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Stanford could easily claim that motto for itself, having matched UConn and LSU with its five-year Final Four run. But like the Lady Bears, the Cardinal couldn't win a title during their streak. Stanford hasn't won a national championship since 1992.
These two teams hadn't played since 2008 -- the year before Griner showed up, but Ogwumike and her Cardinal teammates were eager for the chance. Ogwumike faced Griner in an AAU game in high school, and that's when she says she learned to shoot 3-pointers because scoring in the paint was a big problem. Although Ogwumike missed all five of her 3-point attempts, she succeeded in drawing Griner away from the basket.
That opened up the middle, allowing the Cardinal to get a lot of easy backdoor layups. On the defensive end, the Cardinal packed it in, doubling Griner every time down the court. They dared any other Baylor player to beat them. Griner finished the first half taking just five shots, while her teammates combined to go 7 for 24.
The Lady Bears led 25-23 at the break as neither team could build more than a four-point lead in the first half.
Stanford didn't change its strategy in the second half, but the other Baylor players started making plays.
"We were really well prepared and had a great game plan. We just struggled offensively and missed shots that would have helped us," Stanford guard Toni Kokenis said. "Their offensive boards kind of hurt us. We needed to box out better."
Stanford hit just two of its 17 attempts from 3-point range.
"We wanted to run on them, but we didn't get out and go as well as we wanted to," VanDerveer said. "They make things hard, they take you out of your normal thing. It took us that long to get the floor organized. We had some nice open looks and didn't knock down shots."
Terran Condrey scored 13 points and Odyssey Sims had 11 for the Lady Bears.
"I can't even put it into words," Griner said of Condrey's big game. "She's not real loud but you definitely hear her on the court."
As usual, Griner put on a show in warm-ups, thrilling the crowd with a series of impressive dunks. The Associated Press Player of the Year has already dunked twice in the tournament, matching Candace Parker for most dunks by a woman in NCAA tournament play and during a college career (seven).
Griner and Baylor football star Robert Griffin III have playfully talked about having a dunk contest next year. The Heisman Trophy winner was in the stands supporting the Lady Bears and gave Mulkey a big hug as they walked off the court.
Mulkey showed no ill effects from her bout with Bell's palsy. She was recently diagnosed with the nerve disorder, but on Saturday she dismissed it as nothing more than an inconvenience.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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