Baylor eyes title, unbeaten season

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Doug Feinberg
Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Brittney Griner and the Baylor Lady Bears have one goal this season—a national championship.

Anything less would be a disappointment for the undefeated top-seeded Lady Bears, who are looking to become the seventh school to run through a season unbeaten.

Standing in the way could be the other No. 1 seeds—Stanford, Connecticut and Notre Dame, dominant all season long. The Huskies and Irish both lost competitive games at Baylor this season.

Griner and Baylor, who lost in the regional final last season, could be the first team ever to win 40 games in a year, but coach Kim Mulkey only cares about one thing—a second national title for the school.

“We started hearing about that, and it’s never been a goal of ours,” Mulkey said of winning 40 games. “Our simple goal is to win a national championship.”

The basketball madness gets started Saturday—the first playing against the Cyclones at home.

“You know, you’ll take whatever seed you can get, but the hard part is playing on someone else’s home court,” Quilling said. “But at the end of the day when the ball goes up it’s still basketball and we’re excited about that.”

Bollant said the Phoenix are ready for anything—even a big, pro-Cyclones crowd.

“I bet they’ll have 10,000 fans,” Bollant said. “About two years ago they had 8,000 and they’ve averaged almost 11,000 this year so we’re going to need our fans to come down and be loud.”

Iowa State was 18-12 this year, but only two of its losses came at home.

“It’s very loud, they love their program there,” junior Adrian Ritchie said. “But we’re used to that. ... I think we can stay together and use that as fire and use that as an underdog (mentality). I think when we’re told that we’re not supposed to win maybe we’ll get in their head. They don’t like losing on that home floor so I think it’s going to help us.”

If the Phoenix advance, they would face the winner of No. 2 seed Kentucky vs. No. 15 seed McNeese State.

The Phoenix lost only once this season, a 70-58 loss to Detroit at home Feb. 9. Green Bay beat Detroit 66-53 on Sunday to win the Horizon League conference tournament and enters the NCAA tournament on a 10-game winning streak.

Now they’ll try to repeat, then exceed, last year’s tournament run.

A No. 5 seed last year, Green Bay beat Arkansas-Little Rock and Michigan State to advance to the regional semifinals, where they lost to Baylor 86-76.

The Phoenix are led by

Wojta, who is averaging 19.8 points and 10.2 rebounds per game with 3.6 steals and 3.5 assists. Wojta shoots 52.2 percent from the field. Green Bay has a pair of outside shooting threats, guard Ritchie and forward Lydia Bauer. Wojta can shoot from three-point range as well.

“The amazing thing about our players, it doesn’t matter who they play, we believe we can win,” Bollant said. “And we’re going to go out and say we believe we can win.”

Last updated: 2:23 pm Thursday, December 20, 2012

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