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Baylor hammers South Carolina, returns to another Elite 8

GREENSBORO (AP) — Kim Mulkey has led Baylor to two national titles, so she knows the traits a contender ought to have.

“We’re on a roll, and that’s what it takes in the playoffs,” Mulkey said. “You need to get on a roll, you need to stay healthy and have a little bit of luck.”

Her Bears are still rolling through the bracket. No luck needed.

Baylor reached the Elite Eight for the fifth time in six years with another dominant performance, leading by as many as 30 points in a 93-68 victory over South Carolina on Saturday in the Greensboro Regional semifinals.

Didi Richards scored a career-high 25 points, and two key parts of the frontcourt — Kalani Brown and Lauren Cox — each had double-doubles for the No. 1 overall seed in the women’s NCAA Tournament. Cox had 17 points and 14 rebounds while Brown had 18 points and 10 boards.

“I was scoring, but I mean, I was also passing and able to find my teammates,” Brown said. “And when everybody’s scoring, I’m happy. If I can take a quiet 18 and 10, that’s fine.”

The Bears shot 52 percent to win their 26th straight game and blow out South Carolina for the second time this season.

Juicy Landrum and Chloe Jackson each finished with 12 points for the Bears (34-1). They will play second-seeded Iowa (29-6) on Monday night with the winner advancing to the Final Four.

N. DAME 87, TEXAS A&M 80

CHICAGO (AP) — Arike Ogunbowale scored a career-high 34 points, Jessica Shepard added 24 points and 14 rebounds, and defending national champion Notre Dame beat Texas A&M in the Sweet 16 for the second straight year, 87-80 on Saturday.

Ogunbowale scored 12 in the final 6:45 to help the top-seeded Fighting Irish (33-3) advance to the Elite Eight of the women’s NCAA Tournament for the eighth time in nine years.

Ogunbowale, the Irish’s career scoring leader, surpassed her previous high of 32 points. Shepard dominated down low, and Notre Dame got a sweet repeat to go with its 12th straight win.

Chennedy Carter led Texas A&M (26-8) with a season-high 35 points in another impressive NCAA performance.

STANFORD 55, MISSOURI STATE 46

CHICAGO (AP) — Alanna Smith and Stanford outlasted Missouri State, sending the cold-shooting Cardinal back to the Elite Eight for the third time in four years.

Stanford shot a season-low 25 percent (17 for 68) in one of its worst offensive performances of the season. But Smith and Anna Wilson supplied just enough scoring, and the Cardinal used their superior length to hold the 11th-seeded Lady Bears to 25.4 percent shooting (16 for 63), also a season low for the last double-digit seed left in March.

Next up for No. 2 seed Stanford (31-4) is defending national champion Notre Dame on Monday in the Chicago Regional final.

Danielle Gitzen had 14 points and eight rebounds for Missouri State, which had won seven in a row. It was Missouri State’s first appearance in the Sweet 16 since Jackie Stiles led the Missouri Valley Conference team to the Final Four in 2001.

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