No. 4-seed Texas falls to No. 5-seed Louisville 73-51 in second round of NCAA tournament

Lindsey Plotkin, General Sports Reporter

No. 4-seed Texas women’s basketball took the court in the Moody Center one final time this season against No. 5-seed Louisville in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. After its first round win,  Texas failed to continue its momentum against Louisville, falling 73-51. 

Head coach Vic Schaefer was apologetic in defeat, taking accountability for the team’s loss. 

“It’s my responsibility to make sure that we play a lot better than that,” Schaefer said. “We did not play today the way that I felt like we were ready to play, and it’s nobody’s fault but my own.”

The Longhorns drew a sizable crowd but were unable to use the home court advantage. Louisville’s lockdown defense held Texas to just over 34% shooting from the field. Fifty one points is the lowest Texas has scored all season. 

Texas was unable to find any offensive spark, and junior forward DeYona Gaston led the Longhorns with 12 points. 

Sophomore guard Rori Harmon and freshman guard Ndjakalenga Mwenentanda were the only other Longhorns to score in double figures, with 10 points each. 

“It looked like I had a surge, but really I just listened to Coach (Schaefer) and my other players,” Mwenentanda said. “I’m not taking anything for granted because you never know when your time is and when you need to fight.” 

Harmon also dished out three assists, grabbed nine rebounds and three steals before leaving the game with an injury with about three minutes left on the clock. Harmon, one of the best sophomore point guards in Texas’ history, was helped off the court to “Rori” chants from the crowd. 

“The game plan was to be the aggressor, and we knew that (Louisville) was going to be the most aggressive team we played this whole season,” Harmon said. “It was going to be a battle, and they battled a lot harder than us.” 

Other than Gaston, Texas’ bigs struggled on offense, with junior forward Taylor Jones being held to just six points. Junior center Khadija Faye was held scoreless and only saw seven minutes of playing time after picking up four fouls early in the second half. 

Texas’ defense was unable to contain the Cardinals offense, which was led by star point guard Hailey Van Lith. The First Team All-ACC honoree averages over 19 points per game. Van Lith finished the game with 21 points and shot over 50%, leading Louisville and all scorers. 

Texas’ unusually weak defense was no match for Van Lith and the Cardinals, who shot over 46% from the field. 

“You use (the loss) as fuel, and you learn from it,” junior guard Shay Holle said. “You look in the mirror and see what you and the team could have done in this game and the entire season leading up to this, and that starts tomorrow.” 

With the loss, Texas finishes 26–10 on the season.