IOWA CITY – The Hawkeyes and Cardinals put on shooting clinics in their first-round games just two days before.
Louisville’s offensive engine kept on humming Tuesday, but they put a stop to Iowa’s in a hurry.
Limiting Iowa to season lows in scoring, 3-pointers and field-goal percentage, third-seeded Louisville stormed past the Hawkeyes 83-53 in the second round of the NCAA women’s tournament at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Shoni Schimmel racked up 26 points, seven assists, five steals and five rebounds to spark Louisville’s quick-strike attack while the Cardinals shot 53 percent. Antonita Slaughter made 5-of-6 from beyond the arc and scored 17 points as last year’s national runner-up finished at 47 percent from deep.
The sixth-seeded Hawkeyes (27-9) were seeking their first Sweet 16 berth since 1996, but were undone by a 1-for-16 outing from beyond the arc, while matching their season low field-goal percentage of 33.
“Defensively that’s one of the best performances we’ve had this entire season,” Cardinals coach Jeff Walz said. “We followed the scouting reports. We did not help off shooters, we forced defended shots and I’m just really pleased with how we defended tonight.”
The fourth-ranked Cardinals (32-4) advance to the Sweet 16 to play seventh-seeded LSU (21-12) in Louisville on Sunday.
Like Louisville, the Hawks shot 57 percent in their opening round game Sunday, but never found their touch against the Cardinals. Iowa didn’t leave things up to chance at the start and took the ball to the basket early and often. Theairra Taylor’s free throws leveled the score at 11 at the 15:39 mark before the Cardinals took off.
“I felt like for some reason we went away from things that were working for us in the first few minutes of the game,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said.
“I thought we had some great drives to the basket. We got in a little bit of foul trouble unfortunately. That hurt us.”
Louisville broke things open with a 12-1 run as the Hawks endured a near 8-minute field goal drought. Ally Disterhoft ended it with a three-point play, but Jude Schimmel answered with one of her own and later banked in a shot clock-beating 3 before Tia Gibbs’ jumper in the final seconds lengthened the Cardinals’ advantage to 40-23 at the half.
Louisville carried the momentum into the second half with a 12-2 surge as Shoni Schimmel’s 3 widened the gap to 52-25. Iowa didn’t have an answer and never got closer than 25 the rest of the night.
The Cardinals stretched their lead as far as 38 and though they didn’t pull any surprises on Bluder and the Hawkeyes, their pressure and physicality continued to trouble the Hawks’ offense throughout.
“We knew they were going to have pressure. We knew they were going to have some traps, different defenses,” Bluder said. “It wasn’t anything we weren’t expecting. We just really didn’t execute.”
Disterhoft led the Hawks with 15 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out late, while Taylor scored 10 in her final game at Iowa. Samantha Logic finished with 12 points, five rebounds and five steals but also committed nine turnovers. Bethany Doolittle chipped in nine points as Iowa had just seven assists.
“Our whole game plan was to keep the ball out of Logic’s hands as much as we possibly could,” Walz said. “She shot it well, but I thought we made her work the entire night.”
Both teams turned the ball over 19 times though Louisville outscored the Hawkeyes 20-11 off turnovers and had a 24-2 advantage in bench points.
Jude Schimmel chipped in 10 points and three steals off the bench, while Tia Gibbs and Asia Taylor both scored 10. Louisville finished 22-of-25 from the line overall and shot 64 percent in the first half led by Shoni Schimmel’s 12 points.
“You have to try to contain her,” Logic said of Shoni Schimmel. “You’re not going to control a player like that. You just have to try to limit everything they do because she’s a flat-out score and that’s what she did for this team.”
The Hawkeyes haven’t been to the Sweet 16 since 1996, losing in the first two rounds in each of their 13 tournament appearances since Iowa’s previous low in scoring was 64 in a win over Minnesota.