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Daily Bears Report 3/25/2017

Lady Bears Dominate Louisville. "Guys, we're on a roll."

NCAA Womens Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Oklahoma City Regional-Baylor vs Louisville Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s Events

Men’s Basketball

The substitution horn blared in the final moments on Friday night, and South Carolina guard Sindariu Thornwell ran off the court toward the bench. Full story at New Jersey dot com.

To his right, thousands of fans wearing black and red came to their feet and screamed.

South Carolina has done many improbable things during this NCAA Tournament. The latest trick was turning Madison Square Garden into its home court.

The No. 7 seed Gamecocks crushed No. 3 Baylor, 70-50, to roar into the Elite Eight.

Lady Bears Basketball

In their 97-63 win in the Sweet 16 Friday, the Lady Bears outscored Louisville, 46-16, in the paint.

“We just took what the defense gave us,” sophomore Kalani Brown said. “I was able to get some passes to Nina. Nina was wide open. If they're collapsing on us, we just go to the next option. I think that's what we did. Guarded shots, opened up the paint a little bit so we could score. We offensive rebounded, got put-backs. Just did the dirty work today. It was split between all posts. We all did well.”

  • At one point in Friday's postgame press conference, Baylor coach Kim Mulkey stopped an answer mid-sentence and sat back with a knowing smile. Story from Baylor Bears dot com.

"Guys, we're on a roll," she said. "Just playing good basketball."

Mulkey isn't often prone to matter-of-fact understatements, but that one qualifies as such.

The Lady Bears (33-3), seeded No. 1 in the Oklahoma City Region, have yet to break a sweat in three NCAA Tournament games and were hardly pushed in a 97-63 domination of fourth-seeded Louisville in a Sweet 16 rematch at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Baylor has won its first three tournament games by an average of 54.3 points and advanced to the Elite Eight for the fourth straight year.

This was the Lady Bears' first win over Louisville (29-8) after a pair of Sweet 16 losses. The Cardinals beat an injury-depleted Baylor team, 56-39, in the 2009 region semifinals in Raleigh, N.C., followed by the unforgettable 82-81 upset of the defending national champions in 2013 on the same floor where Friday's game was played.

Baylor advances to face second-seeded Mississippi State (32-4) at 6:36 p.m. Sunday for the right to go to the Final Four. The Bulldogs (32-4) ended No. 3 seed Washington's season with a 75-64 victory despite a 29-point outing by Kelsey Plum, a senior who extended her NCAA career scoring record to 3,527.

Baseball

  • No. 14/22 Baylor baseball fell 11-3 to No. 15/25 Oklahoma in the Big 12 series opener on Friday evening at Baylor Ballpark. From Baylor Bears dot com.

The Bears (17-5, 1-3) walked 13 batters which helped lead to 11 Sooners (22-4, 1-0) runs on just eight hit

Baylor is 6-4 as a ranked team this season and 4-3 against ranked teams.

Baylor is 2-2 this season and 5-6 under Steve Rodriguez against Baseball America ranked team (Oklahoma ranked No. 24).

Baylor continues its series vs. Oklahoma with games at 3:05 p.m. CT on Saturday and 12:05 p.m. on Sunday.

Softball

No. 14/14 Baylor softball (26-5) kicks off its 2017 Big 12 conference slate on the road, facing the Kansas Jayhawks (18-12) in a three-game weekend series at Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park. From Baylor Bears dot com.

Severe weather forecasts forced the Lady Bears and Jayhawks to delay Friday’s conference opener into a doubleheader on Saturday, March 25, with game one scheduled for 2 p.m.

The Lady Bears swept the series with KU in Waco last season, including a two-run, walk-off home run by Robin Landrith to ice a no-hitter for Heather Stearns on Senior Day.

Both of Saturday’s games will be broadcast on WatchESPN.com, with approximately 30 minutes separating the two games.

Equestrian

EQ Wins Opening Round of Big 12 Championship Top-seed Bears down No. 3 TCU, face OSU for title. From Baylor Bears dot com.

No. 1 Baylor equestrian grinded out a 10-9 win over No. 3 TCU in the first round of the Big 12 Equestrian Championship on Friday afternoon at the Willis Family Equestrian Center.

The Bears now control their own destiny, facing Oklahoma State on Saturday, March 25, at approximately 1 p.m for the conference championship.

Track and Field

Senior thrower Cion Hicks headlined a group of six athletes from Baylor's track and field team that opened the Roadrunners Invitational at the Park West Athletics Complex Friday. From Baylor Bears dot com.

For the second-straight week, Hicks picked up an event victory. A week after claiming the discus title at the TCU Invitational, Hicks won the Roadrunners Invitational shot put crown. With a top throw of 55-5.75 [16.91m] on her second attempt, she was almost six feet better than anyone in the field.

Hicks’ throw tied for the fourth-best mark in school history and ranks third nationally heading into the weekend across the NCAA.

In the javelin, Megan SaxvanderWeyden placed third with a best throw of 149-1 [45.44m]. That attempt was nine inches shorter than what she opened with last week, but still was the fourth-best throw in school history.

BU had four competitors in the men’s javelin, led by Chase Hood’s fourth-place finish (193-5 [58.96m]).

Baylor will be back in action at the Roadrunners Invitational on Saturday. Field events start at 11 a.m. and running events begin at 2 p.m. on the final day of competition in San Antonio.

Acrobatics and Tumbling

The top-ranked and defending national champion Baylor acrobatics & tumbling team will return home to the Ferrell Center to take on No. 8 Gannon Golden Knights Sunday at 1:00 p.m. CT. From Baylor Bears dot com.

The Bears (3-1) started the 2017 season with a victory over Quinnipiac before losing their next match at Oregon. However, the Bears have rebounded nicely with back-to-back road wins over Glenville State and Fairmont State. The Bears have posted season high overall scores in each of their last two matches, notching a 285.010 in their last match against Fairmont State, and will look to improve upon that number Sunday.

Gannon (3-1) opened its season with a tri-meet victory over Glenville State and Adrian College, but lost its next match to Alderson Broaddus. The Golden Knights were able to rebound with a narrow victory over King University, 272.765-268.255, on March 11.

Other News

It’s been especially important to the athletic program after all the negative publicity Baylor has received amid the sexual assault scandal that’s followed the football program.

“This has been good medicine for everybody,” Rhoades said. “It’s been good for the fans, the institution, the athletics department. It rallies people together and has really helped rally the Baylor community together. It’s special being here. This building has an unbelievable history when you think of the greats that have played here.”

Not only did Rhoades attend Baylor’s Sweet 16 game against South Carolina at Madison Square Garden, football coach Matt Rhule also made the trip to his old East Coast turf. Rhule coached at Temple before arriving at Baylor in December.

“There are a lot of different reasons we hired Matt,” Rhoades said. “He’s not just fully invested in football but all the athletic programs.”

  • Former Baylor strength coach Kaz Kazadi has been reassigned to a role outside of the athletic performance staff, a Baylor spokesman said Friday. From BearsExtra.

Kazadi was hired by former Baylor football coach Art Briles in 2008 as associate athletic director for athletic performance. He played a key role in the Bears' rise to national prominence that included Big 12 titles in 2013 and 2014.

Kazadi remains an employee of the university. All the coaches on Briles' staff who haven't left Baylor are on contract with the university through May 31.

"Baylor Athletics acknowledges his years of service and we appreciate his focus on our student-athletes and programs," Baylor said in a statement.

New Baylor coach Matt Rhule didn't retain any of Briles' former assistants on his staff.