Baylor advances to Elite Eight after beating Florida State
Baylor cruises past FSU, advance to Elite Eight
Nina Davis score a game-high 30 points on 12-of-18 shooting as the Lady Bears beat the Seminoles 78-58 and move onto the Elite Eight.
DALLAS -- Kim Mulkey was clearly frustrated when she called an early timeout after Baylor fell behind because of a quick flurry of turnovers.
"We were sloppy, so you just kind of call a timeout to change momentum and settle down," said Mulkey, who by the end of that opening quarter had a huge smile on her face.
The Lady Bears had quite a response, and are on the way to the Elite Eight for the third straight year after a 78-58 victory over Florida State on Saturday.
"They were getting anything they wanted," Nina Davis said. "We needed a timeout to regroup and remember why we were here and what was on the line. And after that, we were fine."
Davis had her second consecutive 30-point game in the women's NCAA tournament, and the Lady Bears (35-1) went ahead to stay with a 15-3 run in the final 4 1/2 minutes of the first quarter.
Alexis Jones added 15 points, nine rebounds and five assists for Baylor, the No. 1 seed in the Dallas Regional and with a 23-game winning streak. Khadijiah Cave had 10 rebounds when the junior got her most extensive action in two months after two freshman posts got into early foul trouble.
Leticia Romero had 11 points for fifth-seeded Florida State (25-8), which made consecutive Sweet 16 appearances for the first time in school history. Ivey Slaughter, Shakayla Thomas and Brittany Brown each had 10 points.
It was only the fifth time this season the Seminoles were held below 65 points. They had a season-low 49 points against UConn in mid-December and had scored 56 three other times.
"We got beat by a great team," said Sue Semrau, who finished her 19th season as Florida State coach. "I think, too, that I'm proud of what this team was able to accomplish. I think we really had to find ourselves ... We were able to put together a pretty good run down the stretch."
Big 12 champion Baylor lost to Notre Dame in regional finals each of the previous two seasons, but this time will be facing Pac-12 champion Oregon State (31-4). The Bears beat DePaul 83-71 later Saturday.
Notre Dame was a No. 1 seed in a different regional, and got beat by Stanford on Friday night when another No. 1 seed, South Carolina, also lost. But the top seeds won Saturday, with three-time defending national champion UConn rolling past Mississippi State 98-38 earlier in the day.
When President Barack Obama filled out his women's NCAA tournament bracket, Baylor was the only No. 1 seed he didn't pick to go to the Final Four. The president had the Lady Bears and Florida State getting to this point, and picked the Seminoles for his "one big upset."
It looked like that might be possible after Baylor had just committed its fifth turnover in less than 3 minutes. Florida State was up 12-9, after Kai James' steal led to a 3-pointer by Maria Conde, when Mulkey called timeout.
Kristy Wallace, the guard who had a quick turnover after going into the game for the first time, was hearing it from a clearly agitated Mulkey when she was heading toward the bench.
Wallace responded after the timeout with a tying 3-pointer from the top of the key, and then had a big defensive rebound and another 3-pointer before the first quarter ended with a buzzer-beating 3 from Jones that made it 24-15 and had Mulkey smiling.
"We just needed re-group, and defensively get back down the floor," Wallace said, before ending with a laugh. "We were instructed to do that."
CAVE'S CHANCE: Cave, a junior, entered her 111th game for the Lady Bears a minute into the second quarter when Beatrice Mompremier and Kalani Brown both had two fouls. Cave's 21 minutes were her most since Jan. 23, and the two freshmen each played 8 minutes. "I didn't have to play my two freshman bigs after they got in foul trouble. And I thought let KK do this," Mulkey said. "KK is patiently waited her turn to shine. ... It was just good to see."
Florida St.: The Seminoles missed their last seven shots of the first half, and went scoreless the final 3:28 with four turnovers in that span. They trailed 40-24 at the break. ... The Seminoles are 2-2 in Sweet 16 games, and have never gotten to the Final Four. ... Florida State is 0-2 against Baylor, both NCAA tournament games. The Seminoles lost 85-47 in a second-round game at Waco in 2013. ... Romero had 10 turnovers.
Baylor: The Lady Bears are 7-4 in Sweet 16 games under Mulkey, and are now trying to get to their fourth Final Four -- all in the coach's 16 seasons. ... Baylor is 8-1 in the American Airlines Center, only about 100 miles from its Waco campus. ... Jones has scored the first points in all three of Baylor's NCAA games.
Baylor: Plays Oregon State in Dallas Regional final on Monday night.
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- Tina Napier
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