Donatas-Motiejunas-03-04-2013The experts were right when they predicted women’s powerhouses Notre Dame and the University of Connecticut would return to the NCAA Final Four.

The two sides will square off in one Semi-Final on Sunday in New Orleans.

When it comes to behemoths Baylor, however, everyone got it wrong.

The Louisville Cardinals stunned the Lady Bears, 82-81, in the Third Round, ending the Baylor title defense and the collegiate career of Brittney Griner, who is the second all-time leading scorer in NCAA women’s hoops history.

The Cardinals then marched into the Final Four with an 86-78 upset of Tennessee.

Stanford were also expected to reach the Final Four but they suffered a 61-59 upset at the hands of Georgia.

The Bulldogs then fell one win shy of the Final Four when the University of California edged their last eight showdown in Spokane, Washington, 65-62, after overtime.

Baylor nation is still in shock over the exit of their team.

Louisville held Griner without a field goal in the first half and led by as many as 17 points in the game.

Baylor stormed back, though, and looked good bets for victory when they took an 81-80 advantage with just 9.1 seconds remaining after Odyssey Sims (29pts) made two free-throws.

Griner fouled Louisville’s Monique Reid with 2.6 seconds to go, however, and she sank both attempts for the win.

Sims missed a desperation heave at the buzzer.

“I’m just sad,” Griner said.

“I didn’t do what I needed to do to get my team to the Elite Eight and just disappointment in myself.”

Griner was nevertheless named this week to the Associated Press All-America First Team.

No side has come close in the NCAA Tournament to beating UConn, who are coached by Team USA’s Olympic and FIBA World Championship for Women-winning boss Geno Auriemma.

The Huskies have whipped Idaho (105-37), Vanderbilt (77-44), Maryland (76-50) and Kentucky (83-53) en route to the Final Four.

Notre Dame, who have beaten UConn three times this season, including in the Big East Championship, blew away Tennessee Martin (97-64), Iowa (74-57), Kansas (93-63) and Duke (87-76) to advance.

Skylar Diggins is hoping that Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw can get back to a third straight NCAA title game and this time prevail.

“I want to win a championship for coach McGraw bad,” Diggins said.

“When you have a coach who believes in you so much, I’d do anything for her.”

While Louisville are making their second appearance in the Final Four, California are in the end-of-season showpiece event for the first time.

They wouldn’t be there without Layshia Clarendon, the star who had 25 points in the victory over Georgia.

Seventeen of those points came after half-time.

Cal looked to be headed for defeat when they trailed by 10 with less than seven minutes to go but the team battled and proved United States President Barack Obama has good insight as he picked the second-seeded Golden Bears to win the Spokane Regional when sharing his predictions on television.


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