OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — From the opening tip of the season, there was only one question in women’s college basketball: How do you stop Brittney Griner?
Louisville found the answer Sunday night, pulling off one of the biggest upsets in the history of the tournament.
Considered a lock for the Final Four — and prohibitive favorites to win a second straight championship — Griner and her Lady Bears got bounced 82-81 by fifth-seeded Louisville in an NCAA regional semifinal.
“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 myself.”
Baylor (34-2) had won 32 straight games and 74 of 75 behind Griner, among the greatest players ever in her sport. But the 6-foot-8 star didn’t make a basket until the second half, then committed a foul with 2.6 seconds left that gave Louisville a chance to win.
Louisville will play Tennessee in the regional final on Tuesday for a berth in the Final Four.
Odyssey Sims scored 29 points, including two free throws with 9.1 seconds to go that put Baylor ahead 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.
“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.”
Monique Reid made those two foul shots, rescuing the Cardinals (27-8) after they squandered a 17-point lead in the last 7½ minutes.
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.
Reid and the Cardinals will play Tennessee in the regional final on Tuesday for a berth in the Final Four.
TENNESSEE 74, OKLAHOMA 59
DUKE 53, NEBRASKA 45
NOTRE DAME 93, KANSAS 63