SAN ANTONIO (CBS/AP) — The Northwestern women tried to follow up Wednesday night on their first NCAA Tournament win since 1993, but they ultimately didn’t make it — falling 62-53 to Louisville as their run ended.

The Wildcats were up 25-7 in the first quarter had been up 40-28 even by midway through the third quarter, before the Louisville Cardinals scored 17 straight points. The game was tied at 40 heading into the fourth, and Louisville increased its first lead to 45-40 before Lindsay Pulliam — Northwestern’s third-ever 2,000-point scorer — got her only basket of the game.

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The Wildcats (16-9) closed to 53-50 on Jordan Hamilton’s 3-pointer with 3:26 left. They had a chance to cut into the deficit, but Veronica Burton missed two free throws 30 seconds later.

Louisville converted nine of 10 free throws down the stretch, including four by freshman Olivia Cochran, who had 13 points and 15 rebounds.

Northwestern blitzed Louisville right from the start, scoring the game’s first seven points and opening a 13-2 lead, leading to a timeout by the Cardinals. It didn’t get much better, with the Wildcats going 4 for 4 from 3-point range on their way to a 25-10 lead after one quarter.

The Wildcats cooled off in the second quarter and didn’t score a point for the first 5:22 of the period. A fast-break layup by Courtney Shaw ended the drought and sparked a 7-0 run for Northwestern — the only points the team would score in the period. Louisville closed to 32-20 at the half.

The loss potentially ended the brilliant career of Pulliam. The senior guard was 1 for 11 from the field for just four points.

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Hamilton scored 17 points for Northwestern.

“Last year we had a great team, maybe a Final Four team, that never got a chance to prove it,” Northwestern coach Joe McKeown said. “So tonight I think they proved how much fight we have and how tough we are and what a great team to be part of.”

TIP-INS

Northwestern fell to 0-3 all-time against Louisville, with the other two meetings coming in 1987 and 1994. … McKeown took George Washington to four Sweet 16s when he was coach there before coming to the Illinois school.

UP NEXT

Louisville will face Oregon in the Sweet 16.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

CBS 2 Chicago Staff