The undefeated and top-ranked Baylor women’s basketball program continued to make program history Monday night as the team was named the tournament’s overall No. 1 seed. The Lady Bears will begin the 2012 NCAA tournament Sunday in the Des Moines Region, facing Big West tournament champion UC-Santa Barbara in Bowling Green, Ohio; tip-off is set for approximately 1:30 p.m. CT on Sunday, and the game will air on ESPN2 (see full bracket here).
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The target on Baylor’s back is clear. Head coach Kim Mulkey’s squad is 34-0; six more wins would give the Lady Bears their second NCAA championship and the first 40-0 record in NCAA D-I basketball history (men’s or women’s). Baylor has been the unanimous No. 1 team in the country for more than three months, and the team has already defeated two of the other three No. 1 seeds (UConn and Notre Dame) as well as the No. 2 seed in their own bracket (Tennessee). More than 60% of ESPN SportsNation voters (out of 50,000+ votes) and all six ESPN women’s basketball experts have picked BU to win it all.
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No single player can carry a team this far, and the Lady Bears are much more than just a one-person team. But it does help to have a star like Brittney Griner. ESPN.com already named the 6-foot-8 junior its National Player of the Year; Griner has also won back-to-back Big 12 Player of the Year honors and back-to-back Big 12 tournament MVP honors. That’s why ESPN dedicated an entire segment during the selection show to “How do you beat Brittney Griner?” Even NBA superstars Kobe Bryant, Lebron James and Chris Paul know about her talents.
Sic ’em, Lady Bears!