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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 has had great success in the NCAA Tournament under coach Jeff Walz.

    Since he arrived in 2007, Walz has guided the Cardinals to five Sweet 16s, three Elite Eights, two Final Fours and two national runner-up finishes in six trips to the Big Dance.

    Walz will try continue his March mastery - he’s won 75 percent (18-6) of his NCAA Tournament games - at 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon when third-seeded UofL (25-6), which is No. 8 in both national polls, will meet 14th-seeded BYU (23-9) in Tampa, Fla. as part of the Albany Region.  

    The Cougars finished fifth in the West Coast Conference during the regular season before winning the league’s postseason tournament. BYU is led by 5-foot-10 junior guard Lexi Eaton (20.7 points per game, 6.5 rebounds per game, 2.9 assists per game) and 6-2 senior forward Morgan Bailey (17.3 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 2.5 apg). Bailey was the WCC Player of the Year, while Eaton joined her teammate on the league’s first team.

    The Cougars also rely on 5-8 sophomore guard Makenzi Morrison (9.6 ppg), 5-5 junior guard Kylie Maeda (6.4 ppg, 4.3 apg), 5-11 senior guard Xojian Harry (5.6 ppg, 3 rpg) and 5-10 senior guard Ashley Garfield (5.1 ppg, 7.5 rpg)

    In the only previous meeting between the two teams, Louisville beat BYU 80-54 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on March 17, 2007. Two days after that the Cards lost to Arizona State in the second round, and eight days after that - following the departure of then-coach Tom Collen for Arkansas -  Walz was hired as UofL's coach.  

    If the Cards, who’ve won seven straight first-round games, can top the Cougars for a second time they’ll meet either sixth-seeded, and host, South Florida (26-7), which is No. 25 in both national polls, or 11th-seeded LSU (17-13) on Monday.

    Second-seeded Kentucky won its first-round game in the lower half of the Albany bracket Friday. The Wildcats wallopped Tennessee State 97-52 behind 16 points from Linnae Harper, who led six in double digits. If UK can beat seventh-seeded Dayton on Sunday, and UofL wins its first two games the archrivals will meet in the Sweet 16 in Albany next week.

    Photo courtesy University of Louisville Women’s Basketball Facebook Page

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