Tennessee, Baylor advance in Des Moines regional

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The top two seeds in the Des Moines regional have both advanced to Monday night’s regional final, and while that was to be expected the storyline displays the growth of the women’s game.

The top seed is Baylor, and Kim Mulkey’s team has been near unstoppable this season. The Bears have yet to lose a game this season, and it takes a lot more than simply having a game-changer in Brittney Griner to accomplish that.

Griner was dominant in the Bears’ 83-68 win over Georgia Tech, accounting for 35 points, ten rebounds and six blocked shots as she was once again unstoppable.

Oh yeah, she also did this with the game well in hand:

Just five of Baylor’s 38 wins have been by single digits, with Texas Tech being responsible for two of those. And if anyone’s wondering what can be leaned from the Red Raiders keep in mind that Baylor beat them by 24 (72-48) in the Big 12 tournament.

Enter 2-seed Tennessee, who reached the Elite Eight with an 84-73 win over Kansas. For as successful as Pat Summitt has been throughout her illustrious career in Knoxville, when’s the last time she’s been the underdog in a game of this magnitude?

Meighan Simmons supplied 22 points off the bench, with 16 of them coming in the second half, to give the Lady Vols a much-needed boost against the Jayhawks.

Tennessee trailed by as many as 14 (26-12) in the first half against Kansas, and it’s safe to say that such a deficit at the hands of Baylor will get them run out of the building.

Tennessee lost by just nine back on November 27th but Griner scored 17 of her 26 points in the second half, nullifying a 25-point, 12-rebound game from Shekinna Stricklen. The Lady Vols also shot 29% from the field, something that cannot happen in the rematch if they’re to win.

Stanford and Duke will meet in the Fresno regional final on Monday, as they both advanced with wins on Saturday night.

Raphielle Johnson is the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.