For the fourth year in a row — and seventh time in head coach Kim Mulkey’s 12 seasons at Baylor — the Lady Bears are headed to the Sweet 16.
The No. 1 overall seed in this year’s NCAA women’s tournament, Baylor beat No. 16 seed UC-Santa Barbara by 41 in the first round, then methodically worked past No. 9 seed Florida 76-57 in the second round. But the story getting the most attention Tuesday night was Brittney Griner’s dunk.
The 6-foot-8 junior became just the second women’s basketball player ever to dunk in the NCAA tournament, calmly putting down a drop-step slam early in the second half. The dunk was the sixth of Griner’s career, one shy of the NCAA women’s record held by former Tennessee star Candace Parker.
[LINKS: See Griner's dunk vs. Florida || Obama picks Lady Bears to win it all || Highlights vs. UCSB and Mulkey postgame interview || Highlights vs. Florida and postgame analysis from ESPN (including Trey Wingo, BA '85) || Lady Bears enjoy the day off between games || Griner shows what it's like to fly with the team || Photos from the UCSB and UF games]
Next up for Mulkey’s squad: No. 4 seed Georgia Tech. The Lady Bears and Yellow Jackets will square off Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa; as I’m writing this,
no word yet on game time or television coverage. Stay tuned to BaylorBears.com or @BaylorProud on Twitter for those details once they are announced. [3/21 update: Baylor will face Georgia Tech Saturday at 1 p.m. CT on ESPN.]
With such success has also come a host of honors for Baylor… First, President Barack Obama picked the Lady Bears to win it all in his bracket. Then Griner and Mulkey were each named one of four finalists for national awards — Griner for the Naismith Trophy as national player of the year, and Mulkey for the Naismith Coach of the Year. [Learn how you can vote Griner for Naismith here.] And last but not least, Director of Athletics Ian McCaw was announced as one of five finalists for SportsBusinessJournal’s Athletic Director of the Year — a truly deserving honor, given the year Baylor Athletics is enjoying.
Sic ’em, Baylor women’s basketball!