DES MOINES, Iowa – Tennessee was down 14 points against 11th-seeded Kansas, an unheralded bunch that few though could test the mighty Lady Vols.
Feisty sophomore Meighan Simmons gave Tennessee the boost it needed to survive and advance to yet another regional final.
Simmons scored 16 of her 22 points off the bench in the second half and Tennessee rallied past the Jayhawks 84-73 Saturday and advanced to its second straight regional final and 25th in 31 years.
Glory Johnson added 18 points for the second-seeded Lady Vols (27-8), who’ll meet undefeated and top-seeded Baylor on Monday night for a spot in the Final Four.
It was the 1,098th win for Tennessee coach Pat Summitt, who announced in August she’d been diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type, and has yet to commit to coaching next season.
Baylor 83, Georgia Tech 68: Brittney Griner capped a sensational performance with a two-handed dunk and the Bears (37-0) stormed into the regional finals for the third straight year with a rout of the Yellow Jackets (26-9).
Griner, who finished with 35 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks, got behind the defense and threw down her slam with 6:29 left in yet another rout for the Bears – swinging briefly on the rim for good measure.
It was the second straight game in which the 6-foot-8 All-American dunked and the seventh slam of her college career.
She’s now tied with former Tennessee star Candace Parker, whose two dunks in NCAA tournament play had been the most.
Destiny Williams added 18 points on 9-for-10 shooting for the top-seeded Bears.