Clear your calendars for Tuesday night: Baylor is playing for another national championship.
For the second time in seven years, the Lady Bear basketball team has reached the NCAA tournament title game — this time, with a perfect record on the line. Undefeated Baylor will attempt to become the first team in NCAA basketball history (men’s or women’s) to win 40 games in a season Tuesday night when BU faces Notre Dame in Denver (7:30 p.m. CT, ESPN).
[LINKS: Highlights, photos and ESPN analysis from win over Stanford || Mulkey diagnosed with Bell's Palsy || Bobby Knight on Griner || RG3 on ESPN pre-game || Features on Mulkey from USA Today and The New York Times || Houston Chronicle: "Could Griner be the best of all time?" || Austin American-Statesman: "From RG3 to hoops, Baylor sports are in the midst of a great revival" || Photos from Friday and Saturday pre-game activities]
With Heisman winner Robert Griffin III, President Ken Starr and former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice among the crowd of 19,028, No. 1 overall seed Baylor fought off a tough challenge from No. 2-ranked Stanford Sunday night, pulling away midway through the second half to win 59-47. All year, Kim Mulkey (the 2012 Associated Press Coach of the Year) has insisted that her Lady Bears are more than just a one-person team, that her team’s success isn’t completely dependent on AP National Player of the Year Brittney Griner.
Stanford swarmed Griner all night, challenging other Baylor players to step up, and they did. While Griner recorded “only” 13 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks, senior reserve guard Terran Condrey came off the bench to match Griner’s team-high 13 points (just the fifth double-digit scoring effort in Condrey’s four years at BU). Forward Destiny Williams led all players with 10 rebounds, and the Lady Bears’ team defense held Stanford (the fifth-highest scoring team in the nation) to a season-low 47 points.
[AVAILABLE: Pre-order Baylor Press' book on the Lady Bears' 2011-12 season || Get Lady Bears gear from the Baylor Bookstore || BU men's basketball's "One Team, One God, One Goal" t-shirt also available]
A large Baylor contingent was loud and proud at the Pepsi Center in Denver Sunday night, and more will likely join them for Tuesday. BU fans were also gathered all around the country for Final Four watch parties, and will do so again Tuesday night for the championship. (Visit baylor.edu/nation Monday or Tuesday for a complete list of gatherings.)
Sic ’em, Lady Bears!