After holding the Lady Bears to an uncharacteristically anemic 25 points in the first half, Oregon State withstood a late Baylor run to earn the first Final Four appearance in school history and a date with perennial power Connecticut, who will be playing in their NINTH Final Four in a row.
If you want a stat to explain the result tonight, look no further than free throws, where Baylor went 6-14 for the game against Oregon State's 15-18. In a game you lose by 3, dropping nine points to your opponent at the line is more than costly; it's fatal. Add to that an extremely poor shooting performance, particularly in the first half, against an Oregon State team that had size inside that the Lady Bears just weren't accustomed to seeing, and you get a third-consecutive Elite Eight loss for Baylor.
With UConn likely to obliterate their way to a fourth title in a row, it's hard for me to get too upset about this result. I'm seeing a lot of people make the comparison to the Louisville game, but other than simply losing, I don't see it, mostly because that Griner-led team didn't have a UConn waiting for them in the next round. Regardless, it's always disappointing to lose, and it's even a little jarring for fans of the Lady Bears considering they don't do it all that much. Baylor had won 23 games in a row prior to tonight, when things just didn't get going until it was too late, and Mulkey had to burn her last timeout with about 3 minutes to go in the game.
Still, it was another Big 12 Championship season for the Lady Bears, and I want to congratulate them for putting it together. They'll be back next year, I'm sure!