IOWA CITY -- Win or go home?
For the Louisville Cardinals, it was win AND go home.
Fourth-ranked Louisville held Iowa to a mere one 3-pointer and handed the 25th-rated Hawkeyes their worst loss in more than five years, 83-53, in Tuesday's second-round NCAA women's basketball tournament game in front of 4,320 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Regardless of what Cardinals Coach Jeff Walz said in the press conference afterward, it was his off-air comment to the Louisville radio crew that spoke loudest:
"We guarded the ---- out of them," he said.
They sure did. And the result was the Hawkeyes' most decisive defeat since a 76-43 loss to California on Nov. 29, 2009.
Last year's national runner-up, Louisville (32-4) is rewarded with the opportunity for further advancement at home.
The Cardinals will face LSU (21-12) in a regional semifinal Sunday at the KFC YUM! Center in Louisville.
LSU upset No. 7 West Virginia, 76-67, Tuesday.
Iowa didn't lead all night and retired at 27-9. It was the Hawkeyes' most wins under Coach Lisa Bluder and matched the second winningest campaign in school history.
But it ended in bitter, ugly fashion.
"It's something we'll think about for a long time," Bluder said. "Their defense took us out of the game."
Louisville shot to a 7-2 lead, then Iowa got even at 7-7, 9-9 and 11-11.
But the Hawkeyes managed just one point in a span 7 minutes, 14 seconds, and that allowed the Cardinals to gain the separation they wouldn't surrender.
"We knew they were going to pressure us with traps and a lot of different defenses," said Iowa point guard Samantha Logic, who managed just three assists against nine turnovers. "We really didn't execute."
Shoni Schimmel scored eight of her game-high 26 points (she also posted seven assists and five steals) in a 12-1 run as Louisville assumed control at 23-12. And Iowa was unable to answer.
The shots weren't falling, and the Cardinals were just too good.
Iowa shot 33 percent, including an ugly 1-of-16 from 3-point range.
Our whole game plan defensively was to try to keep the ball out of Logic's hands as much as we possibly could," Walz said. “I thought we made her work the entire night."
It was 40-23 at halftime, and it just got worse from there for the Hawkeyes, who fell well short of their goal of a first Sweet Sixteen since 1996.
"We went into the halftime feeling good. All the momentum was in our favor," Schimmel said. "For us to continue that and keep going ... we did a great job of it. We just took advantage of what we could do."
The margin grew as large as 38 at 74-36 with 5:42 to go.
Five Cardinals reached double figures. Antonita Slaughter added 17 points.
The defeat marked the end of the career of Iowa's Theairra Taylor, the Hawkeyes' lone senior. Taylor overcame three torn ACLs -- one in high school, two at Iowa -- to notch a productive collegiate career. She averaged 12.4 points per game as a senior, including a career-high 22 in a first-round win over Marist.
She had 10 points Tuesday.
"I didn't go out the way I wanted, but (my career) is something I will remember as a wonderful journey," Taylor said.
Ally Disterhoft scored 15 points before fouling out. The hometown girl finished her freshman season with 474 points, second only by a rookie to Jaime Printy (501, 2009-10). She scored in double figures in 16 of 17 games after joining the starting lineup.
LOUISVILLE 83, IOWA 53
NCAA Second Round, at Iowa City
IOWA (53): Ally Disterhoft 5-10 5-7 15, Bethany Doolittle 3-9 3-4 9, Melissa Dixon 1-9 2-2 5, Samantha Logic 6-11 0-3 12, Theairra Taylor 4-11 2-2 10, Alexa Kastanek 0-2 0-0 0, Claire Till 0-4 0-0 0, Kali Peschel 0-1 2-2 2, Kathryn Reynolds 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-57 14-20 53.
LOUISVILLE (83): Sara Hammond 0-1 0-0 0, Asia Tayloe 5-6 0-0 10, Antonita Slaughter 6-9 0-0 17, Bria Smith 1-2 4-4 6, Shoni Shimmel 8-17 8-8 26, Starr Breedlove 0-0 2-2 2, Cortnee Walton 0-1 0-2 0, Megan Deines 0-0 0-0 0, Jude Schimmel 3-7 2-3 10, Tia Gibbs 3-4 4-4 10, Emmonni Henderson 0-2 2-2 2. Totals 26-49 22-25 83.
Halftime: Louisville 40, Iowa 23. 3-point goals: Iowa 1-16 (Disterhoft 0-1, Dixon 1-8, Logic 0-2, T.Taylor 0-3, Till 0-2, Peschel 0-1), Louisville 9-19 (Hammond 0-1, Slaughter 5-6, S.Schimmel 2-7, J.Schimmel 2-4, Gibbs 0-1). Team fouls: Iowa 23, Louisville 26. Fouled out: Disterhoft, Doolittle. Rebounds: Iowa 31 (Disterhoft 8), Louisville 36 (Gibbs 8). Assists: Iowa 7 (Logic 3), Louisville 14 (S.Schimmel 7). Steals: Iowa 7 (Logic 5), Louisville 11 (S.Schimmel 5). Turnovers: Iowa 19, Louisville 19.Attendance: 4,320.