DENVER — Brittney Griner had 13 points and nine rebounds to lead unbeaten Baylor to a 59-47 win over Stanford on Sunday night and into the women’s NCAA championship game.
Baylor (39-0) is one victory from becoming the seventh team to finish unbeaten and has a chance at being the first team in NCAA history to win 40 games in a season.
The Lady Bears will face Notre Dame on Tuesday night for the title.
The Irish beat Connecticut 83-75 in an overtime thriller in the first semifinal.
Baylor and Notre Dame met in the preseason WNIT final, with the Lady Bears winning in Waco, Texas, 94-81 on Nov. 17.
Stanford (35-2) fell short in the Final Four for the fifth consecutive season, ending its school-record 32-game winning streak.
An hour after losing in last season’s regional finals, Griner sent Baylor coach Kim Mulkey a text.
The message was simple: the 6-foot-8 junior phenom took responsibility for the loss and said it wouldn’t happen again.
So far Griner has fulfilled her promise.
“She was the only kid that texted me within an hour of the loss,” Mulkey said. “She said she was sorry that she didn’t deliver. When you have a kid as talented as she is, you knew she was going to come back an even better player. She’s stronger, she’s forceful. She’s dominant.”
Baylor has been focused with the mantra of “Unfinished Business” all season long. Every player on the team is wearing a wristband with the two words on it. Mulkey said the team used the same motto the year it won its only title in 2005. The Lady Bears had been knocked out the year before on a tough last-second lost.