Saturday, November 18, 2017
Sports

Two strangers meet; two rivals meet again

RECOMMENDED READING


DENVER — An hour after losing in last season's region finals, Brittney Griner sent Baylor coach Kim Mulkey a text.

The message was simple: The 6-foot-8 junior phenom took responsibility for the loss and said it wouldn't happen again.

So far Griner has fulfilled her promise, helping Baylor to an undefeated season, two victories away from the first 40-win season in NCAA history.

"She was the only kid that texted me within an hour of the loss," Mulkey said. "She said she was sorry that she didn't deliver. When you have a kid as talented as she is, you knew she was going to come back an even better player. She's stronger, she's forceful. She's dominant."

Standing in the way of a second national title for Baylor (38-0) are Stanford and the Ogwumike sisters. The Cardinal (35-1) is making its fifth straight Final Four trip and is trying for its first title in 20 years.

While Stanford and Baylor haven't played each other in four seasons, the other semifinal features teams who know each other inside and out. Notre Dame and Connecticut are facing each other for the eighth time in the past 14 months.

"I'd much rather play teams you don't know so much about," said Mulkey, who Saturday was named Associated Press coach of the year, with Griner being named player of the year. "I don't think we played Stanford since Nneka is a freshman. Have to make sure I'm not overmedicated and forgotten something. We are familiar with Stanford."

The Huskies and Irish are very familiar with each other. Coaches Geno Auriemma of UConn and Muffet McGraw of Notre Dame say this grudge match will come down to execution and effort, with a dollop of desire mixed in.

"There's no mystery left," Notre Dame guard Brittany Mallory said. "There's not going to be any surprises. It's all about heart, who is going to play the hardest, who is going to execute and play well."

A triumphant finish

STILLWATER, Okla. — Toni Young scored 25, Tiffany Bias had 17 points and 11 assists and Oklahoma State (22-12) ended a season marked by tragedy by beating James Madison (29-8) 75-68 to win its first WNIT championship. Oklahoma State lost head coach Kurt Budke and assistant Miranda Serna in a Nov. 17 plane crash. "I have never been more proud of a group of young ladies than I have this group," said Jim Littell, Budke's former top assistant who took over after the crash. "They set the goal in November to pay honor, and I promise you they paid honor (Saturday) and in this tournament."

Comments

Region football: Clearwater Central Catholic 37, Calvary Christian 10

CLEARWATER — The ice bath ensued for Clearwater Central Catholic coach Chris Harvey after the Marauders’ 37-10 victory over Calvary Christian in Friday’s Class 3A region final. The win placed the Marauders (11-0) in their fifth state tournament since...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Region football: Plant 22, Viera 18

Region football: Plant 22, Viera 18

MELBOURNE — With 1 yard separating Plant from an incredible come-from-behind victory, or a devastating defeat, it all came down to a matter of trust.And for Panthers coach Robert Weiner, there was no one he would put more faith in to get that 1 yard ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Region football: Armwood 22, Hillsborough 0

Region football: Armwood 22, Hillsborough 0

SEFFNER — Hillsborough conquered one nemesis with last week’s win over Class 6A defending state finalist Lake Gibson, the team that knocked the Terriers out of the playoffs in the first round a year ago.But there was an even bigger stumbling block to...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Region football: Ocala Vanguard 35, Mitchell 31

NEW PORT RICHEY — The start wasn’t quite befitting of a playoff game between undefeated teams, but the end of Friday’s war between Ocala Vanguard and Mitchell certainly was.Like last year’s Class 6A regional semifinal, the Mustangs held a three-point...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Region football: Green Cove Springs Clay 52, Zephyrhills 49

Region football: Green Cove Springs Clay 52, Zephyrhills 49

ZEPHYRHILLS — For Zephyrhills, Friday night’s Class 5A region semifinal against Green Cove Springs Clay was doomed by 12 bad minutes. The Bulldogs led by four points at halftime but allowed 28 unanswered points in the third quarter and were not able ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Region football: Lakewood 20, Jesuit 7

Region football: Lakewood 20, Jesuit 7

ST. PETERSBURG — Lakewood came into Friday’s playoff game knowing its defense had to help control field position against Jesuit. The Spartans (9-1) left Friday’s game with a ticket to Immokalee for a region final — and six Tigers (6-5) turnovers en r...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Region football: Tampa Bay Tech 42, Palmetto 26

TAMPA — Another Friday night, another offensive explosion.Tampa Bay Tech’s offense continued its torrid pace and quarterback Michael Penix Jr. accounted for five total touchdowns as the Titans rolled past Palmetto 42-26 in a Class 7A, Region 3 semifi...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Region football: Cambridge Christian 50, Indian Rocks Christian 14

TAMPA — The Cambridge Christian offense was clicking, and quarterback Jaylin Jackson couldn’t seem to be stopped. Still, as the second quarter clock dwindled, Indian Rocks Christian was hanging around.So with just more than a minute left in the half,...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Region football: Naples 24, Largo 0

NAPLES — In a game between two teams that had never met with a lot on the line, the Naples defense came up with one of its best efforts against Largo on Friday night.The Golden Eagles limited the Packers to 117 yards of offense in a 24-0 triumph in t...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Region football: Lakeland 52, Wiregrass Ranch 0

LAKELAND — It has been a historic season for the Wiregrass Ranch Bulls football team, which made consecutive playoff appearances for the first time, won its most games ever and experienced its first playoff victory.If this were a movie, the final sce...
Updated: 5 hours ago