Women's Basketball 2017 NCAA Tournament Oklahoma City Region Elite 8 Game Breakdowns

Oklahoma City Region Elite Eight Game Breakdown
Baylor continued its dominant run in the 2017 NCAA Tournament by absolutely destroying Louisville 97-63 on Friday night. Nina Davis led the way for the Bears with 21 points, seven rebounds, and two steals. Alexis Prince and Kristy Wallace took care of business in the backcourt as they combined for 26 points. Shot selection was great as well for Baylor as they sprinted out to a 25-9 lead at the end of first quarter thanks to 58.8 percent shooting. Defensively, the Bears were brilliant as always, limiting the Cardinals to 30 percent shooting from the floor and dominating the boards as well. They outrebounded Louisville 52-36. Another strength of Baylor defensively is their ability to shut out the best player from the other team on a nightly basis. The Bears held Asia Durr to 21 points on just 6-of-21 shooting the basketball along with limiting Myisha Hines-Allen to 12 points.
Mississippi State advanced to the Elite Eight thanks to a 75-64 win over Washington on Friday night. The Bulldogs did a great job in the second and fourth quarters as they outscored the Huskies 51-23 to turn the game in their favor. Teaira McCowan had a breakout game with 26 points to pace the Mississippi State offensive attack. McCowan scored 20 of her 26 points in the decisive fourth quarter and at the defensive end of the court had seven rebounds and four big blocked shots. The size advantage for the Bulldogs also took its toll on Washington over the course of the game as they outrebounded the Huskies 49-34. Mississippi State also did a great job of creating second chance shots as they won the battle of offensive rebounds by a 21-10 margin. Victoria Vivians and Blair Schaefer did a nice job of battling through tough shooting nights to combine for 23 points to keep the Washington defense off balance.
Looking ahead to this Elite Eight matchup, for Baylor the key is going to be just staying consistent and imposing their will on their game from the opening tipoff. When the Bears have brought defensive intensity for 40 minutes, they are very difficult stop except for when they play Connecticut. Thus, look for head coach Kim Mulkey to try and get the ball into Nina Davis and Kalani Brown right away so they can get in rhythm and to get McCowan into foul trouble. In the backcourt, the experience of Alexis Prince and Kristy Wallace is going to have to be a difference maker as they should have opportunities for easy shots if Baylor can force turnovers and get out in transition.
For the Bulldogs this matchup should be like taking on South Carolina as the Gamecocks have plenty of size in the post like the Bears do. The key is going to be patient in the early going and survive the early surge of energy from Baylor as they will be going for the knockout punch right away. Victoria Vivians is going to have to shoot the ball well early and it would be wise to try and get the tempo of the game to a point where the Bulldogs can outrun the Bears over the duration of four quarters. Bottom line, the loss to West Virginia in the Big 12 Conference Tournament championship game was the best thing that happened to Baylor this season as they have been relentless offensively and defensively in this NCAA Tournament. The Bears should be tested by Mississippi State in this game, but should wear down the Bulldogs in the second half and return to the Final Four.