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January takes over March, spurs DePaul to Sweet 16

The Louisville Cardinals could not stop Jessica January. Ultimately, the inability to make stops led to Louisville's demise. The Cardinals exit the big dance... While DePaul grabs their Cowboy boots and dances to Texas.

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Louisville, KY -- The 3-seed Louisville Cardinals fell to the 6-seed DePaul Blue Demons, 73-72, in a heartbreaker at home.

"We're not sitting completely engaged in the process, as I always tell them. You can't cheat it." Coach Walz discussed his team's performance, "You cheat the process, you're going to get beat. It might work for you for a while, but eventually it's going to catch up with you. And that's really what took place tonight."

He added, "Right when we had it close, we would have a mental breakdown which would lead to a basket and a score

Myisha Hines-Allen tipped the ball, but DePaul came down with it. However, a back court violation by the Blue Demons put the ball immediately back in Louisville's possession.

Louisville took an early 7-0 lead forcing DePaul to burn a timeout.

"At that first timeout he was telling us we weren't rebounding, we weren't defending and those were the little things that were going to help us win the game." Megan Podkowa discussed the DePaul surge after the first timeout.

Chanise Jenkins added, "So we just figured that if we just get down, box out, rebound and we'll be able to at control their [Louisville] scoring, and then come back down and score offensively, and we were able to get on a roll from there."

Out of the timeout, Brooke Schulte misfired on a three and Cortnee Walton pulled down the defensive board. But the Cardinals could not grab a bucket. Jessica January took advantage of Louisville's breakdown and picked up four quick points. But a foul by Grant put Hines-Allen on the line to connect on two and extend Louisville's lead, 9-4.

DePaul hit back to back three-point shots as Podkowa and Schulte fired off shots at the top of the key. Another three by Jacqui Grant gave the Blue Demons a five points lead.

Asia Durr fired off a three-pointer of her own to bring the Cardinals within two. But scoring from January and Millender pulled DePaul back up by four.

Mart'e Grays fouled Mariya Moore on a three point shot with 1.5 on the clock, sending the sophomore to the line to connect on two of three.

DePaul held the advantage out scoring Louisville, 20-18, at the end of the first ten minutes.

Hines-Allen was the difference maker for the Cardinals in the first period scoring 10 of Louisville's 18 points.

Louisville's defensive struggled carried over into the second period. The Cardinals turned the ball over four times allowing DePaul to pick up five points. The Blue Demons were unstoppable as they outscored Louisville, 20-14.

Grays set the tone for the Blue Demons in the second period as she connected on a three-pointer extending the DePaul lead to five. A layup from Walton cut the lead to three, but a Moore foul sent Chanise Jenkins to the charity stripe to put the Blue Demons back up by five.

Each time Louisville would gain momentum, the Blue Demons would knock them down. DePaul took a 6-0 run holding the Cardinals without a bucket for nearly two minutes. January was on fire for the Blue Demons scoring 10 of DePaul's 20 points.

Louisville's defensive struggle allowed DePaul to take a comfortable 40-32 lead heading into the half.

Jessica January led all scorers in the first half picking up 18 points for the Blue Demons. While Hines-Allen paced the Cardinals with 10 points and four boards.

Louisville struggled from the floor connecting on 12-of-30 (40%), while DePaul was on fire hitting 14-of-27 (51.9%). The Cardinals held a 22-13 advantage on the boards, but DePaul's ability to run the ball stifled Louisville.

The Cardinals opened the third period with fury as Walton fired off a jumper. Hines-Allen grabbed a steal from Jenkins and grabbed a layup in transition to cut the lead to four. Back to back three-point shots from Briahanna Jackson cut the lead to two points as the Cardinals clawed their way back.

However, DePaul locked in on both offense and defense, keeping Louisville from scoring the final 2:41 of the third period, while extending their lead to nine heading into the final period.

The Cardinals were remarkable in the final period, out scoring DePaul, 19-11. Louisville held the Blue Demons to 27.3% from the field and did not allow one three-point shot from DePaul.

Asia Durr and Jackson brought the Cardinals within striking distance midway through the final period. A monster block by Hines-Allen shifted the momentum in Louisville's favor with 3:21 remaining in the game. A misfire by January and led to a Moore layup and tied the game at 69.

The Cardinals and the Blue Demons traded buckets in the final two minutes, but the game came down to two huge calls against Louisville.

Jackson hustled to grab a steal on an inbound pass and picked up her fifth foul and sent January to the line to hit one of two and put DePaul up by one.

"There was some contact on the play," Jackson said of her fifth foul, "But I feel like I made a play for the ball and so did she."

The Cardinals inbounded the ball with 14 seconds remaining and Hines-Allen drove to the bucket for two, but was called for a charge.

"I thought she made a strong take," Coach Jeff Walz spoke of the call, "It's a 50/50 call. It's one that I thought on her way up they slapped the ball... I mean I'm not worried about that. There's plenty of call that could have gone bother ways, and I'm sure Doug [Bruno] was upset about a few, too."

Hines-Allen added, "When I went up, I don't know, I -- I didn't think it was a foul or charge."

Despite the Cardinals clawing their way back, DePaul survived and will advance to the Sweet Sixteen after a 73-72 decision.

The Cardinals had four players grab double-digits: Briahanna Jackson led the Cardinals with 20 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals. Asia Durr tallied 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting. Both Hines-Allen and Moore chipped in 14 points apiece. Moore registered her third career double-double as she pulled down 10 boards.

For DePaul, Jessica January picked up a game-high 25 points, while pulling down eight boards and dishing out five assists. Ashton Millender and Chanise Jenkins both chipped in 12 points.

"So they made their run at us at the end of the game," DePaul head coach Doug Bruno spoke of his team's performance, "and I was proud of the players sitting next to me and the players in the locker room for being able to stand up to that charge at the end and do just enough to bring the game home and bring the, finish the game, in a great environment."