ST. LOUIS — Nyeshia Stevenson snagged the pass from Danielle Robinson, eyed the basket and nailed the shot as final seconds ticked off the clock. Who could’ve guessed after that exclamation mark to the first half that this game would come down to another Robinson-to-Stevenson buzzer beater? Who could’ve imagined that this Final Four, this season, this era would end with a last-second prayer? Louisville 61, OU 59. That the Sooners lost to the Cardinals is no great shame. Louisville is a worthy foe with a talented star, a savvy coach and a great ability to find ways to win. That the Sooners lost this way, though, is a shame. In the first half, they were the aggressors. They were the dominators. They were the team on a collision course with Tuesday night’s championship game. But now, their season is over, finished short of a title, which is no indictment with Connecticut in the field, but also finished short of a title game that was firmly in their grasp for 20 minutes Sunday night. What went wrong? "They came right out swinging, and we didn’t respond very well,” Sooner coach Sherri Coale said of the second half. "They just swung and swung and swung, and we didn’t swing back.” It started with the very first play of the second half. Louisville got a quick shot from Angel McCoughtry, the Cardinal star who missed all seven shots she took in the first half. She missed again, but reserve Keshia Hines came up with the rebound, went up for a shot and got fouled by Courtney Paris. "That kind of took all the momentum from us,” Sooner sharpshooter Whitney Hand said. "We never got it back.” They couldn’t get any traction on offense or defense. The Cardinals started hitting shots, something they struggled to do in the first half. Even when they missed, they came up with offensive rebounds and scored second-chance points, something else they struggled to do in the first half. Their field goal percentage in the first half: 22.2 percent. Their percentage in the second half: 47.1. "We let them get too many second chance opportunities and offensive rebounds,” Paris said. "That frustration bled over into our offense, and we weren’t able to get things going.” Coming out of halftime, the Sooners went more than three minutes without scoring a point and more than seven without a field goal. That led to a 20-4 Cardinal run. It was the darnedest thing. The team that was so in control, that had all the momentum looked instead like the one that had been beat down in the first half. Some of the credit for that has to go to Louisville. The Cardinals realized at halftime that they were still in the game even though they’d played some of their worst ball of the season. "We always look to Angel,” McCoughtry’s sidekick Candyce Bingham said, "and she didn’t even have a good first half.” That’s an understatement. The player-of-the-year candidate missed all seven shots she attempted and managed to score only four points. Sooner freshman Whitney Hand was clearly frustrating her, forcing her into bad shots and rushing the good looks she did manage. And still, the Cardinals only trailed by a dozen at half. "We were still pretty much in the game,” Bingham said. "I mean, we didn’t even play a great first half, and we were only down 12.” They found encouragement in that. Energy, too. "If we were down 12, 14 coming in here,” Stevenson said, "we would know that we could come back, too. We’re all good, so you can knock that lead down.” That’s what the Cardinals did. "It just zapped our energy,” Sooner senior Ashley Paris said. In the process, it short-circuited a magical season and a national championship dream.