Having gained a step or two on Richards at the top of the key, she let fly for a long 3, the follow-through for which left her sitting on the court, legs splayed. "Every one of those freshmen, they give that group - they beat them sometimes in practice". Cox, Brown said, was quiet.
Forward Ruthy Hebard played for 35 minutes and battled against Cox and Brown.
"That next year when all the senior post players left, everyone was like, 'Wow, they play so well together". Much is made of Baylor's size with Cox and 6-7 Kalani Brown, but the Lady Bears' length on the perimeter - DiDi Richards and Juicy Landrum spent most of the game guarding her - bothered Ionescu. Hey, listen, now we don't have to say "next year.' This is the first time we're here".
She led the Ducks to their first Final Four this season, along with the Pac-12 regular-season championship. "Credit them, a really good defensive team". She missed a layup that would have given her team the lead in the final minute and the Ducks misfired on 12 of their last 13 shots.
With several of the top teams in the country, including Baylor, Notre Dame, UConn, Louisville and Mississippi State set to lose major contributors OR will be as well positioned as any to capitalize. And it's a kind of chemistry that, at times, Cox and Brown's teammates can't even explain.
"I bet from the outside looking in, when people see me, and they see this season we've had as a team and this season I've had as a player - you know, they probably think: she's gotta go pro". "It's not even a play some of the times, it's just them working off each other. We're not going anywhere".
Baylor defeated OR 72-67 by pounding the post. "I didn't", she said after the win. "Hopefully, she'll get some help from the rest of the team, but in the end she's going to have to sit down there on that block and try to keep them as far away from the basket as possible".
But the Bears leaned on their signature defense in the game's final minutes, holding the Ducks to three points in the game's final 6:13 as OR shot 1-of-13 from the field down the stretch.
After Sabally's game-tying 3-pointer, Baylor point guard Chloe Jackson cut through Oregon's defense easily for a layup, and the Bears' defense - the nation's most powerful, thanks to Brown and Cox - did the rest.
The opening semifinal at sold-out Amalie Arena was billed as "old school" vs. Baylor coach Kim Mulkey isn't concerning herself with perceptions. "She'll be singular focused".
"You play, you change, you adapt to whatever your personnel is capable of doing", Mulkey said. You can call me old-fashioned. "I just play to win".