed Liberty 77-43 in first round action, on Tuesday evening with a trip to the Sweet 16 on the line.