Baylor Starts March Toward Defending National Title
Courtesy: Big12Sports.com
          Release: 03/23/2013
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By Wendell Barnhouse | wendell@big12sports.com
Big12Sports.com Correspondent

Unlike the NCAA men's tournament, which has never had a No. 16 seed beat a No. 1 seed, that Cinderella story has been written once in the NCAA women's tournament. Harvard, as a No. 16 seed, defeated top-seeded Stanford in 1998.

That preceding paragraph is presented as a fact. And the fact is that the odds are microscopic that No. 16 seed Prairie View can defeat defending national champion and top seed Baylor in the first round of the women's NCAA Tournament Sunday (6:40 p.m., ESPN2). The Lady Bears (32-1) are not only playing on their home court but they're facing the team considered at the bottom of this year's seed list.

Baylor is the No. 1 overall seed with the nation's-best 55-game winning streak at home, where they play their tourney opener.

"We're not overlooking anybody, but this is why we're playing and this is our goal," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. "We're not afraid to tell people it's our goal to defend our championship."

These teams played in the first round of the NCAA tournament two years ago and the Lady Bears came away with a 36-point win.

The Lady Panthers (17-14) have won eight in a row after starting 9-14, including a wild 100-87, four-overtime victory over Mississippi Valley State in the SWAC tournament championship game, but they have a big problem to deal with Sunday in All-American Brittney Griner.

Griner is the Big 12 career scoring leader with 3,203 points, 190 short of the NCAA record with no more than six games left. She also is the NCAA career leader in blocked shots with 736 and has 14 dunks, the most by a women's college player.

Oklahoma City Region
No. 1 Baylor (32-1) vs. No. 16 Prairie View (17-14)
6:40 p.m. Sunday, Waco, ESPN2.

Coaches: Kim Mulkey, Baylor; Toyelle Wilson, Prairie View.

Why they're here: Baylor won the automatic bid from the Big 12. Prairie View won the automatic bid from the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

Scouting the Lady Bears: The defending national champions have won 30 consecutive games and only two of those have been single digits. Brittney Griner is on her way to another national player of the year award. She's averaging 23.6 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. Baylor limits its opponents to 32.8 percent shooting from the field and 28.6 percent from 3-point range. The Lady Bears have made more free throws (457) than their opponents have attempted (370).

Scouting the Lady Panthers: Latia Williams, a 5-10 senior guard, is playing in the NCAA Tournament for the fourth consecutive year. She was named the Southwestern Athletic Conference player of the year. The Lady Panthers figure to have a difficult time scoring against Baylor as they average less than 57 points a game on 40 percent shooting. Prairie View's top players are shorter than all but Baylor starting point guard Odyssey Sims. The Panthers have won eight consecutive games, including the SWAC championship game that went four overtimes and earned Prairie View the NCAA automatic bid.

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