Baylor women in 3rd straight Elite 8 with 78-58 win over FSU
DALLAS >> Nina Davis scored 30 points and Baylor is going to the Elite Eight for the third straight year after a 78-58 victory over Florida State on Saturday.
The Lady Bears (36-1), the No. 1 seed in the Dallas Regional, went ahead to stay with a 15-3 run to end the first quarter after an early flurry of turnovers led to frustrated coach Kim Mulkey calling timeout.
Alexis Jones added 15 points, nine rebounds and five assists for Baylor, which has a 23-game winning streak. Khadijiah Cave had 10 rebounds.
Leticia Romero had 11 points for fifth-seeded Florida State (25-8), which made consecutive Sweet 16 appearances for the first time in school history. Ivey Slaughter, Shakayla Thomas and Brittany Brown each had 10 points.
It was only the fifth time this season the Seminoles were held below 65 points. They had a season-low 49 points against UConn in mid-December and had scored 56 three other times.
Big 12 champion Baylor lost to Notre Dame in regional finals each of the previous two seasons, but will be facing Oregon State or DePaul this time.
Notre Dame was a No. 1 seed in a different regional, and got beat by Stanford on Friday night when another No. 1 seed, South Carolina, also lost. But the top seeds won Saturday, with three-time defending national champion UConn rolling past Mississippi State 98-38 earlier in the day.
When President Barack Obama filled out his women's NCAA Tournament bracket, Baylor was the only No. 1 seed he didn't pick to go to the Final Four. The president had the Lady Bears and Florida State getting to this point, and picked the Seminoles for his "one big upset."
While it looked like that might happen early, things started to change after Mulkey called timeout with 4:23 left in the first quarter following Baylor's fifth turnover in less than 3 minutes. Florida State up 12-9 after Kai James' steal led to a 3-pointer by Maria Conde.
Kristy Wallace, the guard who had a quick turnover after going into the game for the first time, was hearing it from a clearly agitated Mulkey when she was heading toward the bench.
Wallace responded after the timeout with a tying 3-pointer from the top of the key, and then had a big defensive rebound and another 3-pointer before the first quarter ended with a buzzer-beating 3 from Jones that made it 24-15 and put a huge smile on Mulkey's face.
Florida State missed its last seven shots of the first half, and went scoreless the final 3:28 with four turnovers in that span. Baylor had a 40-24 lead at the break, and Davis then scored 11 of her points in the third quarter.
Florida St.: The Seminoles are 2-2 in Sweet 16 games, and have never gotten to the Final Four. ... Florida State is 0-2 against Baylor, both NCAA Tournament games. The Seminoles lost 85-47 in a second-round game at Waco in 2013. ... Romero also had 10 turnovers.
Baylor: The Lady Bears are 7-4 in Sweet 16 games under Mulkey, and are now trying to get to their fourth Final Four — all in the coach's 16 seasons. ... Baylor is 8-1 in the American Airlines Center, only about 100 miles from its Waco campus. ... Jones has scored the first points in all three of Baylor's NCAA games.
Baylor: Plays Oregon State or DePaul in Dallas Regional final on Monday night.
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