-- LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- DePaul wasn't sure where it was going on the first possession of a second-round game against Louisville, confusion on the tip resulting in an over-and-back violation, but the Blue Demons know where they're going now. The Sweet 16 awaits after a 73-72 win.
The Blue Demons found their bearings and roared to another hot first half in the tournament, then held on for dear life against the Cardinals and most of a crowd of 7,515 in the KFC Yum! Center.
Louisville's Briahanna Jackson tied the game with 15 seconds left, but she was called for a foul on an inbounds play on the ensuing DePaul possession that sent DePaul's Jessica January to the line. January left the first free throw short but hit the second for a one-point lead.
Louisville's Myisha Hines-Allen was whistled for a charge with 1.7 seconds remaining and Mariya Moore missed a heave as time expired.
Some quick thoughts on an upset in Louisville.
Player of the game: Can you be the equivalent of Mr. October in March if your last name is January? She didn't have quite as many points as South Florida's Courtney Williams or Ohio State's Kelsey Mitchell in big performances over the weekend, but January's 25 points were every bit as important to her team's success.
How it was won: This is going to get complicated, so bear with the wonky analysis. Ready? DePaul made shots. All right, maybe it wasn't so complicated. But much like its first-round win against James Madison, DePaul shot its way to command of the game in the first half and didn't falter down the stretch. James Madison ranked in the top 20 in the country in field goal defense on the season, and Louisville would have been in similar territory had it played defense early in the season the way it did en route to a 15-1 record in the ACC. But DePaul shot 60 percent from the field in the first half against James Madison and 52 percent in the first half against Louisville.
It is difficult to play from behind against a team that never slows down. Louisville eventually pulled level in the second half, but it never got its nose back in front.
Turning point: Louisville never made an already small DePaul team pay for foul trouble on its few post resources. The first half was one long whistle interrupted by a few brief spurts of basketball, so it was a major gamble for DePaul to leave Megan Podkowa on the floor with two fouls early in the second quarter. The Blue Demons lost the bet when Podkowa was called for a charge with more than six minutes remaining before halftime. Yet Louisville never punished the foul trouble incurred by both Podkowa and Jacqui Grant, who contain most of DePaul's size.
X factor: Louisville gave coach Jeff Walz all of the effort he made clear he thought was lacking in the first round against Central Arkansas, but it was the scattered effort of youth. We've seen in this tournament that postseason experience isn't a prerequisite for success, but as much as the Cardinals appeared to grow up in the ACC, they looked young in the postseason.
Stat of the game: There were 40 fouls whistled, distributed almost evenly. It will be interesting to see what Walz, who was obviously livid with some of the late calls, has to say. But whether the fouls were right or wrong, they were distributed almost evenly. Louisville's inability to take advantage of its trips to the line (7-for-12 at the line) proved costly.
What's next: The action shifts to Dallas, where DePaul will play the winner of No. 2 Oregon State vs. No. 10 St. Bonaventure, which will be played Sunday night.