Louisville shot its way to one of the biggest upsets in the history of the women's NCAA tournament, stunning Brittney Griner and Baylor...
OKLAHOMA CITY — Louisville shot its way to one of the biggest upsets in the history of the women’s NCAA tournament, stunning Brittney Griner and Baylor on Sunday night.
Shoni Schimmel scored 22 points and Monique Reid made two free throws with 2.6 seconds left to lift fifth-seeded Cardinals over the defending national champions 82-81, ending Griner’s incredible career.
The Cardinals made 16 three-pointers, matching the NCAA record, to pull off the shocking victory.
Odyssey Sims scored 29 points and made a pair of free throws with 9.1 seconds left to give the Bears (34-2) their only lead of the game.
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Reid caught an inbounds pass near the baseline after that and went the length of the court before getting fouled by Griner on her way to the basket.
Sims had one last chance to save Baylor’s season after Reid’s free throws but was off-target and late on a desperation heave.
“I told our kids we’re going to come out and fire it up. We got nothing to lose,” Louisville coach Jeff Walz said. “Our goal was to make this a street ballgame.”
Sims dropped to the floor after her miss, pulling her jersey over her face and kicking her legs as she lay flat on her back.
Griner squatted near her and slapped the floor with both hands before pulling Sims up to her feet.
It was the end of a remarkable college career for Griner, a record-setting 6-foot-8 post player who ended up as the second-highest scoring player in NCAA history. She also holds the career records for blocks (748) and dunks (18).
“I’m just sad,” Griner said. “I didn’t do what I needed to do to get my team to the Elite 8 and just disappointment in myself.”
Griner, who had averaged 33 points in Baylor’s first two games in the tournament, didn’t make a basket until she converted a putback with 15:20 left in the second half. She wound up with 14 points and 10 rebounds, making only four of her 10 shots and being a relative non-factor for her considerable stature.
The Bears had been practically invincible for the past four months, winning 32 straight games mostly by double digits.
It’s no surprise that the Louisville women were a 24-point underdog to Baylor in Las Vegas casinos, according to gambling expert R.J. Bell of Pregame.com. Odds on Louisville to win outright were 75-1, paying $7,500 on a $100 wager, Bell said.
It was Sims who eventually led Baylor’s attempted comeback from a 17-point deficit in the final 7 ½ minutes, after Louisville’s barrage of three-pointers finally came to an end.
Sims hit two free throws and then a runner to get the Bears to 78-76 with 1:49 to play.
After a Megan Deines layup off a baseline inbounds play for Louisville, Sims answered with a three-pointer to cut it to one with 35.8 seconds left. She then hit two free throws to put Baylor ahead after Jude Schimmel fumbled an inbounds pass under her basket. Griner picked it up and passed it to Sims.
But the Bears still couldn’t close it out.
Tennessee 74, Oklahoma 59
OKLAHOMA CITY — Kamiko Williams scored 15, Cierre Burdick had 13 and second-seeded Tennessee routed Oklahoma.
The Vols (27-7) opened a 20-point lead in the first half and never let Oklahoma make a comeback, improving to 26-5 in regional semifinals.
Tennessee will face Louisville on Tuesday night in the round of eight. The Vols have lost in the regional finals the past two seasons and haven’t made it to the Final Four since winning the title in 2008.
Sharane Campbell scored 22 for No. 6 seed Oklahoma (24-11), which got an upset to make it to the round of 16, but couldn’t capitalize on a friendly home environment in the Oklahoma City regional.
McFarland also matched her career best with 16 rebounds.