Florida women to face No. 1 Baylor tonight in NCAA Tournament second round
You know that old sports cliche, "To be the best, you've got to beat the best?''
Never is that more appropriate than for the Florida women's basketball team tonight.
The Gators will play top-ranked and No. 1 overall seed Baylor in the NCAA Second Round tonight at the Stroh Center in Bowling Green, Ohio. Tipoff is at 7:05 p.m. and the game will be televised live on ESPN2 and in its entirety on ESPNU beginning at 7:05 p.m.
Baylor is undefeated this season and is the perennial favorite to win the women's NCAA national championship. The Bears are led by the most dominant women's player in the nation, 6-foot-8 junior center Brittney Griner.
"Baylor is an aggressive team," UF head coach Amanda Butler said. "They are well coached. I think one of the things I like about their team so much is how Coach (Kim) Mulkey makes it very simple. She puts her players in position for them to succeed and they play their roles out very well within the structure (Mulkey) provides them."
Florida is 0-9 all-time against No. 1-ranked teams. Playing the top-ranked team in the nation in the NCAA Tournament is nothing new for Butler. The last time her squad played a No. 1-ranked team was in the 2009 NCAA Second Round, when Florida lost at overall-No. 1 seed Connecticut in a game played at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Conn. The Huskies went on to beat the Gators 87-59 and win the NCAA title.
Baylor leads the all-time series against Florida, 3-1. The Bears, which have won the last three games against the Gators, won the 91-76 decision on March 22, 2004 in the NCAA Second Round played in Albuquerque, N.M. Two of the four meetings between Florida and Baylor were part of a national tournament. The Gators defeated the Bears 70-58 in Waco on Nov. 16, 1998 the second round of the Preseason WNIT.
The women are getting all kinds of support via social media from their fellow Gator athletes. One of the best came from former New Port Richey star, and current Gator DT Leon Orr who Tweeted: "Good luck to all my Lady Gators tonight! She's (Griner) big (really big), but she lace up her shoes jus like yall! #GoGators.''