STORRS, CONN. — Ja’Mee Asberry scored 26 points, including three key foul shots in the final minute, and No. 7 seed Baylor overcame an early 18-point deficit to beat Alabama, 78-74, on Saturday in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
Sarah Andrews and Caitlin Bickle each added 14 for the Bears (20-12), whose rally tied for the third biggest comeback in tournament history. Baylor closed the game on a 7-0 run, all from the foul line.
The Bears will face No. 2 seed UConn in the second round Monday night. The Huskies routed Vermont 95-52 earlier Saturday.
Brittany Davis tied a career high with 33 points for Alabama (20-11), which closed its season on a five-game losing streak.
The Crimson Tide led 22-4 after a quarter and by 11 at halftime.
But the Bears opened the third quarter on a 16-3 run and took the lead at 46-44 on a 3-pointer from the left wing by Andrews, one of her four on the evening.
Alabama fought back and led 59-54 after 30 minutes.
But Baylor held Alabama without a field goal for more than four minutes in the fourth quarter and took the lead at 71-68 on a 3-pointer from the top of the key by Andrews with 3½ minutes left.
A 3-pointer from the left wing by Davis off an offensive rebound from Hannah Barber tied the game again at 71 and a conventional 3-point play from Jada Rice gave Alabama a 74-71 lead with 53.5 seconds left.
But Baylor held Alabama scoreless from there and hit seven foul shots, the final three from Asberry, to close out the game. They were 14 for 16 from the line, including 9 of 10 in the final quarter.
Davis had 15 points in the first quarter, nine on 3-of-4 shooting from behind the arc, helping Alabama to its 18-point advantage.
The Bears hit just two of their first 16 shots from the floor and were 0 for 7 on 3-pointers over the first 10 minutes. It took three offensive rebounds in one possession before Darianna Littlepage-Buggs finally got the Bears on the board.
But Davis picked up her second foul late in the second quarter and her third foul early in the third.
Baylor closed the gap to 39-30 on a 3-pointer by Ja'Mee Asbury and trailed 41-30 at halftime.
Alabama: This was the Crimson Tide’s 13th game this season against an opponent in this year’s NCAA Tournament. They were 6-7 in those games.
Baylor: Had lost two straight and six of its last nine coming into the tournament, forcing the Bears to play the first two rounds away from home for the first time since 2012 (excluding the 2021 trip to the pandemic bubble). This is the Bears’ 19th straight trip to the NCAA Tournament and 21st appearance overall. The Bears are now 55-17. They have made 15 trips to the Sweet 16.