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Baylor women defeat LSU, advance to national championship

INDIANAPOLIS (BP)–Baylor University used solid defense to defeat top-seeded Louisiana State 68-57 April 3 in Indianapolis and advance to the NCAA women’s national championship title game.

The Lady Bears, whose record was 7-20 just six seasons ago, take a 19-game winning streak into the championship game April 5 against fellow Final Four newcomer Michigan State, which edged perennial powerhouse Tennessee in the semifinals.

Baylor (32-3) saw LSU jump out to a 15-point lead early in the game, but the Lady Bears steadily turned the game around in the third-largest comeback in Final Four history. Sophia Young led Baylor with 21 points.

“Wow! That’s a good team we just beat,” an elated Kim Mulkey-Robertson, Baylor’s coach, said after the game.

Before she left for Indianapolis, Mulkey-Robertson, the Big 12 Coach of the Year, signed a contract extension through the 2010-11 season.

Baylor junior guard Chameka Scott said although the team is thrilled with its success, one goal remains.

“In the back of your head you’ve been thinking about it as far back as June and as it got closer we started to realize more and more that it could actually happen,” she said during a news conference April 4. “So I think that part of the success that we have had is just focusing each game one at a time and not looking too far ahead. Now that we’re finally here it’s so close and it’s too close to lose focus now. So we’re just going to consider it as just another game and come in with our heads right.”

The Lady Bears’ NCAA tournament run is a bright spot for a school whose men’s basketball program has been through tough times recently. In 2003, men’s player Patrick Dennehy was missing for six weeks before his body was found and former player Carlton Dotson was charged in his death. NCAA violations were later uncovered in the program.

Baylor University is the largest Baptist-affiliated university in the world.

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