SAN ANTONIO — Their regular-season showdown in January was canceled due to a COVID-19 situation, however girls’s basketball titans UConn and Baylor will meet in 2021 in spite of everything — in Monday’s NCAA match River Stroll Regional last. And after her staff survived a detailed name Saturday in opposition to No. 6 seed Michigan — 78-75 in additional time — Baylor coach Kim Mulkey stated their Elite Eight recreation will match power to power.
“You are taking a look at two packages that worth protection,” Mulkey stated. “I believe Baylor and UConn are within the high three within the nation in area objective share protection. You then take a look at rebounding. Which may clarify to you why each packages are revered throughout the nation.
“So, yeah, it might be an unsightly recreation. Once I say ugly, it might be low scoring, it might be some turnovers. Some individuals wish to say boring. It is probably not 80 and 90. I do not know.”
Coming into Saturday, No. 2 seed Baylor was certainly first in area objective share protection (31.7) and No. 1 seed UConn third (32.9), with Alamo Regional No. 1 seed Stanford second at 32.7. Within the Candy 16 victories, Baylor allowed Michigan to shoot 46%, and UConn allowed Iowa to shoot 43.3%.
Baylor went on a COVID-19 pause in January after Mulkey contracted the coronavirus, which is why Geno Auriemma’s Huskies and the Woman Bears did not meet then.
“It is two packages which are very proud,” Mulkey stated. “I am actually not going to outcoach Geno, so our gamers, they higher compete and attempt to outplay his gamers.
“It is rather troublesome to maintain one thing that’s an elite degree. You see packages who’re Cinderellas, they do that — up and down — then you definitely see those who keep sort of within the center, have good packages. We wish to keep up right here and we wish to play for championships.”
The Woman Bears are the defending nationwide champions, successful their third title in 2019. UConn has 11 NCAA titles, the newest in 2016, and has reached 12 consecutive Remaining Fours. This would be the second time the groups have met within the NCAA match. It appeared as if they’d face off for the NCAA title in 2013, when Baylor was defending champion. However the Woman Bears had been upset that 12 months within the Candy 16 by Louisville, and UConn received the primary of 4 consecutive championships behind Breanna Stewart.
The sequence file is tied 4-4, with the primary assembly coming within the 2010 NCAA match semifinals right here on the Alamodome. UConn, then on its approach to a second consecutive good season, received 70-50.
Since then, three UConn-Baylor video games had been determined by six factors or fewer. Three others had 11-point margins. Final season’s 74-58 Baylor victory in Hartford, Connecticut, was shut — 55-52 by way of three quarters — earlier than the Woman Bears dominated the fourth quarter and outscored the Huskies 19-6.
Protection has performed an enormous position in Baylor’s victories over UConn. Within the Woman Bears’ 68-57 win in January 2019, they held UConn to 29.4% from the sector, the Huskies’ worst taking pictures share in 20 years. In 2020, the Huskies shot only a bit worse in opposition to Baylor: 29.0%.
After successful their first two NCAA match video games this 12 months by 49 and 42 factors, Baylor needed to sweat out the victory Saturday in opposition to a Michigan staff making its first look within the Candy 16.
“The deeper you go, the harder the opponent and the tighter the video games,” Mulkey stated. “I suppose you might say that we did sufficient on the offensive and defensive finish to win the sport in additional time.”
Baylor junior NaLyssa Smith, who tied an NCAA match area objective share file Saturday by going 11-for-11 on the best way to 24 factors, stated of dealing with UConn: “Oh, we’re very excited. A chance to play a high staff is what we thrive [on] probably the most.”