OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Baylor gave Louisville no shot at an upset this time.
Nina Davis scored 21 points to help top-seeded Baylor defeat Louisville 97-63 on Friday and advance to the Elite Eight.
The Lady Bears were a No. 1 seed in 2013 when they lost to Louisville in the Sweet 16 in Oklahoma City. This time, Baylor never trailed, and the game was tied for just 13 seconds — when it was scoreless. The Lady Bears led 25-9 at the end of the first quarter.
“We got off to a quick start, which is something we needed to do, something that we were focusing on,” Davis said. “We were just getting out running. Everyone was running out on fast breaks. They were feeding me the ball and that’s the kind of game we like to play. We like to push the ball and play up-tempo.”
Beatrice Mompremier and Alexis Prince each scored 14 points for Baylor (33-3), which advanced to play Mississippi State on Sunday for a spot in the Final Four. The Bulldogs defeated Washington 75-64 in the early game Friday night.
Asia Durr scored 21 points for Louisville (29-8), but she made just 6 of 21 shots.
“Starting off in the first quarter, I mean, I started off too hyped,” Durr said. “As the game went on, I calmed down. We started to get a few stops here and there, but we didn’t shoot the ball too well.”
Louisville shot 30 percent.
“They played well and unfortunately we did not,” Louisville coach Jeff Walz said. “We did not put up a performance that resembled anything I’d seen from our ballclub in the last month.”
The Lady Bears led by 18 at one point in the first half and were up 43-31 at the break. Baylor continued to roll and led 72-45 at the end of the third quarter.
“Guys, we’re on a roll,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey told the media. “We’re playing good basketball.”
Louisville: It was the fifth Sweet 16 in the past seven years for the Cardinals. It wasn’t an ideal way for the season to end, but they have just one senior starter. Durr, the team’s top scorer for the season, is a sophomore. The No. 2 scorer, Myisha Hines-Allen, is a junior, and so is No. 3 scorer Mariya Moore.
“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,” Hines-Allen said. “We didn’t come up with stops when we needed to.”
Baylor: The Lady Bears once again will face the pressure of high expectations, and they are at a stage where they have had some problems in the past. In addition to the loss to Louisville in 2013, they were a No. 1 seed in 2011 and lost in the Elite Eight, and were a top seed again last year when they lost to Oregon State in the Elite Eight.
Baylor is averaging 100.7 points in three NCAA Tournament games. The Bears opened with a 119-30 win over Texas Southern, then followed with an 86-46 victory over California.
Baylor outrebounded Louisville 52-36 and made 29 of 52 shots (56 percent) inside the 3-point arc.
Louisville made 16 of 25 3-pointers in the 2013 upset. This time, the Cardinals made 7 of 21.
Mulkey, on Davis: “She wants to get to a Final Four before her career is over. Selfish parents that you see on TV today, selfish players that you see on TV today, they want everything today. Well, this kid, all she wants today is a Final Four and the chance at a national championship. Send me those kinds of kids and I’ll coach them any time.”
Baylor will play Mississippi State on Sunday in the Elite Eight.