Women’s tourney: Griner leads Baylor in upset over Tennessee | NevadaAppeal.com

Women’s tourney: Griner leads Baylor in upset over Tennessee

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – Brittney Griner had 27 points and 10 blocks to lead fourth-seeded Baylor to a 77-62 win over top-seeded Tennessee on Saturday and advance to the NCAA tournament regional final against Duke.

Tennessee tried putting as many as four players on Griner at a time to stop her in the paint but to no avail. Griner hit several shots while double-teamed or passed to an open Lady Bears teammate for an easy layup.

The Lady Volunteers were up 55-50 with just under eight minutes left. Griner hit back-to-back layups and had a three-point play as part of a 21-1 run as Baylor (26-9) marched toward only its second round of eight appearance in history.

Tennessee (32-3) turned to its shooters for help but managed to hit only 32.9 percent. The Lady Vols allowed the Lady Bears a season-high 49.1 percent shooting.

Baylor’s only other appearance in the round of eight was in 2005, the same year it won the national championship.

Griner has 26 blocks in the NCAA tournament to move into second place on the season list. Duke’s Alison Bales holds the tournament record with 30 in 2006.

The Lady Vols’ loss spoiled the highly anticipated matchup between Tennessee and Connecticut, which could have happened in this year’s national semifinals. The Lady Vols, who lost in the first round last season, haven’t missed out on back-to-back Final Fours since 1993-94.

Duke 66, No. 11 San Diego State 58

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – Jasmine Thomas matched her career-high with 29 points, and Duke beat San Diego State to reach the Memphis regional final.

With the win, the Blue Devils (30-5) notched their eighth 30-win season in the past decade and moved to their first regional final since 2006 when they lost in overtime to Maryland in the national championship game.

San Diego State (23-11) upset two ranked teams to reach this game for the first time since the tournament expanded to 64 in 1994. But the Aztecs’ bid to become the first double-digit seed to play in a regional final since that expansion failed as they missed their first 10 shots of the second half.

Duke led 35-34 after a tight first half, and the Blue Devils scored the first 10 points of the second half to take advantage of the Aztecs’ cold shooting.

Sacramento Regional

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Jayne Appel had 17 points and five rebounds in 24 minutes while playing on a tender right ankle and top-seeded Stanford rolled into the regional final Monday night against third-seeded Xavier.

Kayla Pedersen added 13 points and matched her season high with 15 rebounds and Nnemkadi Ogwumike 11 points and 11 boards in the 25th straight win for the Cardinal (34-1) since losing at No. 1 Connecticut. Stanford moved one step closer to that anticipated rematch with the undefeated Huskies, whose last lost was to Stanford in the national semifinals two years ago.

Anne Marie Armstrong scored eight points to lead fifth-seeded Georgia (25-9), which couldn’t handle Stanford’s height advantage and trailed by as many as 40 points.

Xavier 74, Gonzaga 56

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Ta’Shia Phillips had 22 points and 14 rebounds, Katie Rutan added 15 points and Xavier rumbled into its first NCAA tournament regional final in nine years with its 21st straight victory.

Amber Harris had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the imposing Musketeers (30-3), who broke free of the Zags early in the second half of a game that ended after 1:30 a.m. back home in Cincinnati.

Xavier’s punishing low-post tandem of the 6-foot-6 Phillips and the 6-5 Harris was just too tall and too tough for Gonzaga (29-5), which had its own 20-game winning streak snapped at the close of the most successful season in school history.