Phenomenal freshman Brittney Griner caught a pass, spun around and hit a short jumper with 45 seconds left to propel fourth-seeded Baylor to a 51-48 win over No. 2 seed Duke on Monday night for its second trip ever to the Final Four.
"I knew we needed that bucket so I did everything I could to get position and to have (the defender) pinned behind me and step through and go up strong," Griner said.
The 6-foot-8 Griner and her teammates hoisted Kim Mulkey onto their shoulders so the coach could cut down the net. Mulkey led the Lady Bears to their only other appearance in the national semifinals in 2005 en route to the national championship.
"I've never had players tall enough to lift me to cut the net so that's a first," Mulkey said.
Duke led the entire second half until Griner's basket and by as much as 10 points. The Blue Devils held a 46-38 advantage with 4:59 left before a pair of free throws by Kimetria Hayden launched a 13-2 run for the Lady Bears.
Griner has 35 blocks through four tournament games, breaking the previous record of 30 by Duke's Alison Bales in 2006.
STANFORD 55, XAVIER 53
In Sacramento, Calif., Jeanette Pohlen drove the length of the court for the game-winning layin as the final buzzer sounded, lifting top-seeded Stanford past third-seeded Xavier in the Sacramento Regional final for a third consecutive trip to the Final Four.
Xavier's Dee Dee Jernigan missed two wide-open layins in the closing 12 seconds that likely would have sent the Musketeers to their first Final Four.
The Cardinal's Kayla Pedersen inbounded the ball to Pohlen with less than five seconds left. Pohlen dribbled all the way for the winning shot. The play was briefly reviewed, then Stanford erupted in celebration once the officials ruled the basket good.