Lady Bears defeat Stanford to move on

The Lady Bears defeated the Stanford Cardinal to earn a chance at their second National Championship Tuesday night against Notre Dame.

The Lady Bears are just one win away from getting their 40th win and getting their second national championship after beating the Stanford Cardinal 59-47. Behind the strong play of Britney Griner and Odyssey Sims all year, they have bested every opponent that has faced them.

Sunday night however, it was neither of their two All-Americans that carried them to victory. Terran Condrey scored 13 points, including hitting all 4 of her second half shots to give the Bears the answer to Stanford's unique defense. The Senior Condrey had averaged less than 2 points per game in the NCAA tournament and less than 5 points per game on the season.

The Cardinal double teamed AP Player of the Year Britney Griner all game, leaving one of the Lady Bears wide open. They dared Condrey and Jordan Madden to hit shots all game. The duo combined to shoot 9 of 20 from the floor for 22 total points.

With both teams shooting poorly during the whole game, all of the points either team could get from unexpected sources proved to be vital. Stanford got 22 of their points from Nneka Ogwumike, but did not have another player in double digits, while the Lady Bears had three players over 10 points.

Griner shot just 9 shots, making three of them for a modest 13 points while also contributing 9 rebounds and 2 blocks. Odyssey Sims finished with 11 points, but 7 of those were in the last few minutes.

With the lead down to 7 and the Lady Bears in a 4 minutes drought, Coach Mulkey called timeout and drew up a perfect play to get Sims an open jumper which she hit to get the lead back up to 10. After that play, Sims would finish a tough layup and also add two free throws to get Baylor to another championship game.

With both teams shooting poorly in the first half, the Lady Bears ended the first 20 minutes with a 2 point lead, despite Stanford holding the lead for the majority of the half. The Cardinal used their defense to slow down Baylor, but also used their offense to get Griner away from the basket and do back door screens on the aggressive guards for Baylor. With Griner not there to clean up the mistakes, Stanford converted several wide open layups. Outside of those plays though, they did not hit much else this game.

They hit just 2 of 17 three-point shots, and only got to the free throw line 7 times, hitting 5. The Cardinal did a good job of hitting the offensive glass, getting 11 offensive rebounds converting those extra chances into 11 second chance points. The lack of offense through was the Cardinal undoing, with so many shots having to be rushed or taken off balance due to the presence of Griner.

This was the 5th Final Four in a row for the Stanford Cardinal, and in the previous four appearances, they have lost to the eventual National Champion. The Lady Bears hope that streak continues as they move on to play Notre Dame in the finals on Tuesday night. This is the 2nd matchup this year between the two teams, with Baylor defeating the Fighting Irish 94-81 in Waco, TX on November 20th. At the time, it was a matchup of the #1 and #2 teams in the rankings. Now it will be to decide the best team at the end of the year.

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