- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 29, 2016

DALLAS (AP) - Niya Johnson sat in the Baylor locker room, with her head down and no more chances to get to a women’s Final Four.

For the third year in a row, the Lady Bears finished their season with a regional final loss - this time only about 100 miles from campus to a team that had never been this far before in the NCAA Tournament.

Johnson took the final shot, but the senior point guard and national assists leader missed a tying 3-pointer at the buzzer as Pac-12 champion Oregon State held on for a 60-57 victory Monday night.

“Niya’s my leader on the court. She feels like it’s her fault. She feels like maybe she couldn’t carry the team and get us there, but she’s had a wonderful career at Baylor,” Nina Davis said.

“The assists, the different things that she’s brought, she’s just incredible and she’ll go down as one of the top players ever to play at Baylor.”

Coach Kim Mulkey’s Lady Bears (36-2), the No. 1 seed in the Dallas Regional, had their 23-game winning streak snapped and their season ended - once again so close to the Final Four without taking the next step.

“This one hurts a little bit more because it’s three times in a row,” Davis said.

Baylor, a two-time national champion and winner of the past six Big 12 regular-season and tournament titles, lost to perennial power Notre Dame in regional finals the previous two years. Oregon State (32-4) is going to its first Final Four six years after coach Scott Rueck had to have open tryouts to fill out his first roster.

Sydney Wiese scored 18 points, including three free throws in the final 33 seconds for the Beavers.

Jamie Weisner, the Pac-12 Player of the Year who was the regional Most Outstanding Player, had 16 points for Oregon State, which faces three-time defending national champion UConn next. Ruth Hamblin, another senior, had 10 points with 12 rebounds, while Gabriella Hanson also added 10 points.

“We’re going to celebrate tonight, soak up this special moment,” Hamblin said. “And we’re going to get back to work this week and we know what we have to do to play UConn because they’re obviously a formidable opponent.”

Alexis Jones had 19 points to lead Baylor while Kalani Brown had 12 points and Davis had 11. Johnson had seven rebounds and only one turnover while playing all 40 minutes, but was 3-of-10 shooting for six points with only one assist.

“They did hit clutch shots and we didn’t,” Mulkey said. “I mean, there was how many times we had a tie ball game there at the end and we didn’t get a good shot.”

Weisner scored twice in the final 2:07 of the third quarter to beat the shot-clock buzzer.

Jones had a turnaround jumper that rattled around the rim without falling with 11 seconds left. Hamblin, the 6-foot-6 center from Canada, grabbed the rebound and got the ball to Weise, who was fouled with 7.3 seconds left.

After Weise made both free throws, Baylor quickly got back down the court. Jones couldn’t get open for a shot before Johnson got the ball.

“I don’t know what to say. I mean, I’m still thinking about it,” Jones said. “I don’t know if somebody else was open, I don’t know.”

Baylor led only twice, after scoring the game’s first four points and when Davis made a layup with 6:54 left to make it 51-50.

The game’s only four ties came after that, the first when Weisner made a free throw 24 seconds later. And Baylor never went back ahead.

The Beavers were tough and resilient throughout, and there was a point midway through the second quarter when Mulkey was so frustrated after a non-call by the officials that she ripped off her gold jacket and flung it over the Lady Bears bench, drawing a technical foul.

Davis was almost knocked to the ground when missing a layup, and that was the boiling point after the coach was already upset by several other calls or non-calls.

BIG FINISH: Jones’ reverse layup with 1:41 left in the first half got Baylor within 26-25. But Oregon State scored the last eight points of the half for its largest lead of the game, including Weisner hitting an open 3 off Wiese’s inbound pass at the buzzer.

CAVE’S OWN RUN: Baylor junior post Khadijiah Cave had a 6-0 run all by herself in a 48-second span. Cave had a put-back basket, and after a Beavers miss scored on a pass by Jones before stealing the inbound pass for another layup.

TIP-INS

Oregon St.: The Beavers, who have won 22 of their past 23 games, missed their first five shots at the start of both halves. … Oregon State had seven 3-pointers, all in the first half.

Baylor: The Lady Bears’ most recent Final Four was in 2012, part of their 40-0 national championship season. … Baylor made only 6 of 14 free throws.

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