Roundup: Griner, Sims combine for 50 points to lift Baylor into Final Four
By From Sun news services
Mar 27, 2012 | 12:30 AM
Brittney Griner came within one blocked shot of a tripledouble Monday night as No. 1 Baylor clinched a spot in the women's Final Four with a 77-58 thumping of second-seeded Tennessee in the Des Moines regional final at Wells Fargo Arena.
Griner scored 23 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to go along with nine blocks before being one of three Bears ejected in the final minute for coming off the bench during an altercation.
It's not known whether Griner will have to miss Sunday night's national semifinal against Stanford. However, initial reports on ESPN during the telecast said the ejections were not expected to lead to suspensions.
Odyssey Sims pumped in a game-high 27 points for Baylor (38-0, 18-0 Big 12), which led 35-20 at halftime and never let the lead get below 10 points in the second half. Her five 3-pointers were a game high in the win for the Bears as the team went a total of 8-for-15 from 3-point range.
Shekinna Stricklen scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Lady Vols (27-9, 12-4 Southeastern Conference). Glory Johnson chipped in 19 points on 8-for-17 shooting.
Baylor's defense, ranked sixth in the nation, made the difference. The Bears forced the Lady Vols to 30.3 percent shooting and just 58 points, both well below the 74.5 points and 44.2 percent shooting the team averaged this season.
Johnson's defense kept Tennessee in the game for the first half and most of the second half. She recorded a team-high 14 rebounds and four stealts for the Lady Vols in the loss.
The two combined for 19 of Tennessee's last 22 points in the contest.
The team might have played its last game for legendary coach Pat Summitt. Battling early onset dementia, Alzheimer's type, Summitt hasn't committed to coaching next year.