Scores

Final

Baylor 72

(31-3, 14-2 Big 12)

North Carolina 63

(30-4, 11-2 ACC)

    7:00 PM ET, March 28, 2005

    Wells-Fargo Arena, Tempe, Arizona

    1 2 T
    BAY 33 3972
    UNC 24 3963

    Top Performers

    Baylor: S. Young-Malcolm 19 Pts, 11 Reb

    North Carolina: I. Latta 21 Pts, 2 Reb

    Lady Bears in first Final Four in school history

    TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- The ugly stain on Baylor basketball is fading. The women are taking care of that.

    Sophia Young scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and the second-seeded Lady Bears are headed to the Final Four for the first time in school history after beating No. 1 North Carolina 72-63 on Monday night.

    Young, whose mother came from the West Indies last week to see her play in college for the first time, was named the MVP of the Tempe Regional.

    The Lady Bears (31-3) extended their school-record winning streak to 18 games, leading by as many as 19 points in the second half against the Tar Heels (30-4), who had won 16 straight going into the game.

    "You can coach a lifetime and have great teams that are expected to be in the Final Four and never make it," said coach Kim Mulkey-Robertson, who took over in 2000 and built the lackluster program into a powerhouse. "For our team to do it in five short years, I can't say enough about our coaches and players. These are tears of joy."

    The Baylor men's basketball team made it to the Final Four in 1948 and 1950, but that program gained infamy when a former player was accused of murdering a teammate in 2003.

    "This means a lot and speaks volumes for what we've done for the Baylor University community," said Steffanie Blackmon, holding a piece of the net the players cut down. "Last year we decided to be the shining light for the university because of everything that happened. We wanted to be something positive for Baylor."

    Chameka Scott, 0-for-9 from 3-point range in her previous two games, was 4-for-8 against North Carolina and scored 18 points for Baylor. Blackmon added 14 points.

    The Lady Bears, who hadn't even been to a regional final before, will play LSU in the national semifinals on Sunday in Indianapolis.

    "Baylor has been through so much," Scott said. "If you go back to Waco, we have the whole community behind us. That's part of our momentum and part of what got us so far."

    North Carolina, trying to join the Tar Heel men in the Final Four, shot just 32 percent. Ivory Latta, North Carolina's 5-foot-6 point guard, scored 21 but was bounced around all night by the Baylor defense and was just 6-for-22 shooting, 3-for-13 from behind the 3-point line. Leah Metcalf scored 11 and Nikita Bell 10 for the Tar Heels.

    "We know we could have won that game," North Carolina freshman Erlana Larkins said. "We beat ourselves down pretty badly. We didn't box out and we just didn't do the little things."

    Larkins, who scored 18 in North Carolina's victory over Arizona State on Saturday, was held to just six points.

    "We took her out of her game," Young said. "I think we got in her mind."

    Two more victories for Baylor would give the Waco school its second national title in any sport. Baylor won the NCAA men's tennis championship last year.

    Baylor outscored the Tar Heels 12-2 over the final 5:16 of a sometimes-frenetic and often-sloppy first half to take a 33-24 lead at the break. Scott's 3-pointer with 12:01 to play made it 49-31, and Young's two free throws with 11:01 remaining gave Baylor a 53-34 lead.

    The Tar Heels had not faced that big a deficit all season and responded with an 8-0 run to cut it to 49-38 La'Tangela Atkinson's rebound with 6:57 left. But the closest North Carolina got was seven in the final seconds.

    "We didn't get it to Erlanda enough," said North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell, looking for only her second Final Four berth in 19 seasons with the Tar Heels. "We weren't setting screens and getting people open. We were trying fadeaways instead of taking it to them."

    The game was not the up-and-down, freestyling showcase it was supposed to be. There were 42 turnovers, 25 by Baylor and 17 by North Carolina. Eight of the Lady Bears' turnovers were committed by Chelsea Whitaker.

    "Hey, Chelsea's my point guard," Mulkey-Robertson said, "and Chelsea's heading to the Final Four."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    BAY
    UNC
    Points 72 63
    FG Made-Attempted 23-52 (.442) 23-70 (.329)
    3P Made-Attempted 6-16 (.375) 5-21 (.238)
    FT Made-Attempted 20-31 (.645) 12-18 (.667)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 17 (0/0) 25 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 19 2

    Game Leaders

     
    BAY
    UNC
    PointsS. Young-Malcolm 19I. Latta 21
    ReboundsS. Young-Malcolm 11C. Little 9

    Series

    DATEGAMELINKS
    » Mar 28, 2005 BAY 72, @UNC 63Recap | Box Score