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Baylor Coach Kim Mulkey embraces Baylor forward Nina Davis at the end of the Lady Bears’ win in the round of 32.

Staff photo — Michael Bancale

If you play in the NCAA tournament often enough, games and opponent can’t help but get recycled.

So if Baylor-Louisville in Oklahoma City seems familiar, it should. That’s not only the matchup for the top-seeded Lady Bears in the Sweet 16 following their 86-46 victory over ninth-seeded California on Monday night at the Ferrell Center.

That was also the pairing – and the same site – back in 2013, when the then-fifth-seeded Cardinals stunned top-seeded and defending national champion Baylor, 82-81.

That Baylor loss marked the final college game for Brittney Griner, who had a rough night against Louisville’s physical interior play.

Of course, the cast of characters now is far different for both teams. The only current Baylor player on the roster for that defeat is fifth-year senior guard Alexis Prince. She played just five minutes in that game, scoring two points.

“That’s history,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “So now you go to this game, and they’re a different team, we’re a different team. They have great players, we have great players. They’re well-coached, I don’t know if we are or not, but we’ll see.”

Baylor also lost to Louisville in the Sweet 16 in Raleigh, N.C., in 2009.

Davis, Prince make most of last home game

In their Ferrell Center farewell, Alexis Prince and Nina Davis made the most of every moment.

Davis and Prince played with a constant vigor and energy, and tied for high-point honors for the Lady Bears. Both scored 16 points, while Prince added five rebounds, six assists and a steal. Davis contributed six boards, five assists and three steals in 23 minutes.

Those two and fellow seniors Alexis Jones and Khadijiah “KayKay” Cave drew a rousing ovation from the home fans when Baylor coach Kim Mulkey substituted for them late in the fourth quarter. Following the game, they made a victory lap around the court, waving at fans and stopping to high-five Baylor’s radio announcers Rick May and Lori Fogleman.

“It’s a bittersweet thing,” Davis said. “We wanted to leave our mark here. Of course you wanted to give the fans the exciting thing, and just wantedt my last game here to be a good one.”

Lady Bears used to sweet taste in mouths

Under Kim Mulkey, the Sweet 16 is just a launching pad.

Baylor’s win on Monday gave the Lady Bears their ninth consecutive trip to the NCAA’s Sweet 16. The last time Baylor didn’t at least reach the third round of the NCAA tournament was the 2007-08 season, when sixth-seeded Pittsburgh upended the third-seeded Lady Bears, 67-59, in Albuquerque, N.M.

To put into perspective just how long ago that was, current Baylor freshman Lauren Cox was nine years old when that game happened.

Nothing tastes better than home cookin’

If you’re one of the NCAA’s elite, it pays to be home.

Entering the night, No. 1 seeds in the NCAA women’s tourney had won 100 consecutive home games, including the first-round games this year. The last No. 1 seed to drop a home game in the tournament came before the turn of the century – Texas Tech in 1998.

Baylor’s win over Cal extended the Lady Bears’ record as a home No. 1 seed to 8-0.

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