Baylor, Notre Dame complete women’s Final Four field
Whereas the first half of the women’s Elite Eight games saw No. 1 seeds fall, the second half went according to seed with Baylor and Notre Dame advancing to the Final Four.
The top-seeded Lady Bears dominated No. 2 Iowa 85-53 in the Greensboro Regional final Monday night while the top-seeded Fighting Irish stormed back to a 84-68 victory over No. 2 Stanford in the Chicago Regional final.
Iowa (29-7) held a 2-0 lead in the early minutes of their game, but never led again in their loss to Baylor. The Lady Bears, paced by junior forward Lauren Cox’s team-high 22 points, led 41-27 at the half and then stretched that to a 23-point lead at the end of the third quarter.
Cox also had 11 rebounds to go with five assists, two steals and two blocks, while sophomore guard DiDi Richards added her own double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, along with six assists and six steals.
Senior forward Megan Gustafson led the Hawkeyes with 23 points and nine rebounds in the loss.
Notre Dame found itself trailing Stanford 33-26 at the half, but outscored the Cardinal by 13 points in the third quarter and 10 in the fourth to put away the victory.
Junior guard Jackie Young led Notre Dame with 25 points and 10 rebounds, while senior guard Arike Ogunbowale added 21 points and senior forward Jessica Shepard had her own double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds.
Stanford (31-5) was led by sophomore guard Kiana Williams (20 points) and junior guard DiJonai Carrington (18 points) in the loss.
Baylor (35-1) will now face No. 2 Oregon (33-4) in the national semifinals at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida, at 7 p.m. ET Friday while Notre Dame (34-3) will get No. 2 UConn (35-2) in the late game.
The winners will play for the national title on Sunday.