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    Photo courtesy University of Louisville Women’s Basketball Facebook Page
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    The University of Louisville women’s basketball team's defense was its best offense Saturday afternoon.

    The Cardinals forced 30 BYU turnovers and converted those into 38 points as they cruised to an 86-53 victory in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Tampa, Fla.

    Freshman forward Myisha Hines-Allen scored a game-high 19 points to lead four in double figures for UofL (26-6), which is the No. 3 seed in the Albany Region.

    Louisville, which is No. 8 in both national polls, will face sixth-seeded, and host, South Florida (27-7) at 9 p.m. Monday night in the Sun Dome (the game will be televised on ESPN2). The 25th-ranked Bulls, the American Athletic Conference regular-season and postseason runners-up (to No. 1 Connecticut), beat 11th-seeded LSU 73-64 Saturday evening.

    The Cards swept three meetings with South Florida last season, when they played in the AAC. UofL beat the Bulls 62-54 in Tampa, 79-59 at the KFC Yum! Center and 60-56 in the AAC Tournament semifinals in Uncasville, Conn.

    Louisville, which returned only two starters from last season (Sara Hammond and Bria Smith) improved to 7-0 all-time in first-round games under coach Jeff Walz by blitzing BYU in the first half.

    The Cougars led 4-2 early before the Cards went on a 13-2 run that was keyed by 10 BYU blunders. UofL rolled from there.

    The Cards led 38-24 at halftime thanks to nine points from Hines-Allen and 20 off of 17 turnovers by the Cougars.

    Louisville outscored BYU 48-29 in the second half on its way to a 33-point victory.

    Hines-Allen, who was 8 for 12 from the field and 3 of 4 from the free throw line while also grabbing a team-high eight rebounds, was aided by senior point guard Jude Schimmel, who tallied 13 points, four assists and three steals. Seniors Smith and Shawnta’ Dyer added 11 points apiece off the bench. Smith also had a game-high seven steals while Dyer corralled four rebounds for the Cards, who shot 45.9 percent from field (28 of 61) and made an uncharacteristic 27 of 34 free throws (79.4 percent).

    UofL held BYU leading scorer Lexi Eaton to 14 points (well below her 20.7-point per game average) and forced her into 11 turnovers. Meanwhile Morgan Bailey, the West Coast Conference Player of the Year, had a double-double (15 points and 10 rebounds) for the Cougars.

    Photo courtesy University of Louisville Women’s Basketball Facebook Page

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