Oklahoma City, OK – Monique Reid knocked down a pair of free throws with 2.6 seconds remaining as the Louisville Cardinals upset the Baylor Lady Bears, 82-81, in the regional semifinals at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
A very physical game from the start, Shoni Schimmel led the way for the fifth- seeded Cardinals (27-8) with 22 points before fouling out. Antonita Slaughter set a personal best with seven 3-pointers as she finished with 21 points, while Bria Smith chipped in with 13 points and seven rebounds.
Odyssey Sims led the way for the top-seeded Lady Bears (34-2) with 29 points, adding 10 rebounds, six steals and five assists, but she also turned the ball over five times and was beaten on a crucial hustle play late in the contest. All-American Brittney Griner finished with just 14 points, 10 rebounds and a pair of blocks as she got off only 10 field goal attempts in the outing. Jordan Madden and Brooklyn Pope accounted for 14 and 10 points, respectively, for Baylor which was the defending national champion after posting an unblemished 40-0 record in 2011-12.
Louisville led by as many as 14 points late in the first half. Griner, who was consistently being double and triple teamed in the paint through the first 20 minutes of action, finished the period without making a single field goal as she and the Bears fell behind at the break by double digits, 39-29.
Griner didn't make her first field goal of the contest until the 15:19 mark of the second half as her conversion cut Baylor's deficit 51-37. Griner had missed her first six field-goal attempts in the meeting.
The Cardinals stormed out in the second half by making their first seven field goals from behind the 3-point line. Louisville led by 19 points eight minutes into the second, the largest deficit for the Bears all season. Baylor, though, refused to go away quietly and whittled down the deficit to single digits and eventually claimed the first lead of the night, 80-79, on a pair of free throws by Sims with 9.1 seconds left in regulation.
Reid raced the ball down the floor on the following inbounds play and straight to the rim and while she had her layup blocked by Griner, Baylor's pivot was called for the foul which sent Reid to the line where she put the Cardinals up by a point after knocking down both free throws.
Sims had a chance to return the favor in the waning moments, but her desperation shot from long range missed the mark and came after the buzzer.
Louisville was beaten on the glass, 43-31, and also turned the ball over 21 times, but at the same time outscored Baylor on the perimeter by a 48-18 margin.
With the victory, the Cardinals set an NCAA Tournament record with 16 3- pointers and advanced to the Elite Eight where they will clash with the second-seeded Tennessee Volunteers, who crushed Oklahoma earlier on Sunday.
Baylor entered the contest having won 32 consecutive games, the longest streak in the nation. The last setback for the program was a 71-69 decision versus Stanford on Nov. 16 during the Rainbow Wahine Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Griner entered the weekend ranked second all-time in Division I women's scoring with 3,269 points, trailing only Jackie Stiles who generated 3,393 points during her playing days at Missouri State (1997-2001).
The Cardinals won the only previous meeting between the teams, which happened to take place during the 2009 NCAA Tournament, as Louisville posted a 56-39 victory in the Raleigh Regional.