Forty up, 40 down. No team could touch the Bears this year.
Baylor earned its second women’s basketball title with a decisive win over an overmatched Notre Dame team that fell just short of the title for the second year in a row.
The Bears became the first team to reach 40 wins in a season, and their undefeated record of 40-0 gives them the 10th undefeated season in women’s history. This team hasn’t quite reached the amazing level of Connecticut from 2009-2010 when it won 90 straight games, including two national championships, but they’re not done yet either.
Post Brittney Griner was her usual self, recording 26 points and 13 rebounds as well as five blocks.
Notre Dame’s semi-famous point guard Skylar Diggins dropped 20 points but didn’t shoot all that well. The rest of her team didn’t either, going just 36 percent from the field. It was clear that Griner and the Bears were on a mission and that they would not be denied a perfect season.
Baylor held a 21 rebound advantage over the Irish in the end, and shot 50 percent on the night. The dominant performance was a fitting end to a season where the Bears were rarely challenged.
Head coach Kim Mulkey knew what she was doing when she recruited Griner to play at Baylor, but even Mulkey has to be surprised at just how well Griner has played thus far in college. Mulkey has laid a solid foundation in Waco, and her coaching tree just supplied Texas with its new coach, Karen Aston.
With Griner set to enter her senior year, and key players like Odyssey Sims and Destiny Williams coming back as well, the Bears are looking to be in contention for another run at a perfect season. The Bears will be an experienced bunch and will have plenty of tournament time under their belts. This is Mulkey’s second title at Baylor, and there’s no sign of her stopping any time soon.
Sure the Bears are enjoying having Griner on the team now, but her presence will also be felt long after she leaves Waco. Players like Griner come along once in a lifetime, and high school girls who are really good at basketball are going to want to identify with her for a long time.
Griner, Robert Griffin III and a resurgent men’s basketball program have helped to put Baylor on the map in the sports world. It has yet to be seen what will come of the football program with RG3 leaving for the NFL, but it seems as if the basketball programs are going to be sticking around for awhile.
Printed on Wednesday, April 4, 2012 as: Griner, company finish perfect 40-0