WACO, Texas — Baylor coach Kim Mulkey claimed her mind used to be already enthusiastic on her crew’s next game on Sunday. However no one else used to be by that. Baylor had correct ended another of No. 1 UConn’s loopy-factual streaks, and that used to be the first target of the girls folk’s basketball world.
UConn survived one treacherous time out into Colossal 12 territory earlier this season. However Thursday, the Huskies misplaced their first usual-season game in better than four years. And it used to be on the hands of Baylor, the beast of Colossal 12 girls folk’s basketball.
The No. Eight Girl Bears prevailed Sixty eight-57 over No. 1 UConn in entrance a rocking elephantine condominium of 10,284 followers at Ferrell Center. It used to be the first time Baylor has defeated the nation’s top-ranked crew, having long gone zero-14 previously counting the NCAA and Affiliation for Intercollegiate Athletics for Females eras.
“Listen, we’re all chasing Geno, let’s be proper,” Mulkey stated of Huskies coach Geno Auriemma, who has obtained eleven NCAA titles. “I did not are mindful about it used to be a first. I originate not coach love that. I correct are desirous to take the next game.”
A success this one used to be barely giant.
UConn fell in overtime in every of the past two nationwide semifinals, but the Huskies had not misplaced a normal-season game since falling in overtime to Stanford on Nov. 17, 2014, a string of 126 victories in a row. UConn’s final double-digit loss used to be Feb. 27, 2012, in opposition to Notre Dame (misplaced by Thirteen).
The Huskies’ toddle of normal-season victories in law used to be even longer: 163 in a row, with the final loss to Baylor on Feb. 18, 2013. That Girl Bears crew used to be the defending nationwide champion on the time, and it featured then-senior Brittney Griner.
This season’s Baylor squad has another solid center in Kalani Brown, and the reigning Colossal 12 participant of the year controlled the interior. Brown performed with 20 facets and 17 rebounds Thursday, her finest game of this season. She used to be eleven-of-17 from the field.
The Girl Bears also bought a giant game off the bench from freshman sensation NaLyssa Smith, who had 12 facets and six rebounds, going 6-of-9 from the field.
Point guard Chloe Jackson, a graduate pupil enjoying her first and handiest season at Baylor, had Thirteen facets, seven rebounds and eight assists. Guard Juicy Landrum had eleven facets, including all three of the Girl Bears’ three-pointers.
The Girl Bears’ size on protection with the 6-foot-7 Brown, 6-Four Lauren Cox and 6-2 Smith made issues subtle for the Huskies, as did the perimeter protection led by DiDi Richards, who spent plenty of time guarding UConn leading scorer Katie Lou Samuelson.
The Huskies shot 29.Four p.c from the field (20-of-Sixty eight), their worst trace previously 20 seasons. That incorporated eleven three-pointers; UConn made correct 9 of 36 makes an strive from 2-point vary. This used to be UConn’s lowest point total of the season, and its lowest since scoring 55 in a victory over Central Florida on Feb. 7, 2018.
What went unsuitable offensively for UConn? The total thing. Baylor’s size made it laborious to bolt into the paint. The Huskies weren’t in a region to rating in transition, partly because they did not derive that many opportunities; Baylor had handiest five turnovers. After which UConn did not hit one of the foremost jump pictures that we’re extinct to seeing.
“It felt love our offense used to be form of stagnant, and we had been all correct having a glance at every assorted,” stated Samuelson, who had 12 facets on Four-of-Sixteen taking pictures. “So as that led to taking subtle pictures, which we weren’t hitting. That is on us to establish it out, and we have to hold figured it out earlier and performed with a little more urgency.”
Auriemma added: “I originate not bear in mind us struggling so powerful earlier to on the offensive dwell to derive issues going.”
UConn trailed powerful of the game in its search the advice of with to Oklahoma on Dec. 19, on the opposite hand it then took adjust in the final five minutes in opposition to a young Sooners squad and obtained seventy two-Sixty three. Here’s a Baylor crew with a ways more abilities, and the Girl Bears did not let this one derive away.
Cox, who had been scoreless in the first half of, bought going offensively in the zero.33 quarter. That helped birth issues up for Brown. The senior used to be in a region to assemble her presence felt, as she extinct each her size interior and her jump shot on the free throw line to take adjust. Baylor led the methodology on the boards forty six-Forty three and shot Forty three.5 p.c for the game (30-of-sixty 9).
Baylor’s handiest loss this season used to be Sixty eight-Sixty three on Dec. 15 at Stanford, and Brown and Cox mixed for correct seven facets in that game. Did that defeat impact how Baylor’s interior duo performed Thursday?
“It did. Coach made certain of that,” Brown stated. “She bought on us. Me and Lauren took it upon ourselves to answer. That’s what we did tonight. It be not indubitably normal for us each to hold a inappropriate game love that. We correct wished to redeem ourselves.
“The energy we had this day used to be loopy. If we play every game love that, there could be no telling where we could perhaps dwell up. We kept the energy even by the momentum swings. We correct kept at it.”
Mulkey had stated earlier to the game that she wasn’t timorous referring to the NCAA tournament implications of this game. However with a victory in hand over the tip-ranked Huskies, the Girl Bears now dart into the Colossal 12 season, where they’ve dominated, with mammoth momentum. Baylor has obtained or tied for the Colossal 12 usual-season title eight years in a row, and it has claimed seven of the past eight league tournament titles.
However the Girl Bears hold fallen in need of the Final Four since a hit it all in 2012. Thursday’s take came handiest in early January, on the opposite hand it positively could perhaps perhaps lend a hand attain March.
On the opposite hand, Mulkey stated it used to be more about assembly a normal normal she wants your total time.
“We could perhaps never derive to another Final Four. Build you know the contrivance laborious that’s?” Mulkey stated. “I stated that when we went the first time. However we’re clean there; we’re clean associated. I correct are desirous to assign a crew on the ground that Baylor folks will be good sufficient with.”