IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Sara Hammond led five players in double figures with 16 points and third-seeded Louisville rolled past Idaho 88-42 on Sunday in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.
Jude Schimmel had 14 points and Asia Taylor scored 13 for the Cardinals (31-4), who’ll face either Marist or host Iowa in the second round on Tuesday.
Louisville shook off a sluggish start with a 28-10 run late in the first half. The Cardinals then opened the second half with 23 points in eight minutes to push their lead to 63-30.
Ali Forde had 16 points for 14th-seeded Idaho (25-9), which was outrebounded 42-23.
Many were surprised to see Louisville be seeded as low as third. The Cardinals won 30 games for just the second time in school history, and three of their four losses were to unbeaten and top-ranked Connecticut.
Louisville certainly looked like a title contender against the overwhelmed Vandals.
Jude Schimmel converted a layup off a steal and her sister, Shoni Schimmel, hit a jumper that gave Louisville its first double-digit lead, 24-13, midway through the first half.
Jude then found a streaking Taylor for a bank shot and a 36-21 lead.
The Cardinals extended their edge to 40-21 by halftime — and it would have been bigger if Forde and Alyssa Charlston hadn’t hit 8 of their first 10 shots for Idaho.
Louisville opened the second half with baskets on their first three trips down the floor and cruised to its sixth straight opening-round win under coach Jeff Walz.
Antonita Slaughter scored 11 points and Shoni Schimmel had 10 points with 11 rebounds and for Louisville, which shot 71 percent in the second half.
The Vandals were back in the NCAA tournament for the second year in a row after winning both the regular season and conference tournament titles in the WAC.
Idaho even moved up two seeds from a year ago, when it was blasted by UConn 105-37.
But the Vandals haven’t beaten a team from a high major conference since 2004, and an optimistic start soon gave way to reality.
Louisville missed their first seven shots and was called for a pair of charges in the first four minutes. But Jude Schimmel buried a corner 3 to give Louisville its first lead, and the Cardinals never looked back.
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