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Deju vu: Griner dunks, Bears romp

DES MOINES, Iowa — Baylor was cruising, its reserves were waiting to check in and there seemed to be little excitement.

Then Brittney Griner got behind the Georgia Tech defense and everyone in the arena knew what could be coming.

The 6-foot-8 All-American didn't disappoint.

Griner threw down a two-handed dunk to cap a sensational performance, and the Bears stormed into the NCAA Tournament region finals for the third straight year with an 83-68 victory over Georgia Tech on Saturday.

Griner, who had 35 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks, took a pass from Brooklyn Pope and soared in for her dunk with 6:29 left, swinging briefly on the rim for good measure.

"I wanted to get one in this game," said Griner, who was almost nonchalant about her crowd-pleasing play. "Brooklyn got me the ball, and I just went up and slammed it."

It was the second straight game in which Griner dunked and the seventh slam in a game of her college career. She's now tied with former Tennessee star Candace Parker, whose two dunks in NCAA Tournament play had been the most.

"Even though she dunks in warmups all the time, in the game it's just something that automatically just gets us fired up and really excited," Baylor's Odyssey Sims said. "I think we get more excited for her than she does for herself."

Destiny Williams added 18 on 9-for-10 shooting for the top-seeded Bears (37-0), who'll play second-seeded Tennessee in the region final Monday night.

Though her team was hopelessly behind at the time, Georgia Tech coach MaChelle Joseph didn't feel Griner was rubbing it in with her dunk.

"It doesn't bother me," Joseph said. "I think she's great for the game."

Baylor took control with a 20-0 first-half run and never gave fourth-seeded Tech (26-9) a chance to answer.

TENN. 84, KANSAS 73: Sophomore Meighan Simmons scored 16 of her 22 off the bench in the second half, and the Volunteers rallied from a 14-point deficit in Des Moines to advance to their second straight region final and 25th in 31 years.

Glory Johnson added 18 points for the second-seeded Vols (27-8).

It was the 1,098th win for Tennessee coach Pat Summitt, who announced in August she had been diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer's type, and has yet to commit to coaching next season.

"The first half we tend to get ourselves in a hole, but we fought back," said Tennessee associate head coach Holly Warlick. "I thought our bench was outstanding."

The 11th-seeded Jayhawks (21-13) fell to 0-3 in region semifinals.

DUKE 74, ST. JOHN'S 47: Shay Selby took charge in the second half to finish with 18 points and seven assists, leading the second-seeded Blue Devils (25-5) in the Fresno (Calif.) Region semifinals. Duke moved within one win of its first Final Four since 2006. Da'Shena Stevens scored 19 in her final game for the No. 3 seed Red Storm (24-10), which didn't have another player with more than six.

Women's Sweet 16 bracket

region semis region finals Semifinals Semifinals region finals region semis
Today-Sunday Monday April 1 April 1 Tuesday Today-Sunday
DEs Moines reg. 1 Baylor (36-0) Notre Dame (32-3) 1 Raleigh region
about 2:30 today, ESPN about 2:30 Sunday, ESPN2
4 Georgia Tech (26-8) St. B'venture (31-3) 5
Des Moines, Iowa Raleigh, N.C.
11 Kansas (21-12) Maryland (30-4) 3
12:04 today, ESPN 12:04 Sunday, ESPN
2 Tennessee (26-8) Championship, April 3, 8:30 p.m. TV: ESPN Texas A&M (24-10) 2
Denver Denver
Fresno region 1 Stanford (33-1) Connecticut (31-4) 1 Kingston region
about 11:30 tonight, ESPN2 4:34 Sunday, ESPN2
5 South Carolina (25-9) Penn State (26-6) 4
Fresno, Calif. Kingston, R.I.
3 St. John's (24-9) Gonzaga (28-5) 11
9:04 tonight, ESPN about 7 Sunday, ESPN2
2 Duke (26-5) Kentucky (27-6) 2

Women's Sweet 16 bracket

region semis region finals Semifinals Semifinals region finals region semis
Saturday-today Mon.-Tuesday April 1 April 1 Mon.-Tuesday Saturday-today
DEs Moines reg. 1 Baylor 83 Notre Dame (32-3) 1 Raleigh region
Baylor (37-0) about 2:30 today, ESPN2
4 Georgia Tech 68 St. B'venture (31-3) 5
7 Monday, ESPN Raleigh, N.C.
11 Kansas 73 Maryland (30-4) 3
Tennessee (27-8) 12:04 today, ESPN
2 Tennessee 84 Championship, April 3, 8:30 p.m. TV: ESPN Texas A&M (24-10) 2
Denver Denver
Fresno region 1 Stanford (33-1) Connecticut (31-4) 1 Kingston region
late 4:34 today, ESPN2
5 South Carolina (25-9) Penn State (26-6) 4
Fresno, Calif. Kingston, R.I.
3 St. John's 47 Gonzaga (28-5) 11
Duke (25-5) about 7 tonight, ESPN2
2 Duke 74 Kentucky (27-6) 2

Deju vu: Griner dunks, Bears romp 03/24/12 [Last modified: Saturday, March 24, 2012 11:35pm]
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