The Baylor Bears and the Stanford Cardinal have secured their spots in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four in Denver.
In the Des Moines Regional, overall number one seed Baylor defeated NCAA hoops’ winningest coach, Pat Summit, and her number two seed Tennessee team on Monday night. The Bears won 77-58, but it was not without a late game clash between Baylor’s Odyssey Sims and Tennesee’s Shekinna Stricklen. The heated exchange brought Bears star Brittany Griner and two of her teammates off the bench to calm the argument, and resulted in their ejection from the game. Even without Griner, Baylor powered their way to the win and Odyssey Sims was the top scorer for her team with 27 points.
Despite the loss, Tennesee is still in the limelight as questions swirl concerning head coach Pat Summit’s future with the team. Summit was diagnosed with early onset dementia in the summer of 2011, and took a reduced role on the team for this season. Some fear the Elite Eight matchup with Baylor could be the Hall of Fame coach’s last game in college basketball.
Baylor will face fellow number one seed Stanford in the Final Four after the Cardinal’s 81-69 win over number two seed Duke in the Fresno Regional. This marks the fifth consecutive season the Cardinal have made it to the Final Four, a record matching feat completed only by Stanford, Connecticut, and LSU. Nneka Ogwumike scored an outstanding 29 points to support the Cardinal victory while little sister Chiney grabbed 17 rebounds.
Next up in the NCAA Women’s Tournament, the other two Final Four teams will be decided Tuesday night as number two seed Kentucky faces number one seed Connecticut at 7pm in the Kingston Regional and number two seed Maryland faces number one seed Notre Dame at 9pm. This is the first time in college basketball history that every Elite Eight match up has featured all the number one and number teams.