Louisville Outlasts Michigan to Clinch Final Four Berth

The Cardinals are heading to the Final Four for the fourth time in program history.

116 days after defeating Michigan 70-48 early in the regular season, the Louisville women's basketball program had a much closer battle in store for their NCAA Tournament rematch, but still came out with a 62-50 win Monday night to punch their ticket to the Final Four.

The top-seeded Cardinals (29-4, 16-2 ACC) clinch their fourth Final Four appearance in program history, and their first since 2018. No. 1 overall South Carolina now awaits Louisville, with tip-off from the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minn. set for Friday, Apr. 1 at either 7:00 p.m. or 9:30 p.m. No. 1 Stanford and No. 2 UConn make up the other side of the Final Four.

With the Louisville clinging to a two-point lead with under three minutes to go, Olivia Cochran drained two layups and drew a charge in three consecutive plays, while also adding a jumper a few plays later. A pair of free throws from both Hailey Van Lith and Emily Engstler would ice the game.

Van Lith finished with a game-high 22 points, becoming the first Louisville player with four straight 20-point NCAA Tournament games. Chelsie Hall poured in a season-high 15 points, with Kianna Smith adding 11. Emily Engstler had just five points, but contributed with 16 rebounds and six steals.

Michigan All-American Naz Hilmon was the Wolverines' only double-digit scorer, finishing with an 18 point/11 rebound double-double.

The Cardinals had numerous opportunities to go on a run and land the knockout punch, but struggled to put away the Wolverines. They held Michigan to 34.8 percent from the field and forced 22 turnovers that led to 24 points, but allowed them to go 15-20 at the free throw line. Louisville only shot five free throws prior to the final minute of the game, going 7-9 overall, while also shooting 43.1 percent overall.

Louisville didn't get out to an overbearing lead early in the first half, but the momentum was in their favor to open the game. The Cardinals connected on nine of their first 17 shot attempts, while the Wolverines missed their first eight. Michigan might have committed 11 turnovers in the first half alone, but it was them who seized momentum at the break.

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