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No. 5-seed Louisville blows out No. 4-seed Texas, 73-51

The Longhorns fell behind in the second quarter and could never get anything going offenively.

Syndication: Austin American-Statesman Aaron E. Martinez / American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK

For the first time in eight years, a Vic Schaefer-coached team won’t be playing in the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament after the No. 4-seed Texas Longhorns fell to the No. 5-seed Louisville Cardinals 73-51 on Monday at the Moody Center.

During that stretch, Schaefer coached Mississippi State and Texas to one Sweet 16, three Elite Eights, and into two national championship games, including two straight Elite Eight appearances to start his tenure on the Forty Acres.

But an injury-plagued season ended in disappointment as the Longhorns looked toothless on offense and unable to impact the game defensively as the Cardinals shot 46.9 percent percent from the field and committed 10 turnovers.

Led by a game-high 21 points from guard Haile Van Lith, Louisville had a 38-20 advantage in points in the paint and a 13-4 edge in fast-break points.

For Texas, leading scorer Shaylee Gonzales struggled on her way to six points on 22-of-10 shooting, miss all four three-point attempts, and fellow guard Rori Harmon turned in a poor performance, too, shooting 4-of-11 from the floor, 2-of-6 from the free-throw line, and committing five turnovers. As a team, Texas shot 34.5 percent overall and 1-of-10 from three-point range while hitting only 6-of-20 layups.

Texas fell behind early as Louisville scored the first seven points of the game. By the end of the first quarter, the Horns had roared back to tie the game at 16-16 despite struggle taking care of the basketball — Texas committed seven turnovers, leading to nine of the 16 points for Louisville, which received eight points from Van Lith and had a 14-6 advantage in points in the paint.

But the Longhorns started the second quarter slowly, too, falling victim to a 9-0 run by the Cardinals when Texas missed its first six shots and Louisville center Josie Williams scored five points, forcing a timeout by Vic Schaefer.

Inserting forward DeYonta Gaston paid immediate dividends for Schaefer by ending the scoring drought with two layups, but missed her next attempt and then turned the ball over as a true scoring run failed to coalesce. In fact, six straight points by Louisville pushed the margin into double digits and kept it there to end the quarter thanks to poor shooting from Texas, which made only 3-of-15 shots (20 percent) to go into halftime facing a daunting 37-23 margin.

The Longhorns only forced two turnovers in the first half, contributing to a 9-2 margin for for the Cardinals in fast-break points. Crashing the glass on misses produced seven rebounds by Texas, but the Horns didn’t take advantage, scoring just four second-chance points.

Harmon immediately started the second half with a turnover that led to free throws and an offensive rebound by Louisville. One play early in the third quarter was emblematic of the struggles for the Longhorns — Harmon nearly turned the ball over, was fortunate to recover it, then found Gaston for a layup that Gaston missed before immediately committing a foul trying to secure the rebound.

Desperate to get back into the game, fullcourt pressure provided a boost for the Longhorns and ignited the home crowd, producing a 7-0 run and contributing to a field-goal drought of four minutes for the Cardinals thanks to eight straight missed shots. By the time that Louisville came out of it with a layup through contact, the lead was back up to 13 points, fueled in part by four missed layups by Texas over a three-minute stretch, a trend throughout the game — by the three-minute mark of the third quarter, the Longhorns were 5-of-18 shooting on layups in addition to 6-of-14 shooting from the free-throw line.

Schaefer had to call a timeout with 3:17 remaining in the third quarter due to a 9-0 Louisville run that produced the game’s largest margin of 18 points in favor the Cardinals. The timeout didn’t arrest the momentum for Louisville, which extended the run to 12-1 and finished the third quarter leading 56-35 after Texas was 3-of-12 shooting from the field.

By early in the fourth quarter, the frustration of the Longhorns was evident as the lead for the Cardinals ballooned to 27 points by the 8:16 mark, leaving Schaefer with little to do except call another timeout.

Freshman guard Ndjakalenga Mwenentanda came in and provided some spark, scoring 10 of the first 11 points scored by Texas in the fourth quarter to end her first season in college on a positive note.

Harmon then left the court with an injury late in the game as Texas finished the season 26-10.