NCAA women: Baylor beats Tennessee 77-62 to advance in NCAAs
AP Sports Writer
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Brittney Griner was both bigger and better this time — taking out Tennessee in the process.
Griner had 27 points and 10 blocks to lead fourth-seeded Baylor to a 77-62 win over the top-seeded Lady Vols on Saturday and advance to the NCAA tournament regional finals for a second time.
And the highly anticipated matchup between the Lady Vols and Connecticut — which could have happened in the Final Four — will have to wait for at least another season.
Tennessee successfully limited the 6-foot-8 freshmen in its 74-65 win over Baylor in the first game of the season but couldn't do it again even with as many as four players on Griner at a time. Griner hit several shots while double-teamed or passed to an open Lady Bears teammate for an easy layup.
The Lady Volunteers were up 55-50 with just under eight minutes left. Griner hit back-to-back layups and had a three-point play as part of a 21-1 run as Baylor (26-9) marched toward only its second round of eight appearance in history.
Accustomed to controlling the post in nearly every game this season, Tennessee could only watch as Baylor piled up 36 points in the paint and Griner blocked the Lady Vols' shots.
Griner's 26 blocks in the NCAA tournament ranks her second in history. Duke's Alison Bales holds the NCAA tournament record with 30 in 2006, and Connecticut's Rebecca Lobo's 22 now ranks third.
With only 22 points inside, Tennessee (32-3) instead turned to its shooters for help but managed to hit only 32.9 percent. The Lady Vols allowed the Lady Bears a season-high 49.1 percent shooting.
Tennessee's shooters managed to give the Lady Vols a few leads in the game, despite the struggles inside. Shekinna Stricklen led Tennessee with 18 points, and Angie Bjorklund added 12.
Bjorklund hit a few tough jumpshots in traffic and Stricklen was 5 of 8 in the first half, hitting most of her shots while hovering around the 3-point line. Both cooled off after halftime.
Jumpers by Stricklen launched and punctuated a 15-2 run that gave Tennessee a 19-11 lead with 10:33 left in the first half, but Baylor
The Lady Bears used layups to threaten again, and back-to-back 3s by Terran Condgrey gave them a 30-28 halftime lead.
Tennessee fell to 23-5 in regional semifinals.