CRAWFORD | Louisville women can't slay the giant again, Baylor r - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Louisville women can't slay the giant again, Baylor rolls 97-63 in NCAA

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Louisville's Asia Durr struggles to find open space in Friday's loss to Baylor. (AP photo) Louisville's Asia Durr struggles to find open space in Friday's loss to Baylor. (AP photo)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Sometimes, you slay the giant. Sometimes, the giant slays you. Jeff Walz has been a part of both. On Friday night in Oklahoma City, his University of Louisville women’s basketball team couldn’t stage a repeat performance of its iconic upset of Baylor in 2013.

Instead, the top-seeded Bears exploited their height advantage to pound Louisville from the opening tip, cruising to a 97-63 victory in the NCAA’s round of 16.

Baylor outscored Louisville 46-16 in the paint. It claimed a 52-36 edge in rebounding and outscored Louisville off the bench 34-15. Louisville turned it over just 12 times, but Baylor turned those into 21 points.

“They played well. Unfortunately, we did not. We did not put up a performance that even resembled anything that I had seen from our ballclub the last month,” Walz said. “You know, we knew coming into it that we were going to have to play very well and really do a lot of things in the post to try to give some post help. Unfortunately, we just did not respond very well.”

Baylor, which came into the game as a 12.5-point favorite, put five players into double figures, led by Nina Davis with 21 points on 10-15 shooting. The Bears shot 50 percent for the game (35-70) and went 21 of 26 from the free-throw line.

Louisville shot just 30 percent (21-70). Asia Durr led the Cards with 21 points, but was just 6-21 from the field. Myisha Hines-Allen added 12 points (on 5-16 shooting) and Mariya Moore had 10 (3-11 from the field).

The Cards trailed 25-9 at the end of the first quarter -- and weren’t helped in a sequence on when Baylor was awarded three free throws on a foul that apparently wasn’t in the act of shooting, then Walz got a technical arguing that point. Still, Louisville chipped away at the lead and trailed by only 10 late in the half, and by 12 at the half.

“We really didn't make any adjustments,” Walz said. “We just actually followed through with the game plan. We actually executed correctly and did the right things, which we struggled with. We knew coming into the game that we had to be on point. Then . . . we came up with some stops. We had some great rotations. Our effort was really good. Went into halftime feeling good. I really felt good about things. I'm like, Hey, it's a 12-point game, people. They had it at 18. We cut it down to 12.”

But they couldn’t cut it any further. Baylor scored the first five points of the half and never trailed by less than 13 the rest of the way.

Four years ago, when Louisville upset Baylor, Walz was able to game-plan around a couple of key performers for the Bears. While they don’t have anyone of the magnitude of Brittany Griner on the current roster, Walz said the Bears were deeper and better all around.

“I think they're deeper is what it is,” Walz said. “I don't see anybody on the team that's the caliber of Brittney Griner. I'm not sure there's going to be. I think she's a once-in-a-lifetime player to come through. Odyssey Sims was pretty darn good, too.”

The Cardinals return the bulk of a roster on a team that finished 29-8, including eight of their top nine scorers. Kylee Shook, Ciera Johnson and Sam Fuehring gave the Cardinals a boost late in the season, as did freshman Jazmine Jones.

“It's definitely not the way we wanted to end this season, in this fashion,” Walz said. “But I'm proud of the young women that I coach. They've worked their tails off. They've had a great season. We're looking forward to getting back in the gym and start working for next year.”

Hines-Allen said the sting of the loss, and its margin, will linger with the team into the offseason.

“It hurts a lot because we knew we could have played a lot better, and we didn't follow through with the game plan for the whole 40 minutes,” she said. “We didn't come up with stops when we needed to. You know, it just hurts a lot because we know we could have done a lot better than what we did.”

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