Baylor shuts down Stanford
April 2, 2012INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
One win away from perfection, Brittney Griner and the Baylor Lady Bears are headed for a rematch with the Fighting Irish to decide the national championship.
Griner scored 13 points and pulled down nine rebounds, and Baylor's defense shut down Stanford, 59-47, in a Final Four matchup Sunday night.
Terran Condrey also scored 13 and Odyssey Sims added 11 for the Lady Bears (39-0), who used a big run in the second half to take control of the game at Pepsi Center. Destiny Williams was also a force for Baylor with 10 rebounds.
"Most teams double-team Griner, so they'll leave most people open, and we had to be ready to knock down the shots in the game," Condrey said.
The Fighting Irish beat Connecticut, 83-75, in overtime in Sunday night's first national semifinal to set up the final.
With a victory on Tuesday, Baylor would become the first team, men's or women's, to finish a season 40-0. The Lady Bears have already beaten the Fighting Irish, 94-81, on Nov. 20 in Waco. Griner had 32 points and 14 rebounds in that matchup.
Baylor's lone previous appearance in the title game resulted in a victory over Michigan State in 2005.
Despite being in the Final Four for a fifth straight year, the Cardinal have no championships in that span. Stanford reached the title game in 2008 and 2010 before losing to Tennessee and Connecticut, respectively.
Nnemkadi Ogwumike scored 22 for Stanford (35-2), which had a 32-game winning streak broken. Its only other loss this season was at Connecticut on Nov. 21.
"In reality attacking her (Griner) wasn't as hard as we thought it would be," Ogwumike said. "And hitting shots is always what it comes down to. We were 2-for-17 from the 3. Granted, five of those were mine."
Chiney Ogwumike was held to a career-low four points on 2-of-4 shooting before fouling out of the game.
A big difference in the game was free throws. Baylor was 19-of-26, compared to 5-of-7 for the Cardinal.
"I think the main thing was we sent them to the free-throw line," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "And I don't think we should have with the game plan we had."
With Heisman Trophy winning Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III cheering from near the court, the Lady Bears started to pull away in the second half.
A jumper from Amber Orrange gave Stanford a 31-29 edge inside 17 minutes left, but jumpers from Condrey and Sims started a 17-3 spurt that changed the complexion of the game.
"We changed our defense a little bit," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. "We played a 2-2-1 zone back to a man, and one possession or two, I don't know the time period, we went back to a 2-3 zone. But we probably got some easier baskets in transition through that period and just had some defensive stops, got to the foul line."
Jordan Madden had a three-point play and a layup for five straight points during the burst, which ended on Condrey's layup with 8 1/2 minutes left.
Stanford, which shot 33 percent, never got closer than six the rest of the way.
The Cardinal used backdoor cuts to take a slim lead in the first half and held Griner without a field goal from about nine minutes left in the opening stanza until she scored with about 12 minutes remaining in the game.