Breast Cancer Awareness
|
|
|
MailTribune.com
  • Cards stun Griner, No. 1 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.
    • email print
  • 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 hit two free throws with 2.6 seconds left to lift the fifth-seeded Cardinals over the defending national champions 82-81, ending Griner's incredible career.
    The Cardinals hit 16 3-pointers, matching the NCAA record, to pull off the shocking victory.
    Odyssey Sims scored 29 points and hit a pair of free throws with 9.1 seconds left to give the Lady Bears (34-2) their only lead of the game.
    Reid caught an inbounds pass near the baseline after that and went coast to coast 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.
    The Lady Bears had been practically invincible for the past four months, winning 32 straight games mostly by double digits.
    Louisville (27-8) tied an NCAA record with 16 3-pointers to pull off the upset.
    "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 ball game."
    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.
    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.
    Louisville surrounded Griner as she has been most of her career, and her teammates were unusually unable to hit outside shots and relieve the pressure.
    It was Sims who eventually led Baylor's attempted comeback from a 17-point deficit in the final 71/2; minutes, after Louisville's barrage of 3-pointers finally came to an end.
    Sims hit a pair of free throws and then got a steal in the backcourt for a layup that got Baylor back within a dozen, and the Lady Bears put together a 19-4 run to get within striking distance in the final 2 minutes.
    Walz was called for a technical foul for arguing after he watched a scoreboard replay of an offensive foul whistled against Bria Smith, with a Baylor defender sliding under her after she took off.
    Sims hit the resulting free throws and then a runner to get the Lady Bears within 78-76 with 1:49 to play.
    After a Megan Deines layup off a baseline inbounds play, Sims answered with a 3-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 own basket, Griner picked it up and passed it to Sims.
    The Lady Bears still couldn't close it out.
    Antonita Slaughter hit seven 3-pointers for 21 points and Shoni Schimmel had five 3s.
    As a team, Louisville was 16 for 25 to tie the NCAA tournament mark reached by four other teams and make the most ever in the regional semifinals or beyond.
    Three Cardinals starters fouled out, starting with Shoni Schimmel with 4:21 left, with a 23-14 foul disparity in the game. "These kids followed the game plan to perfection. I gotta give all the credit to them," Walz said. "They believe in what we do as a coaching staff."
    Notre Dame 93, Kansas 63
    At Norfolk, Va., Skylar Diggins was already having such a great day, her coach figured she might as well make it historic.
    The Notre Dame point guard scored 22 of her 27 points by halftime and became the school's career scoring leader, leading the top-seeded Fighting Irish to a victory against Kansas in the semifinals of the Norfolk Regional.
    Notre Dame will play No. 2 seed Duke on Tuesday for a berth in the Final Four.
    Coach Muffet McGraw had forgotten all about Diggins' pursuit of the school scoring mark until the game was well in hand. When she asked, she was told the senior was just two points away from passing assistant coach Beth Cunningham.
    "I told her, 'You're coming out in 30 seconds. You might as well get one more,'" McGraw said she told Diggins.
    Moments later, with 7:48 to play, the lefthander in her trademark white headband swished a 12-foot jumper.
    "Coach told me to score two more. I didn't really know why, but I was like, 'OK,'" Diggins said.
    It was that kind of the day for Diggins, who heard talk beforehand that the Norfolk Regional was full of great point guards, and quickly showed she might not have a peer, especially at this time of year with the stakes so high.
    "We play in games that are so much like Sweet 16 or Elite Eight kind of caliber games in our conference," she said. "That helps all of us."
    So does having a leader that makes it all look so easy. Diggins added nine assists and three steals, scored nine straight during a 16-2 first-half run that put the Irish (34-1) ahead to stay, and six more to cap a 10-2 run into halftime.
    Duke 53, Nebraska 45
    At Norfolk, Va., Tricia Liston scored 17 points and Duke shook off a slow start to beat Nebraska in the semifinals of the Norfolk Regional of the women's NCAA tournament.
    Alexis Jones added 14 points for the Blue Devils (33-2), who also struggled last weekend at home. They advanced to Tuesday night's game against top-seeded Notre Dame with a berth in the Final Four on the line.
    The Cornhuskers (25-9), in the round of 16 for just the second time in school history, struggled from the field.
    Tennessee Oklahoma 59
    At Oklahoma City, Kamiko Williams scored 15 points, Cierre Burdick had 13 and second-seeded Tennessee routed Oklahoma in the regional semifinals of the NCAA women's tournament.
    The Lady 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 either top-ranked Baylor or No. 5 seed Louisville on Tuesday night in the round of eight. The Lady Vols have lost in the regional finals the past two seasons and haven't made it to the Final Four since winning the national title in 2008.
    Tennessee also went through an Oklahoma City regional on its way to the championship that season, with Candace Parker leading the way. Sharane Campbell scored 22 points and Joanna McFarland had 14 for No. 6 seed Oklahoma (24-11).
Reader Reaction

      calendar