|Baylor [#1/1 (37-0)] vs. Tennessee [#9/7 (27-8)]
Monday, March 26, 2012 | 6 p.m. CT
Des Moines, Iowa | Wells Fargo Arena (7,000)
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The top-ranked Baylor Lady Bears, NCAA Division I's lone undefeated team with a school-record 37-0 mark, are the NCAA Championships' overall No. 1 seed.
After downing UC Santa Barbara (81-40) in the first round, the Florida Gators in the second round (76-57), and 15thranked Georgia Tech (83-68), Baylor will play in the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight for the third straight year and fourth time overall it takes on second-seeded and ninth-ranked Tennessee (27-8) on Monday, March 26.
Baylor is led by a trio of double-digit scorers on the season. Junior post Brittney Griner, National Player of the Year candidate and 2012 U.S. Olympic Team finalist, leads the Big 12 with 23.4 points per game while sophomore guard Odyssey Sims, an All-America candidate, manages 14.5 a contest, and junior forward/post Destiny Williams adds 10.3 an outing. Junior guard Kimetria Hayden adds 9.0 a game. Williams, Griner and junior forward/post Brooklyn Pope are the team's top rebounders with Griner and Williams each averaging 9.2 a game and Pope manages 5.2 per game. Sims is also averaging 4.4 assists and 3.0 steals per contest while Griner manages a nation's best 5.1 blocks per game.
Monday's matchup between top-ranked Baylor and No. 9 Tennessee is the second meeting this season. On Nov. 27, Baylor downed the then-No. 6 ranked Lady Vols, 76-67, in Knoxville, snapping Tennessee's 38-game home winning streak. Tennessee led 33-31 at halftime but BU outscored the Lady Vols 45-34 in the second half to claim the win. The victory marked Baylor's third straight victory over Tennessee. Griner and Sims combined for 49 points with 26 and 23, respectively, while guard Jordan Madden added 11. Two Lady Vols, Shekinna Stricklen and Vicki Baugh, posted double-doubles as Tennessee outrebounded Baylor 56-42.
• Both of Baylor's basketball teams are competing in the 2012 NCAA Championships. The ninth-ranked Bears have advanced to the tournament's Elite Eight in Atlanta with wins over South Dakota State (68-60), Colorado (80-63) and Xavier (75-70). The Bears will face Kentucky on Sunday, March 25.
• After Kansas' women' s lost to Tennessee, Baylor is the only Big 12 schools with both its men's and women's teams in the 2012 NCAA Tournament and one of two schools all-told (Kentucky is the other).
• Baylor is 10-0 vs. Top 25 teams this season, including 3-0 vs. Top 10 opponents. Baylor's scoring margin vs. ranked opponents is +17.1, while its rebounding margin is +8.3.
• Baylor has already set three Big 12 Conference single-season records and on pace to break four more. Records set - rebounds, 1,675 (breaking own record set last season, 1646); assists, 685 (OU, 677 in 2001); blocks, 292 (BU 277 in 2010).
• Baylor is three points away from a school record for most points in a season in NCAA competition. BU currently has 2,920 points , it scored 2,922 in 2010-11.
• Baylor has outscored its 37 opponents by 27.1 points per game on the season and by 23.9 points a game in Big 12 action.
• Brittney Griner has registered a Big 12 record 583 career blocked shots, and ranks No. 2 on the NCAA Division I Career Top 10 list; she trails record-holder Louella Tomlinson's 663 rejections by 80. At her current pace of 5.1 bpg, Griner will need 16 more games to break the record.
• Brittney Griner has scored 2,363 career points and blocked 583 shots; she is the first player in NCAA Division basketball history to record 2,000 points and 500 blocks (blocked shots were added to the NCAA records beginning with the 1985-86 season).
• At 37-0, Baylor is the nation's only undefeated NCAA Division I team, men's or women's. The 37-0 start is the best in Big 12 history; Nebraska opened the 2009-10 season at 30-0 on its way to a 32-2 finish.
• The Lady Bears own NCAA Division I women's basketball's longest active win streak at 37 games.
• Brittney Griner has improved her free throw shooting from .684 her freshman season to .805 this season, as her scoring average has gone from 18.4 to 23.4.
• Brittney Griner is one of four finalists for the Naismith Trophy.
• Brittney Griner and Odyssey Sims are both State Farm/Wade Trophy finalists.
CAN THEY MAINTAIN PERFECTION?
If Baylor is able to remain perfect this season, it will become the first basketball team, male or female, in NCAA history to produce a 40-0 record. The Lady Bears will have to win three more games in the 2012 NCAA Championship to achieve the feat.
14 undefeated champions: 2010 UConn women (39-0), 2009 UConn women (39-0), 2002 UConn women (39-0), 1998 Tennessee women (39-0), 1995 UConn women (35-0), 1986 Texas women (34-0), 1981 Louisiana Tech women (34-0), 1976 Indiana men (32-0), 1973 UCLA men (30-0), 1972 UCLA men (30-0), 1967 UCLA men (30-0), 1964 UCLA men (30- 0),1957 North Carolina men (32-0), 1956 San Francisco men (29-0),
BAYLOR'S 37 WINS
Baylor is the sixth women's team in the NCAA era to reach the 37-win mark in a single-season, joining:
39--Tennessee, 1998; Connecticut, 2002, 2009, 2010
37--Connecticut, 2003; Baylor, 2012
Baylor's 37-0 start to the season ranks as the fifth-best start since 1982; following Tennessee's 39-0 mark in 1998 and UConn's 39-0 mark in 2002, 2009 and 2010. It's the first 37-0 by a Division I team since UConn in 2003.
LADY BEAR SEEDS
After earning the program's first-ever back-to-back No. 1 seed, Baylor's top seed marks the 10th time in 11 trips to the NCAA Tournament that the Lady Bears have been a top five seed. Baylor was also a No. 1 seed in 2011, a No. 2 seed twice (2002, `05), a No. 3 seed three times (2006, `08, `09), a No. 4 seed twice (2004, `10) and a No. 5 in 2007.