AP Basketball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) – Oklahoma City hasn’t been too kind to Baylor the last few years in the women’s NCAA Tournament.
The Lady Bears lost in 2013 to Louisville and in 2015 to Notre Dame. Coach Kim Mulkey doesn’t care about the past, focusing on the current team which has run through its first two games of the NCAAs. Baylor faces Louisville on Friday night in a rematch of one of the biggest upsets in the tournament.
“That’s history,” she said. “So now you go to this game, and they’re a different team, we’re a different team.”
Mulkey said she doesn’t make too much of the similar circumstances or the past upsets.
“You win some you shouldn’t and you lose some that you probably shouldn’t, but you can’t let them just kill your spirit,” she said. “You can’t let them run you out of the business. You just motivate yourself, pick yourself back up and keep coaching.”
The other game Friday in Oklahoma features Washington and star guard Kelsey Plum against Mississippi State. The Huskies made a surprising run to the Final Four last season and are looking to get to Dallas this year for the national semifinals.
Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer is no stranger to trying to stop great offensive players. He was an assistant coach at Arkansas and played against Jackie Stiles, whose career scoring record Plum broke last month.
“Obviously, Jackie Stiles, Kelsey Plum – those are two of the best to ever play the game, and from an offensive standpoint, they are just so multi-dimensional,” Schaefer said. “Their coaches use them in such a good way, smart, and so it’s a tall task. There’s no question about it.”
Here are a few other story lines from the Sweet 16:
SHE’S OUT: Notre Dame will be missing star forward Brianna Turner, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament as well as the lateral meniscus and sustained other damage to her knee in the Irish’s second round game. Coach Muffet McGraw said Turner would need to recover some before undergoing surgery and is expected to be out for six months. The Irish play Friday night against Ohio State.
“I feel really bad for that kid. It’s just terrible, like you hate to see an injury like that at any point in the year, especially right now,” Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff said. “She’s such a great player. It seems like, to me, she’d been playing her best basketball here late in the year. So, it’s really tough.”
FAMILIAR PLACE: For the second consecutive season, Notre Dame and Stanford are back in Lexington, Kentucky, for their regional. Second-seeded Stanford played its first two rounds at Kansas State as the Cardinal couldn’t host because of a gymnastics event at the school.
The team couldn’t fly back right away to California after its second-round win Monday, so coach Tara VanDerveer talked to the captains and decided to stay in Kentucky instead of making the cross-country flight twice.
“Originally, we planned to go after our game on Monday, to go back to California, kind of regroup, do laundry, get organized. Kids would have some finals to take, things like that,” she said. “We were also the only one in the pod that had a Monday game. Everyone else played Sunday. So I was a little – I was already kind of in my mind thinking maybe that was something we should be doing. And once they said our airplane had mechanical problems, I’m not really excited about getting on an airplane with mechanical problems. And once they said it was maybe going to go get in by 2 o’clock, we might get out by 3 o’clock, I’m like, I think we should just bag that Plan A and go with Plan B.”
The Cardinal will face Texas on Friday night. The teams met to open the season and the Cardinal came away with a 12-point win.
“I mean, to go back and look at that film in that first game against Stanford is almost comical, just from the standpoint of how young we were in a lot of areas and how really disconnected we were, in particular on the defensive end, mainly because of youth and inexperience,” Texas coach Karen Aston said.
AP Basketball Writer Stephen Hawkins contributed to this story from Waco, Texas, and Associated Press Writer Tom Coyne contributed to this story from South Bend, Indiana.
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