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Sweet Sixteen recap: Louisville dominates turnover margin, bests Tennessee

The Louisville Cardinals took care of the ball and forced turnovers to build a lead and they held on in the end.

Louisville v Tennessee
Emily Engstler
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Hailey Van Lith and Emily Engstler scored 23 and 20 points, respectively, to lead the No. 1 seed Louisville Cardinals to a 76-64 Sweet Sixteen victory over the No. 4 seed Tennessee Lady Volunteers Saturday at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita Kan.

The Cardinals turned the ball over just seven times and forced 18 Lady Vol miscues.

Tennessee went on a little 4-0 run to go up 10 with 1:45 to play and led by at least eight the rest of the way. The run was comprised of a Kianna Smith floater and an Engstler offensive rebound turned layup.

Van Lith went 0-of-5 from deep, but still led the team in scoring and added six assists. Engstler was good for a team-high 10 rebounds and three blocks.

Missing leading scorer and rebounder Jordan Horston, the Lady Vols received 22 much-needed points from their purest scorer in Rae Burrell. But it wasn't enough.

An Alexus Dye 3-point play to open the fourth cut Tennessee’s deficit to two. However, Smith buried a triple that put Louisville back up seven 44 seconds later.

A deep three from Tess Darby followed by a steal turned fast break layup from Jordan Walker cut Tennessee’s deficit to 47-42 with 6:32 to go in the third. The rest of the third was back-and-forth. Darby hit another three to cut it to six at the 4:07 mark of the frame and Burrell scored the final five points of the period to cut it back to five. Burrell made a mid-range fadeaway bank shot at the 2:41 mark and a three that went off the back rim and in with six ticks remaining before the fourth.

Louisville struggle to pull away after leading 30-15 with 6:58 to go in the second quarter. Tennessee went on a 5-0 run to cut it to 10 and went into the half down just 11.

Down 6-4 early, Louisville went on a 23-7 run to build a 27-13 lead. The run began with back-to-back threes from Smith and Engstler, the latter of whom finished the game with a 3-of-3 effort from beyond the arc. The Cardinals continued to build their lead by forcing nine Tennessee turnovers and holding the Lady Vols to 28.6 percent shooting in the first half. Louisville only turned the ball over twice through two quarters.