Tall task for Georgia Tech women's basketball team - undefeated Baylor
BY LUKE MEREDITH Associated Press
Saturday, March 24, 2012
3/24/12 at 5:01 AM
DES MOINES, Iowa - Baylor coach Kim Mulkey insists the Lady Bears aren't focused on the pressure that comes with being unbeaten.
They just want to win the national championship like everyone else.
Fourth-seeded Georgia Tech (26-8) get their shot at taking down the relaxed and mighty Lady Bears (36-0) on Saturday in the semifinals of the Des Moines regional. The winner gets either Tennessee or Kansas on Monday night.
"I don't know that we even think about pressure. We just want to win a national championship like everybody else that's remaining," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. "There's no pressure."
Don't tell that to Georgia Tech, which has the unenviable task of trying to slow down Brittney Griner while hoping the rest of the Lady Bears don't run wild.
Everyone knows about the 6-foot-8 Griner, who is averaging 23.1 points and 9.2 rebounds a game, has 184 blocks and famously dunked in Tuesday's 76-57 romp over Florida in the second round. But the Lady Bears also have Odyssey Sims, who Mulkey believes is the nation's best point guard, along with a strong supporting cast that includes forward Destiny Williams and guard Kimetria Hayden.
Baylor ranks first in the nation in field goal percentage, second in assist-to-turnover ratio and scoring margin and third with 78.8 points per game.
"I don't know what's harder; to guard Brittney Griner or bring the ball up the court against Odyssey Sims. To have that type of talent on the floor, it makes our job easier as a coach," Mulkey said.
Though the Yellow Jackets are deep and athletic, they also know that nobody's stopped Baylor yet for a reason.
"That's what makes them such a difficult team to beat. I mean, at this point in the season, no one's figured that out exactly yet," Georgia Tech coach MaChelle Joseph said. "They've got a great point guard and a great, great center, and then they have role players that have accepted their roles."
Though the focus on Saturday's game will be on the Lady Bears, Georgia Tech's not too shabby either.
Georgia Tech has already notched the best season in school history, reaching the NCAA Tournament's regional semifinals for the first time. Joseph said Friday that this is the deepest and most talented team she's had in nine years on the job - and the Yellow Jackets enter the semifinals on a hot streak.
Georgia Tech has won 13 of its last 15 games, with both losses coming to Maryland, the No. 2 seed in the Raleigh regional. The Yellow Jackets are led by 6-foot-5 center Sasha Goodlett, who averages 14.6 points a game and will be matched up with Griner on both ends, and explosive sophomore shooting guard Tyaunna Marshall.
Freshman Sydney Wallace has had an incredible NCAA Tournament so far, combining for 51 points in Sacred Heart and Georgetown.
"She's been helping us in spurts, pushing us over the edge in several big games down the stretch," Joseph said of Wallace.
Original Print Headline: Tall task for Georgia Tech
Baylor coach Kim Mulkey (left) follows center Brittney Griner during practice in Des Moines, Iowa, on Friday. NATI HARNIK/Associated Press