Baylor Advances to Women’s Championship Game

Baylor Holds Off Oregon 72-67

Just four year’s since they last hosted the Women’s Final Four, all eyes are once again on Tampa Bay. Amalie Arena was rocking Friday night as the Baylor Lady Bears and Oregon Ducks faced off in the first semi-final of the night. Right away, Baylor took the early lead but it was rather short lived as Oregon went on a 9-0 run to make the score 11-4 thanks to the outside shooting of Erin Boley, who hit two 3-pointers in the early going. The Lady Bears then retook the lead 14-11 after a 10-0 run of their own and finished off the first quarter with a 19-15 lead.

In the second quarter Oregon began to chip away at the lead eventually tying the game at 24 apiece. Both teams remained deadlocked until Baylor was able to get back to their post-game by capitalizing on their size advantage in the paint. This trend continued as Baylor used their size to build a 5-point lead until Oregon answered with back-to-back 3’s to cut the lead to 31-30. Then with less than 10 seconds to go in the half, a Baylor player fouled Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu who hit the three and foul shot to convert the 4-point play. Time expired with Oregon holding a 34-33 lead.

2nd Half

Coming out of the half, both teams returned to their bread and butter. For Baylor it was the inside game while Oregon continued to drain 3-pointers. As time wore on the Lady Bears continued to hold a slight lead but Oregon remained in striking distance for most of the third period even tying the game at 47-47. Finally, Oregon took a 52-51 lead on a 3-point play. Oregon continued to add to their lead 55-52 with yet another 3. The Lady Bears retook the lead, 56-55 with about two seconds left in the third.

Heading into the 4th quarter it was clear that the game was going to come down to either Oregon going cold from beyond the arc or Baylor losing their touch in the paint. The game was tied at 61 with 7 minutes to play. Oregon then went ahead by 3 on none other then a 3-pointer by Maite Cazorla. The Lady Bears retook the lead only to see Oregon tie it up at 67 with another 3. With just under 20 seconds to play Baylor was up 69-67. Lauren Cox then hit 2 free throws to put Baylor up 71-67 with 18 seconds left. The Bearsr then added one more free throw to go up 72-67 and that’s the way the game ended.

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Kip Michalak is a former 3-sport collegiate athlete who has been covering the NBA as an Orlando Magic Insider for the past 3 seasons. Kip has also covered high school sports in Tampa Bay for 5 years. In addition to his basketball reporting Kip has covered a handful of major sporting events, which include: 2015 NCAA Women’s Final Four 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final 2016 NCAA Frozen Four 2016 Outback Bowl