Lady Bears Headed To Final Four

Kim Mulkey and the Lady Bears are headed to the Final Four.

The Lady Bears came out and literally swatted away the Lady Vols chances at an upset Monday night in Des Moines, IA. Behind 7 first half blocks from Brittney Griner, the Lady Bears came out with a defensive mindset and some sharp shooting from their guards, and built a 15 point lead going into halftime on their way to a 77-58 win over Tennessee.

While Brittney Griner struggled on the offensive side of the court in the first half, she dominated on the defensive end, recording 7 blocks and punishing Tennessee any time they dared to take the ball inside. Baylor would record 12 blocks on the day as a team.

The Lady Bears starting back court of Kimetria Hayden and Odyssey Sims outscored Tennessee 23-20 in the first half, and ended up with 45 points combined. With Baylor's offensive focal point struggling, the rest of the Lady Bears shot 11-24 from the field, including 5-8 from the three-point line.

In the second half, Tennessee would make several runs, but could cut the lead to less than 9 points. The Lady Vols finished the game shooting just 29.9% from the floor and really struggled to get any consistent offense going. Glory Johnson finished with 21 points and Shekinna Stricklen totaled 20 points.

Odyssey Sims finished the game with a season high 27 points to go along with 3 assists and 3 steals. Griner finished a single block short of her 5th career triple double, ending the game with 9 blocks, 23 points and 15 rebounds.

Outside of trio of Griner, Sims and Hayden, the Lady Bears would just score 9 points, including just 2 from their bench. No bench player for Baylor would convert a field goal attempt. The big difference in this game were the Lady Bears from the 3-point line and the free throw line. Baylor would outscore the Lady Vols by 9 points at the free throw line (17-22 versus 8-12). The Lady Bears would also get 8 three-point field goals on just 15 attempts, versus 4 makes on 21 attempts for Tennessee.

The game would get a little testy in the last minute, as Odyssey Sims and Shekinna Stricklen got into a yelling match. This caused three Lady Bears, including Brittney Griner to leave the bench to act as peace-makers. All three of the ladies were ejected from the game, but should not face any suspensions.

The Lady Bears now advance to the Final Four, their second in 3 years, in search of just 2 more wins for another National Title. This game though might be remembered for something else.

With Tennessee's season ending, the career of legendary coach Pat Summit might be at an end. In her amazing career, she has led the Lady Vols to 8 National Championships, and in fact, this is the first 4-year class under her leadership to not make a Final Four during their Tennessee careers.

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