We were all witnesses tonight to one of the biggest upsets in WBB history, but if I told you before the game how Louisville would play, you'd understand how it came together. They hit 3 after 3 after 3 and pounded Griner defensively, keeping her from getting anything going on the other end. There is no answer for a team that shoots that well. There's nothing you can do to stop somebody hitting circus shots all over the floor.
But that doesn't really tell the entire story because Baylor actually came back. Once the refs started calling the fouls that had been happening throughout, the Lady Bears started chipping away. A double technical on Odyssey Sims and Shoni Schimmel precipitated the latter's fouling out of the game, and Baylor seized the momentum thereafter. It took an absolutely awful charge call with 16.2 seconds remaining to stop the Lady Bears from taking the game outright, a call that should and will go down in Baylor lore alongside the foul on Acy in the closing seconds against Duke in 2010 and the phantom foul in the women's tournament against Tennessee in 2008.
I had to turn off the coverage on ESPN after the game because the narrative was driving me crazy. It's not a "masterful gameplan" when it takes hitting 16/25 threes to win the game. Nobody can plan to hit 64% of their shots, and if you do, you're stupid. You can't tell me that Louisville's coach could have predicted how they would call the game in the first half, when Louisville built a huge lead on the back of beating the hell out of Brittney Griner. I understand ESPN wants to give credit where credit is due when one team beats another, but tell the truth. You have an obligation to present things how they are, not how you want people to believe them to be.
Overall, I hate this ending for the Lady Bears, I really do. With everything looking primed for a run to another national championship, they came across a buzzsaw of a team that hit every shot, built a huge lead, and then hung on with the help of the refs to steal a victory. Credit to Baylor for kicking into gear and coming back into the game, and credit to Louisville for not collapsing when the Lady Bear juggernaut came roaring back, but the story of this game is and should be the charge call with seconds remaining that changed everything.
The worst part of all this is that the Brittney Griner era at Baylor is over on such a sour note. In her last game, the greatest WBB player of all time went out with what was basically a whimper, pushed around in the first half without the benefit of any help from the refs (seriously, it was a travesty) and then marginalized in the second by the pace and style of the game. When Baylor came back, it wasn't Griner leading them, it was Sims. That may be something good to point to for next season, but it's not how The Greatest should go down. She let Louisville's physicality change her.
With the season ending 3 games earlier than we expected, Baylor's basketball fans now turn to the Men's Basketball team for our only hope of redemption. It's a slim hope, obviously, because even a men's NIT sucks compared to a National Championship for the ladies, but it's basically all we've got.