Baylor routs Iowa to cruise to Final Four

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Maybe someone at the Final Four will actually give Baylor a game.

Four rounds into the NCAA Tournament, and the Bears have barely faced any resistance.

Baylor cruised to its first Final Four since 2012 with its latest bracket blowout, this one an 85-53 rout of Iowa on Monday night in the Greensboro Regional final.

“We’re getting up,” forward Lauren Cox said, “and we’re not letting people get back in the game.”

The No. 1 overall-seeded Bears (35-1) won their 27th straight game by shooting 53 percent, clamping down on All-American Megan Gustafson and holding the nation’s best shooting team to a season-worst 32 percent.

“We don’t know that we’re going to score this many points every night,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “What we do know is, we’re going to defend you. … That’s the way I was taught. That’s the way I believe.”

The Hawkeyes hadn’t made it this far since 1993, but their worst shooting night of the year came at the worst possible time.

“I’m not going to define our season by the last 40 minutes,” Bluder said. “I don’t think we played our best game. Did Baylor have something to do with it? Absolutely.”

UNC investigation: The North Carolina women’s basketball coaching staff has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation after complaints were brought up by players and others, the school said. That includes head coach Sylvia Hatchell and her three assistants. “The Charlotte-based firm Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein will conduct the review and assess the culture of the women’s basketball program and the experience of our student-athletes,” the school’s statement said.

Honors: Stanford’s Alanna Smith and Cal’s Kristine Anigwe have been named second-team All-Americans by the Associated Press. Among those on the first team was Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu, a Miramonte-Orinda alum who has won the Pac-12 Player of the Year award each of the past two seasons.

Calipari gets extension: Kentucky agreed to a long-term contract with men’s coach John Calipari that will allow him to finish his career with the Wildcats. Calipari’s current deal was amended in March 2017 to run through the 2023-24 season, with a base annual salary of $8 million plus incentives. Men’s basketball spokesman Eric Lindsey confirmed Monday via text to the Associated Press that the school reached a new deal with the Hall of Fame coach but did not provide details.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Baylor-routs-Iowa-to-cruise-to-Final-Four-13734079.php.

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