Des Moines Region
No. 1 Baylor 77, ?No. 2 Tennessee 58
Baylor has just two wins to go for 40-0. Tennessee’s future is far less certain.
Brittney Griner had 23 points, 15 rebounds and nine blocks before being ejected with less than a minute left and top-seeded Baylor rolled over Tennessee 77-58 Monday night in Des Moines, Iowa, to advance to the Final Four.
Shekinna Strickland had 22 points for Tennessee (27-9), whose seniors became its first four-year class not to reach a Final Four.
The second-seeded Vols now face an uncertain future, as Pat Summitt has yet to say if she’ll return for a 39th season as Tennessee coach. She announced in August she’d been diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type.
The Bears (38-0), who are back in the national semifinals for the second time in three years, will face either Stanford or Duke on Sunday night in Denver.
Baylor’s Odyssey Sims, who led the Bears with 27 points, tumbled to the floor with 46.8 seconds left, and she and Strickland had to be separated. No punches were thrown, but Griner and teammates Terran Condrey and Jordan Madden were ejected for leaving the bench.
The NCAA says none of the players will be suspended for the Final Four.
Should Baylor win it all next week, it’ll become the first men’s or women’s team in NCAA history to finish a year with 40 wins.
As for Summitt, she was given a standing ovation from Tennessee and Baylor fans alike when she came out roughly 15 minutes before tipoff. But as defeat became apparent, she sat silently on the bench with her legs crossed.
Summitt has 1,098 wins, more than any basketball coach in NCAA history.