Chloe Jackson scored the go-ahead basket with 40 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter as top-seeded Baylor advanced to the NCAA Women’s Tournament championship game with a 72-67 victory over second-seeded Oregon on Friday night in Tampa, Fla.
Apr 5, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; Baylor Lady Bears guard Chloe Jackson (24) dribbles the ball between Oregon Ducks forward Erin Boley (21) and Ducks guard Maite Cazorla (5) during the first half in the semifinals of the women’s Final Four of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Kalani Brown scored 22 points, and Lauren Cox had 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Bears (36-1), who won their 28th straight game and will attempt to capture their first title since the Brittney Griner-led undefeated team in 2012.
Baylor, which shot 54.4 percent from the field, will face defending champion Notre Dame after the Irish defeated second-seeded Connecticut 81-76 in the other semifinal Friday night.
Pac-12 Player of the Year Sabrina Ionescu scored 18 points, and Satou Sabally added 16 for the Ducks (33-5), who remained in the contest on the strength of 12 3-pointers despite shooting 36.8 percent from the field overall.
Sabally sank a 3-pointer to even the game at 67 with 1:40 to play, marking the 12th tie of the contest. It didn’t last long, as Jackson benefited from a high screen to breeze past Erin Boley for the go-ahead basket with 40 seconds to play.
Sabally was unable to answer at the other end of the court, as her jumper failed to go down. Cox made a pair of free throws to push Baylor’s lead to 71-67 with 18 seconds left. Ionescu and Sabally each missed 3-point attempts in the closing seconds.
Baylor worked the interior as DiDi Richards made a layup and sank a free throw to push the lead to four early in the fourth quarter, but she committed her fourth foul on the next possession.
Oti Gildon cleaned up Boley’s 3-point misfire for an easy putback to halve the deficit, and teams traded baskets before Oregon went on a 7-0 run.
Ruthy Hebard made a layup, Boley connected on a jumper and Maite Cazorla sank a 3-pointer to give the Ducks a 64-61 lead with 6:13 remaining in the fourth quarter. Cox and Brown answered by each sinking a jumper to regain Baylor’s advantage with 3:50 left.
Boley drained a 3-pointer to give Oregon a 55-52 lead with 1:10 remaining in the third quarter before Brown answered with a jumper on the next possession. Boley misfired on another 3-point attempt, and Cox recorded an offensive rebound and quick putback to give Baylor a 56-55 advantage at the end of the quarter.
The Ducks led 34-33 at halftime after a four-point play by Ionescu with eight seconds remaining.
—Field Level Media