Mar 24, 2012; Des Moines, IA, USA; Baylor Lady Bears center Brittney Griner (42) dunks the ball during the second half against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the semifinals of the Iowa region in the 2012 NCAA women's basketball tournament at Wells Fargo Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Ryerson-US PRESSWIRE
The Lady Bears continued their march toward 40 wins and a national title in fine fashion this afternoon with a dominating victory over the #4-seed Georgia Tech Yellowjackets (Ladyjackets? I have no idea) in Des Moines, Iowa. On the strength of a 29-8 run in the first half that covered more than 12 minutes of game time, Baylor ran away from a dogged Georgia Tech team that, at least in the first few minutes, had visions of a massive upset dancing through their heads.
Stop me if you've heard this before, but Brittney Griner turned in a dominating performance in all phases of the game today with 35 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 blocks. She also had this thunderous two-handed dunk that ESPN said was "ESPY-worthy" rather than just a Top Play. It made Griner only the second women's player ever to dunk in multiple NCAA Tournament games (Candace Parker is the other) and tied Griner for the all-time lead in dunks by a woman in NCAA games period with 7. Just another day at the office, I guess.
I actually got to watch almost all of this game, and the only thing that struck me as somewhat strange was that Georgia Tech stayed with a full-court press throughout the entire game. I understand that they probably practice that type of pressure defense all the time and that's the way they play, but it's not like they don't also practice traditional half-court defensive sets. It was by beating that press repeatedly on offense and turning their own pressure on defense into turnovers that Baylor went on its huge run in the first half, and I kept thinking that GT would finally, mercifully pull the plug on that press. They did not.
In their next game on Monday night, the Lady Bears will face an old rival in Pat Summitt's Tennessee Lady Volunteers, who dispatched 11-seed Kansas in the early game today, ending the Jayhawks Cinderella-esque run. ESPN's announcers made much of the motivations for the Lady Volunteers to send Summitt out on a high note (she is retiring for medical reasons this year), but I doubt their desire will matter. The Lady Bears are a legitimate juggernaut and I'll go on record saying they will win that game.
I put a box score from today and a few links about today's game and the one coming up Monday night. Check them out.
(26-9) Rank: #15/13
NCAA Championship • Sweet 16
(37-0) Rank: #1/1
|Baylor Lady Bears|
Griner Tallies 35, Dunks as WBB Rolls Georgia Tech - Baylor Bears Official Athletic Site - BaylorBears.com
Brittney Griner capped a sensational performance with a two-handed dunk and Baylor stormed into the NCAA regional finals for the third straight year with an 83-68 rout of Georgia Tech on Saturday.
2012 women's NCAA tournament -- Baylor Lady Bears, Tennessee Lady Vols to meet again - ESPN
After Sweet 16 victories, Baylor and Tennessee advance to the Elite Eight, where they'll go head-to-head Monday in the Des Moines Regional final.
Baylor, Griner slam way into Elite Eight – USATODAY.com
Junior star has second dunk in as many games during 83-68 win against Georgia Tech as Lady Bears advance to face Tennessee.
Baylor women star Brittney Griner dunks again vs. Georgia Tech - The Washington Post
DES MOINES, Iowa — Baylor star Brittney Griner dunked for the second time in as many games late in an NCAA women’s tournament regional semifinal against Georgia Tech.