CRAWFORD | UK women edge Baylor 133-130 in 4 OT classic
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It was supposed to be a preliminary matchup for the University of Kentucky men's meeting against Baylor, but the UK women took center stage Friday night at AT&T Stadium in Dallas -- and wouldn't give it up.
The No. 4-ranked Wildcats fought through four overtimes before finally putting away No. 9 Baylor 133-130 in the highest-scoring game in NCAA history.
That wasn't the only record that fell during the marathon. UK's 133 points set a school record for points in a game. The Wildcats shot a school-record 66 free throws and made a school-record 49.
And junior Jennifer O'Neill set a school record with 43 points -- off the bench -- breaking Valerie Still's record of 42 vs. Charleston on Dec. 19, 1982.
"I'm so elated for our players," UK coach Matthew Mitchell told ESPN after the game. "I messed around and got a technical foul (in regulation) and was really worried I'd cost us the game. (Baylor's) Odyssey Sims is incredible. The only way to stop her was to get her out of the game."
Sims led all scorers with 47 points but fouled out with 1:23 left in the first overtime. She was the first of seven Baylor players to foul out, and the Bears eventually ran out of answers.
But it took a while. As the men waited to begin their game, UK and Baylor wouldn't relinquish the stage.
And now, after falling to eventual national champion Connecticut in last season's NCAA Tournament, UK appears more poised to compete with the best teams in women's basketball. Between guard play and size, the Wildcats have what appears to be their most complete team under Mitchell, at 9-0 with victories over Louisville and Baylor in a five-day stretch.
O'Neill's layup with 1:42 left in the fourth OT finally put Kentucky ahead for good. She missed the second of two free throws with a two-point lead with 6 seconds left but teammate Bria Goss grabbed the rebound.
"I don't feel anything right now," O'Neill said. "I thought it was more overtimes to be honest."
"I don't think that they have a meter that could measure my happiness when (Sims) got out of the game," said Mitchell, whose team got a congratulatory visit in the locker room from men's coach John Calipari. "We just couldn't stop her."
The teams combined for 80 fouls, 47 by the Lady Bears. The Wildcats were 49 of 66 on free throws, and Baylor was 33 of 46 from the line in just its third loss since the 2011 NCAA tournament. The Lady Bears have 81 wins in that span.
Copyright 2013 WDRB News. The Associated Press contributed to this story.