You want more parity in the women's NCAA Tournament? You got it.
Brackets busted all over the country when Louisville delivered the biggest upset in women's basketball tournament history with an 82-81 shocker over No. 1 seed and defending champion Baylor, who featured 6-foot-8 and eventual No. 1 WNBA draft pick Brittney Griner.
For the past four seasons, Griner signified the revolution of her sport as she shredded a host of playbooks for coaches searching for answers on how to stop her. She's a force unlike anything anyone's ever seen in women's basketball, and she helped the Bears enter the Sweet Sixteen having won 74 of their previous 75 games.
Griner's drawn praise, criticism and seemingly daily public humiliation from imbeciles who took pleasure in teasing a young woman about her God-given body during her pursuit to leave a mark in her sport. Now, she and her teammates inadvertently gave women's basketball a greater service -- a loss.
"The women's game, just like the men's game, has the attention of the country this time of year so the cries for parity get a little bit louder because people are watching the tournament games and see Baylor winning by 40," said ESPN analyst and Connecticut Sun guard Kara Lawson. "And that's not something you see on the men's side."
Baylor's loss can perhaps be a larger gain for college women's basketball which has suffered from a WWE-like perception by critics who pan the sport for its predictable storylines.
Unlike the men's game, dominance in women's basketball is rarely greeted with unfiltered praise. It must be qualified, vetted and critiqued. Once that's done, it must be measured to the closest male counterpart in order to be deemed worthy.
It's truly a study in gender perception when you observe the reactions to Connecticut's NCAA Division I record for consecutive wins versus the Miami Heat's close race for the NBA record for the all-time consecutive wins.
The more games the Huskies won, the more criticism they drew for their perceived lack of competition and the more some folks complained about being bored. The more games Miami won, the bigger the media circus grew as did the public's fascination for this impressive pursuit.
Yes, one is a college sport and the other is a professional sport. But winning streaks are always pretty darn impressive to me no matter how you qualify it.
Louisville silenced Baylor's dominance for a moment and with it, hopefully, a few critics of the sport.
I've always believed the evolution of women's basketball has been greatly underappreciated. For some odd reason, the fact that the women's NCAA Tournament has been recognized for just 31 years is often times overlooked. That's considerably less time than the 74-year head start the men's tournament had.
And you can't overlook the fact that while Title IX equalized education and sporting opportunities for women in 1972, it's taken decades for culture to catch up.
While Lawson recalled watching only one nationally televised women's basketball game a year on network television, players like Florida State and former First Academy guard Alexa Deluzio are just now witnessing a greater media recognition of women's basketball.
"Players like that, Brittney Griner and Skylar Diggins, are pretty much regulars on Sports Center and ESPN," Deluzio said. "I mean, realistically, when was the last time you heard of ESPN and Sports Center talk about female athletes in general? So it's been really neat to see that in the news."
Yes, there is still much room for improvement in women's basketball. A betting man could make a fortune on predicting tournament odds in the first two rounds.
But progress is happening and at a quicker rate than most people realize. History tells us this and, now, so does the present judging by Baylor's shocking early loss. The team "everyone" picked to win it all will be watching the tournament from home. If that doesn't signify the apex of what the NCAA tournament is about, then I don't know what else does.