Louisville both outshot and outrebounded Purdue, and the Cardinals turned their 38-32 edge on the boards into 24 second-chance points. They also got 33 points off Purdue's 22 turnovers.
Technically, Purdue was the home team as the higher seed wearing the home white uniforms. The Boilermakers even had some fans in the stands, not that it helped as they missed their first nine shots to open the game.
The Cardinals took full advantage of getting to play their first two NCAA tournament games on their own court for the first time in the program's history.
They had the lower bowl of the KFC Yum! Center nearly filled with Pitino sitting a couple rows away from the court and Cardinals center Gorgui Dieng in the end zone. Pitino, whose men play Friday in Indianapolis in the regional semifinals, even yelled at the officials after Louisville turned it over for the sixth time within the first 5 minutes.
The Boilermakers started so sluggishly that nothing was going down, not even when Houser rolled a layup over the rim after a steal by Courtney Moses in the opening minutes.
"When you're not knocking down your shots right away, you always try and find a way," Houser said. "We were just trying to do it too quickly and forcing things that just weren't there."
They finally got their first bucket when Taylor Manuel scored on a layup with 15:34 left, and her second straight layup tied it up at 4 with 15:09 to go. Sherrone Vails hit a free throw with 14:48 left and put them ahead to stay.
Another Manuel layup pulled Purdue within 18-16 with 6 minutes left, and that's when Louisville took control. Reid passed the ball out to Schimmel while on her stomach in the paint. Schimmel hit the 3 and then banked in another. Slaughter took her turn with a fast-break layup and her own 3. Hammond's two free throws put Louisville up 33-19 with 2:27 left.
Louisville led 38-23 as the Cardinals finished the half on a 20-7 run that had the fans on their feet celebrating.
"We played with them for 34 minutes," Versyp said. "The 6 minutes at the end of the first half was where they took over."
Ostarello hit consecutive buckets, the last pulling Purdue within 44-34 with 16:01 remaining. Hammond scored on a layup, hit a short jumper and even hit only her fourth 3-pointer all season with 10:49 left to push the lead back to 55-37.