Regional Final - April 2 (Tuesday) Winner game 1 vs. Winner game 2 - ESPN/WatchESPN.com - 8:00 p.m.
No. 1/1 Baylor Faces Louisville in NCAA Round of 16... The top-ranked Baylor Lady Bears, NCAA Division I’s defending national champion and 34-1 on the season, compete in the NCAA Championship for the second straight year as the tournament’s overall No. 1 seed.
With its second-round win over No. 23/24 Florida State (85-47), Baylor advanced to the NCAA Championship Sweet 16 for the fifth straight season and eighth time in 12 tries. The Lady Bears are 4-3 in NCAA Championship Sweet 16 contests.
This will be the second NCAA Tournament matchup between Baylor and Louisville, as Cardinals defeated BU, 56-39, in 2009 Sweet 16 action at Raleigh, N.C. Louisville advanced to the 2009 title game where it lost to Connecticut.
Baylor in the NCAA Tournament... Baylor is competing in its 10th straight and 12th all-time NCAA Tournament, as all appearances have come since head coach Kim Mulkey assumed the program’s helm. BU is 30-9 (.769) in NCAA Tournament games, including 11-1 in first round games, 8-3 in second round games, 4-3 in the Sweet 16, 3-1 in the Elite Eight, 2-1 in the national semifinals and 2-0 in championship games.
The Lady Bears are playing in their second NCAA Championship Sweet 16 contest in the state of Oklahoma. In its first-ever Sweet 16 game, Baylor lost to Tennessee (71-69) in the 2004 NCAA Championships’ round of 16 in the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla.
Baylor seeks to become just the third program (2005 & ‘12) to win three-or-more national crowns; Tennessee owns a nation’s best eight championships while UConn earned seven titles.
Over the past seven games, Baylor is shooting .578 from the floor, .392 from 3-point range and .754 from the free throw line. Over that same span, Brittney Griner is averaging 32.0 points and 11.3 rebounds a game while shooting .687 from the floor.
Baylor seeks to become just the fourth team to win back-to-back NCAA titles; joining Southern California, Tennessee (twice) and Connecticut (twice) in accomplishing the rare feat. Louisiana Tech won the final AIAW crown in 1981 and the first NCAA title in 1982 with Kim Mulkey as the Lady Techster’s starting point guard.
Baylor’s speed is apparent on offense as it has outscored its opponent 240-78 in fast break points, 136-57 in Big 12 play.
Points in the paint - Baylor 1,709 (48.8 ppg)/Opponent 628 (17.9 ppg); Big 12 play - BU 873 (48.5 ppg)/Opponent 306 (17.0 ppg).
The Lady Bears’ school-record 57-game home win streak ranks No. 1 nationally.
Baylor owns the nation’s longest win streak in 2012-13 with 32 straight victories.
Brittney Griner, with 389 points in NCAA Championship play, needs to score 91 points to break Chamique Holdsclaw’s (Tennessee) record of 469 points. With a possible four games remaining, she would need to average 22.5 points per game over the four games to surpass Holdsclaw’s mark.
Baylor is 108-4 (.964) over the past three seasons, 34-3 in 2010-11, 40-0 last season and 34-1 in 2012-13. In that same span, BU is 60-1 in Big 12 play (51-1 in regular season and 9-0 in Big 12 Tournament).
97 of Baylor’s 108 wins over the last three seasons have been by 10 or more points, and only five times has its winning margin been five or fewer points.
BU is 74-1 over the past two seasons
2012-13 National Player of the Year favorite and Big 12 Player of the Year Brittney Griner, a 6-8 senior post, leads BU in scoring and rebounding with a league-leading and career-high 24.1 points and 9.4 boards per game. Griner currently has 3,269 career points, 1,295 career rebounds, and NCAA records of 746 blocks and 18 dunks to her credit. Griner recently became the Big 12’s all-time scoring leader and the NCAA career block record holder (746), men or women. She already owns the NCAA record for career dunks (18) and ranks No. 2 on the NCAA’s career scoring list. Griner leads the nation in field goal percentage (.610), ranks No. 2 in both blocked shots (4.1) and scoring (24.1), No. 4 in triple doubles (1).
