No. 16 Louisville 82, No. 1 Baylor 81

To take down Brittney Griner and seemingly invincible Baylor,

Louisville played a carefree offense, an unconventional defense and

got one fearless final play against one of women’s basketball’s

greatest players ever.

Monique Reid made two free throws after getting fouled by Griner

on a desperation drive with 2.6 seconds left, lifting the

fifth-seeded Cardinals to an 82-81 victory and one of the biggest

upsets in the history of the tournament.

”It’s an amazing feeling,” said Reid, a 69 percent foul

shooter. ”It was great that I could actually hit those clutch free

throws. I just wanted to get on top of a building and scream!”

Considered a lock for the Final Four – and prohibitive favorites

to win a second straight championship – Griner and her Lady Bears

(34-2) had won 32 straight games – and 74 of 75, including last

season’s unprecedented 40-0 run to the championship.

But the 6-foot-8 star didn’t make a basket until the second

half, then committed the foul that gave Louisville a chance to


”I saw Griner coming at me and I was like, `I’m going to have

to get past her.’ I tried to make the layup and she took my head

off,” Reid said.

Louisville will play Tennessee in the regional final on Tuesday

night for a berth in the Final Four. The Cardinals are trying to

get back for the first time since losing in the 2009 title


Odyssey Sims scored 29 points, including two free throws with

9.1 seconds to go that gave Baylor its only lead at 81-80. Sims had

one more chance to save the season, but she was off-target and late

on a desperation heave.

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 a stunning end of a remarkable college career for Griner,

the second-highest scoring player in NCAA history. She also holds

the career records for blocks and dunks.

”I’m just sad,” Griner said. ”I didn’t do what I needed to do

to get my team to the Elite Eight and just disappointment in


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,

using a zone defense Louisville coach Jeff Walz called the ”claw

and one.”

He put one player in front of Griner and another behind her, and

often another one in the vicinity.

”I think I could smell what toothpaste she used,” Antonita

Slaughter said. ”I was in her face the whole time with my hands


Unusually, Griner’s teammates were unable to hit outside shots

and relieve the pressure.

Before the game, Lady Bears coach Kim Mulkey had said she didn’t

know what defense the Cardinals run and even Louisville’s players

admitted to being confused often.

”Most of the time we just scramble and it works out for us,”

Slaughter said.

The Cardinals went 16 for 25 from 3-point range, tying the NCAA

tournament mark for 3-pointers reached by four other teams and

making the most ever in the regional semifinals or beyond.

Louisville had been shooting just 31 percent on 3-pointers.

Slaughter hit seven 3-pointers for 21 points and Shoni Schimmel had

five 3s and 22 points as the Cardinals scored 11 more points than

any other Baylor opponent this season.

”Our goal was to score, score and score. I told our kids if we

had to take 40 to 50 3s we would,” Walz said. ”I don’t know if we

could go out there right now 5-on-0 and go 16 of 25, but we did it

in the biggest game of the year for us and now we’re going to

hopefully keep our momentum going and see what we can do on


The win made it quite a day for the school – hours earlier, the

men’s team from Louisville beat Duke 85-63 to reach the Final Four.

Walz spoke to the team before the game about the gruesome leg

injury suffered by Kevin Ware in the men’s game, telling them that

basketball is still a game.

Afterward, Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant joined the

team’s celebration.

”I told our kids in the locker room before the game, we’ve got

to turn this thing into a street ball game. You’ve got to drive and

kick for 3s and try to make it fun. There was no pressure on us,”

Walz said.

”We came out and did that, and I’m honored to coach this group

of young ladies.”

The Lady Bears had been practically invincible for the past four

months since losing to Stanford on Nov. 16. Baylor, which went 40-0

last season, had won the next 32 straight games mostly by double


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 Odds on Louisville to win outright

were 75-1, paying $7,500 on a $100 wager, Bell said.

Instead, Louisville led by as much as 19 and was up 74-57 with

7:42 to play.

It was Sims who eventually led Baylor’s attempted comeback,

after the Cardinals’ run 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


Sims hit the resulting free throws and then a runner to get the

Lady Bears within 78-76 with 1:49 to play.

She then answered Megan Deines’ layup off a baseline inbounds

play 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.

”It’s a tough way to lose,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said.

”It’s hard to lose when it’s your last game, but it’s even harder

the way that game ended. Makes it a little tougher.”

Mulkey criticized the game officials, saying she didn’t care if

she got fined, even after Louisville was called for 23 fouls

compared to 14 for the Lady Bears.

The Cardinals also had three starters foul out. Griner said she

thought she got all ball on Reid’s final drive.

”I thought the game started out way too physical, way too

physical,” Mulkey said. ”I thought that all three of them, if

they go past this round of officiating, it will be sad for the


Walz had his own complaints, saying he was dumbfounded at the

fifth foul calls that disqualified two of his starters. In all,

three Cardinals fouled out.

”I was just thankful on that last drive when Monique Reid went

in for the layup,” Walz said. ”It was a late whistle, but I was

sure glad he called it because she got clobbered.”