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NCAAW Elite Eight Recap (Day 1): No. 2 UConn march past No. 1 Louisville, 80-73, to advance to 12th straight Final Four

The Huskies relied on a beyond-the-arc strategy from Katie Lou Samuelson and others to move past the Cardinals, 80-73.

NCAA Womens Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Albany Regional-Connecticut vs Louisville
For the second time against Louisville this season, UConn’s Megan Walker recorded 12 rebounds and added four 3-pointers.
Photo by: Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports

Fifty-four percent shooting — that’s not a field-goal metric, but rather how well No. 2 UConn’s three-point game fared against No. 1 Louisville in Sunday’s Elite Eight matchup.

After how UConn’s weekend started against No. 6 UCLA, the chatter around the Huskies’ Final Four prospects fell back to a whisper. Heading into a rematch against Louisville after the Cardinals’ defense hushed No. 4 Oregon State, no one expected Christyn Williams (16 points, 7 rebounds) and Megan Walker (4-for-7 from three, 13 points, 12 rebounds) to rise to the occasion in the fashion that they did.

With his team’s 80-73 win in the Elite Eight, Geno Auriemma got the revenge he wanted against Jeff Walz, especially when a loss to Louisville from earlier in the season left the Huskies speechless.

Nevertheless, the Huskies rebranded themselves in the Elite Eight, as Katie Lou Samuelson found her groove at the three-point line (7-for-12). Samuelson and her partner in crime Napheesa Collier (10 points, 13 rebounds) both led a Huskies march in converting over 40 percent of their shots from the field.

As a whole, the game-changer was not only team threes (where UConn had the 53.8 percent to 18.2 percent advantage), but also free throws, where Louisville’s 11-for-17 performance bit them in the end.

While the Huskies tried to fend off a late surge from Asia Durr (21 points, 5 assists, 9 rebounds), the Cardinals, as a whole, fought a good fight. Throughout the game, Louisville found themselves in a 10-point rut, then tried digging themselves out of it by cutting UConn’s lead to only four.

Compared to the ball distribution on UConn’s side, only three Cardinals entered double figures in points. And despite being outscored in the first-half, 41-34, Louisville matched the Huskies’ 39 points in the second half.

With their 12th straight Final Four appearance upcoming, the Huskies will have a chance to recuperate before Tampa as they await the winner of tomorrow’s Notre Dame-Stanford contest.

NCAAW Tournament game information

Elite Eight

When: Sunday, March 31; Monday, April 1 (click for times)

Where: Albany, NY; Chicago, IL; Greensboro, NC; Portland, OR

How to watch: ESPN, ESPN2, WatchESPN

Final Four

When: Friday, April 5, at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. ET

Where: Amalie Arena, Tampa, FL

How to watch: ESPN2, WatchESPN

National Championship

When: Sunday, April 7, at 6 p.m. ET

Where: Amalie Arena, Tampa, FL

How to watch: ESPN, WatchESPN

More ways to watch the games

Want to watch in person? Elite Eight and Final Four tickets can be found on the websites of the hosting arenas, or here.