OKLAHOMA CITY —
"It's a tough way to lose," 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."
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 up."
Unusually, Griner's teammates were unable to hit outside shots and relieve the pressure.
That wasn't a problem for the Cardinals, who scored 11 more points than anyone else against Baylor this season. They tied the NCAA tournament mark for 3-pointers reached by four other teams and made the most ever in the regional semifinals or beyond.
"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 Tuesday."
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 digits.