Lady Bears win 17th straight game

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- Somehow, Sophia Young held herself together through an emotional reunion with her mother only hours before Baylor tipped off in the Tempe Regional semifinals.

Young followed that long-awaited meeting with one of the best games yet in her sensational junior season, almost single-handedly leading the Lady Bears to the NCAA Tournament's round of eight for the first time.

She scored 26 points, six in the final 7:56, and grabbed seven rebounds in Baylor's 64-57 victory over Minnesota on Saturday night.

"It was just joy, really," she said of seeing her mom. "My emotions are just running wild. I'm happy my mom could come and see me play. It was such a great atmosphere. And it's a tremendous opportunity to take my team to the Elite Eight."

Her mother, Annie, watched her daughter at the college level for the first time after traveling from St. Vincent, West Indies. Young penetrated with ease and dominated a highly-touted matchup with Minnesota's bruising frontcourt of Janel McCarville and Jamie Broback as Baylor won its 17th straight game.

Young, Baylor's scoring and rebounding leader, went to the mall and then saw her mother for just the second time since leaving home at 15 to be an exchange student in the United States. She raised both arms as the final buzzer sounded.

Her mom was just as elated.

"It was awesome," Annie Christopher said from her front-row seat. "She's good, man. She's good."

Steffanie Blackmon added 10 points and six rebounds, and second-seeded Baylor withstood a late threat and a testy final minute to keep the No. 3 Golden Gophers from a return trip to the Final Four.

Baylor (30-3) is in the round of 16 for the second straight season.

McCarville and Baylor's Abiola Wabara were whistled for a double-technical foul with 17 seconds to go after McCarville shoved Wabara following a rebound. There was a heated exchange before referees and teammates separated them.

"When it's physical and they let you play like that, things like that happen at the end of a game that are unfortunate," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey-Robertson said. "I can say that because we won. I'm not coming in here with sour grapes because it got physical. Kids get hurt when the game gets like that."

McCarville finished with 16 points on 6-for-16 shooting, 11 rebounds, four blocks and four assists in the final game of her All-America career, getting booed by Baylor fans when she took a seat following the altercation. Bulling her way to the basket at every opportunity, she also had five turnovers.

The 6-foot-4 McCarville -- with a large tattoo on her right forearm, a tongue ring and a maroon headband holding down her slicked hair -- stared down the Baylor players as they made their way into Wells Fargo Arena to warm up before the game.

But the Gophers got off to another slow start.

"I really don't have an answer for that," McCarville said. "Teams have come out more fired up than us. We've been in awe being back in the tournament and trying to relive everything."

The Lady Bears, who won their first Big 12 Conference title and haven't lost since a 69-55 defeat at Texas on Jan. 22, reached their highest win total since getting 33 victories in 1977-78. They calmly matched Minnesota's rough style of play.

The Gophers (26-8) trailed by as many as eight points in the second half before rallying to pull to 54-50 on Kelly Roysland's basket with just more than six minutes left. But the Gophers committed 16 turnovers and couldn't get enough key stops on defense in the waning moments.

Broback led the Gophers in scoring the past seven games but was held to four points on 2-of-9 shooting against Baylor's relentless defense. Liz Podominick had 10 points as Minnesota's lone other player in double figures.

Minnesota, which earned its highest tournament seeding in coach Pam Borton's third season at the school, fell short again after losing to three-time defending NCAA champion Connecticut in the Final Four a year ago.

"I think at this point in the tournament you have to play great to advance to the Elite Eight," Borton said. "And the team that played great is advancing."

Mulkey-Robertson complained Friday that the 50-minute practice session allotted by the NCAA wasn't enough time -- but her team certainly appeared ready.

Broback and McCarville shot a combined 3-for-12 in the first half, but the Gophers went 5-for-7 from 3-point range to stay within 34-31 at halftime.