Lady Bears look to break Elite 8 curse tonight against Mississippi State

By Jordan Smith | Sports Writer

The No. 1-seed Baylor Lady Bears look to break the curse of their Elite 8 struggles tonight as they take on No. 2-seed Mississippi State.

Sophomore post Kalani Brown said she knows the game of Teaira McCowan, who she grew up playing AAU basketball with.

“Big, strong. Big in the post. Got to block her out and do my work early or get punished. You can’t get deep. Just do my work early, run the floor hard,” Brown said.

McCowan scored 24 points in the Sweet 16 game against Washington on Friday night. She also grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked six shots to help the Mississippi State Bulldogs get to this point.

The Lady Bears have faced 13 of the 64 teams in this year’s March Madness tournament this season. In these match ups with the 13 teams, Baylor has compiled a record of 17-3.

Junior guard Kristy Wallace has a traveling fan base as her family travels all the way from Australia to watch her play March Madness basketball.

“Yeah, it’s very exciting,” Wallace said. “I’m so thankful and blessed to have the support I have, a family that made the effort to come see me play, which is really exciting.”

Lady Bears head coach Kim Mulkey said the defense that Mississippi State head coach Vic Schaefer brings is no easy task to get around.

“You’re going to see pressure everywhere,” Mulkey said. “Just handle the pressure, realize there’s not going to be an easy pass. You’re going to have to work to get open. You’re going to have to work for everything you get. They’re going to guard you. You know, just prepare for that. I think we’re going to guard them too.”

Mulkey is 42-13 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. The last three seasons, Baylor has reached the Elite 8, but has lost all three match-ups. Last season, the Lady Bears fell to Oregon State in the Elite 8 by a final score of 60-57.

Senior guard Nina Davis has an opportunity to get to the Final Four for the first time in her college career, having lost the last three years in the Elite 8 of the tournament.

Davis said the opportunity to do something she has never done before is there and is one that she has been looking forward to her entire career.

“It’s no secret what our goal has been all four years I’ve been in college,” Davis said. “We’ve been granted another opportunity. Of course, we’ll be thrilled and excited to finally get over the hump and get to the Final Four.”

No. 1-seed Baylor will take on No. 2-seed Mississippi State at 6:30 p.m. tonight. Fans can tune in to live play-by-play coverage of the Elite 8 game on Baylor Lariat Radio, with pre-game coverage beginning at 6:10 p.m.