Junior point guard and All-American candidate Odyssey Sims, who averages 12.4 points an outing, also dishes out 5.8 assists per game. Sims shoots .476 from the field, including .338 from 3-point range. Sims ranks No. 1 nationally in assist/turnover ratio (2.8).
In Baylor’s two NCAA Championship games, Brittney Griner is averaging 33.0 points, 16.0 rebounds, 5.0 blocks and 3.5 assists per game. In addition, she is shooting .692 (27-39) from the floor and .706 (12-17) from the charity stripe.
Griner has thrown down four dunks over the two games, one against Prairie View A&M and three vs. Florida State. All told, she has six dunks in four years of NCAA Championship play.
Baylor NCAA Championship Records...
Brittney Griner owns three NCAA Championship records: Blocks in a game - 14 vs. Georgetown, March 22, 2010 (Berkeley, Calif.) Blocks in a series - 40 in 2010 (5 games) Career blocks - 103 in 17 games
Baylor owns the single-game record for team blocks with 16 vs. Georgetown, March 22, 2010.
A record to keep an eye on - Griner has scored 389 points in NCAA Championship play (17 games), the record is 479 points by Chamique Holdsclaw (Tennessee, 1996-99, 22 games), UConn’s Maya Moore (2008-11) follows with 476. Griner currently ranks No. 5 on the NCAA Championship career scoring chart.
Griner needs to score 91 points to break the record. With a possible four games remaining, she would need to average 22.5 points per game over the four games to surpass the Holdsclaw’s mark (479).
The ONLY women’s basketball coach, and one of only three in men’s and women’s basketball (joining Bob Knight and Dean Smith), who have won a national championship as both a player and coach.
The ONLY basketball coach to win a national championship as a head coach, assistant coach and player.
The first individual ever to play for a women’s team ranked No. 1 among AP voters while also later becoming coach of a team selected to No. 1.
Located in Louisville, Ky., the Louisville Cardinals bring their 26-8 season record to the NCAA Championship Sweet 16 when they face the Lady Bears on Sunday night. The fifth-seeded Cardinals enter the contest after posting homecourt NCAA Tournament wins over Middle Tennessee (74-49) and 22nd-ranked and fourth-seeded Purdue (76-63).
Louisville is making its 15th NCAA Tournament appearance, including its seventh trip in the last eight years. The Cardinals have reached the NCAA Sweet 16 in four of the past seven seasons.
Junior Shoni Shimmel, a 5-10 guard , leads the Cardinals in double-digit scoring with 13.9 points per game. Sophomore forward Sara Hammond (6-3) completes Louisville’s double-digit scoring averaging a team-leading 10.8 points a contest and leads the team in rebounding at 6.6 an outing. Three players, Monique Reed, Antonita Slaughter and Bria Smith, average just under double figures with 9.7, 9.7 and 9.2 points per game, respectively.
The Cardinals are coached by sixth-year head coach Jeff Walz, a 1995 Northern Kentucky University graduate. Walz is 145-64 (.694) in his six seasons as Louisville’s head coach.
Louisville leads the series 1-0, as it downed the Lady Bears, 56-39, in Sweet 16 action of the 2009 NCAA Championship in Raleigh, N.C. (March 28, 2009).
The two teams have met only once previously and ironically, it was in Sweet 16 action. In the 2009 NCAA Championships, Louisville, a No. 3 seed, dealt the third-seeded Lady Bears their worst loss in NCAA Tournament play when they downed BU, 56-39, at Raleigh, N.C.
The Cardinals went on the play in the NCAA Tournament’s title game that season and fell to Connecticut, 76-54.