Dallas — Kim Mulkey was clearly frustrated when she called an early timeout after Baylor fell behind because of a quick flurry of turnovers.
“We were sloppy, so you just kind of call a timeout to change momentum and settle down,” said Mulkey, who by the end of that opening quarter had a huge smile on her face.
The Lady Bears had quite a response, and are on the way to the Elite Eight for the third straight year after a 78-58 victory over Florida State on Saturday.
“They were getting anything they wanted,” Nina Davis said. “We needed a timeout to regroup and remember why we were here and what was on the line. And after that, we were fine.”
Davis had her second consecutive 30-point game in the women’s NCAA Tournament, and the Lady Bears (35-1) went ahead to stay with a 15-3 run in the final 4-1/2 minutes of the first quarter.
Alexis Jones added 15 points, nine rebounds and five assists for Baylor, the No. 1 seed in the Dallas Regional and with a 23-game winning streak. Khadijiah Cave had 10 rebounds when the junior got her most extensive action in two months after two freshman posts got into early foul trouble.
Leticia Romero had 11 points for fifth-seeded Florida State (25-8), which made consecutive Sweet 16 appearances for the first time in school history. Ivey Slaughter, Shakayla Thomas and Brittany Brown each had 10 points.
It was only the fifth time this season the Seminoles were held below 65 points. They had a season-low 49 points against UConn in mid-December and had scored 56 three other times.
“We got beat by a great team,” said Sue Semrau, who finished her 19th season as Florida State coach. “I think, too, that I’m proud of what this team was able to accomplish. I think we really had to find ourselves … We were able to put together a pretty good run down the stretch.”
Big 12 champion Baylor lost to Notre Dame in regional finals each of the previous two seasons, but will be facing Oregon State or DePaul this time.
Notre Dame was a No. 1 seed in a different regional, and got beat by Stanford on Friday night when another No. 1 seed, South Carolina, also lost. But the top seeds won Saturday, with three-time defending national champion UConn rolling past Mississippi State 98-38 earlier in the day.
When President Barack Obama filled out his women’s NCAA Tournament bracket, Baylor was the only No. 1 seed he didn’t pick to go to the Final Four. The president had the Lady Bears and Florida State getting to this point, and picked the Seminoles for his “one big upset.”
It looked like that might be possible after Baylor had just committed its fifth turnover in less than 3 minutes. Florida State was up 12-9, after Kai James’ steal led to a 3-pointer by Maria Conde, when Mulkey called timeout.
Kristy Wallace, the guard who had a quick turnover after going into the game for the first time, was hearing it from a clearly agitated Mulkey when she was heading toward the bench.
Wallace responded after the timeout with a tying 3-pointer from the top of the key, and then had a big defensive rebound and another 3-pointer before the first quarter ended with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Jones that made it 24-15 and had Mulkey smiling.
“We just needed re-group, and defensively get back down the floor,” Wallace said, before ending with a laugh. “We were instructed to do that.”
More Dallas Regional
No. 2 Oregon State 83, No. 6 DePaul 71: Jamie Weisner had career highs with 38 points and seven 3-pointers and Oregon State advanced to its first women’s regional final. Weisner also had 10 rebounds for the Pac-12 champion Beavers (31-4). They will play top-seeded Baylor (36-1) on Monday night with a Final Four berth on the line.
Sydney Wiese added 13 points for Oregon State, including three 3-pointers in an early 3-minute span when the Beavers went ahead to stay. Ruth Hamblin also scored 13 points.
DePaul (27-9) was in its fourth Sweet 16 under 30-year coach Doug Bruno, but has never gotten farther in the tournament.
Jessica January had 20 points for DePaul, while Jacqui Grant had 15 and Mart’e Grays 14.
No. 2 Texas 72, No. 3 UCLA 64: Imani Boyette scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Texas to a come-from-behind win. Brooke McCarty added 15 points for the Longhorns (31-4), who will play in their first regional final since 2003.
Monique Billings scored 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for UCLA, which finished its season at 26-9. Jordin Canada also had 20 points for the Bruins.
UCLA led by 10 in the second quarter, five at the half and 54-48 after three quarters.
But Texas scored the first 10 points of the fourth to take a 58-54 lead, and did not trail again. UCLA missed its last nine shots.
Texas will play UConn in the regional final.
No. 1 UConn 98, No. 5 Mississippi State 38: Breanna Stewart had 22 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks to lead UConn to a record rout. The win was the 72nd straight for UConn (35-0) and left the Huskies three victories shy of an unprecedented fourth consecutive national championship. Their road to that historic title got a bit easier on Friday night when top seeds South Carolina and Notre Dame lost in the Sweet 16.
Stewart and the Huskies were determined to make sure that the upset trend didn’t continue Saturday. The best team in the nation put together one of its most dominant games during this run, needing just four minutes to quash any thoughts of the Bulldogs pulling off the victory.
UConn scored the game’s first 13 points and led 32-4 after the first quarter. It didn’t get any better for the Bulldogs, who trailed by 49 at the half and lost by a record margin.