OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – No. 2 seed Tennessee was eliminated from the Women’s NCAA Tournament on Tuesday night, falling to fifth-seed Louisville in the Elite Eight, 86-78. Taber Spani dropped 20 points for the Lady Vols (27-8), but it was not enough to overcome 15 turnovers and a 24-point effort from Louisville’s Shoni Schimmel.
The Cardinals (28-8) started fast and took a 15-point advantage into the break, only trailing by one point in the early goings before taking control. Tennessee would pour in 52 points in the second half to rally, but the run fell short ultimately, as U of L knocked down 18 of its 21 free throw attempts and held off the Lady Vols’ charge.
Spani’s 20-point effort was the product of a 50 percent shooting night, while Kamiko Williams and Meighan Simmons added 12 points apiece for the Lady Vols. Bashaara Graves tacked on 11 points and 10 rebounds for UT, and Isabelle Harrison also contributed 11 points in the effort as well.
Schimmel was the star of the show for the Cards, but she received plenty of help. Jude Schimmel chipped in with 15 points, four rebounds and three assists off the bench, while Bria Smith added 13 points and 10 boards of her own. Sara Hammond scored 11 to go along with five rebounds, and Monique Reid knocked down three of her five shots en route to 12 points in the win.
Tennessee rounded out the game shooting just below 45 percent from the field, but the Lady Vols struggled to get anything going from 3-point range (20 percent on the night). Louisville shot 45 percent as a squad and knocked down eight 3-pointers as well, leading by as many as 20 points throughout the game before hanging on to win late.