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No. 1 seed Baylor routs Iowa to reach women's Final Four

Baylor's Juicy Landrum (20) and NaLyssa Smith (1)

Baylor's Juicy Landrum (20) and NaLyssa Smith (1) celebrate their win over Iowa in a regional final women's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Monday, April 1, 2019. Credit: AP/Gerry Broome

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Maybe someone at the Final Four will actually give Baylor a game.

Four rounds into the NCAA Tournament, and the Bears have barely faced any resistance.

Baylor cruised to its first Final Four since 2012 with its latest bracket blowout, this one an 85-53 rout of Iowa on Monday night in the Greensboro Regional final.

"We're getting up," forward Lauren Cox said, "and we're not letting people get back in the game."

Cox had 22 points and 11 rebounds, Didi Richards added 16 points and 10 rebounds and Chloe Jackson had 14 points.

The No. 1 overall-seeded Bears (35-1) won their 27th straight game by shooting 53%, clamping down on All-American Megan Gustafson and her supporting cast and holding the nation's best shooting team to a season-worst 32%.

"We don't know that we're going to score this many points every night," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. "What we do know is, we're going to defend you. ... That's the way I was taught. That's the way I believe. ... Nobody likes to be guarded for 40 minutes. It's work. It's hard."

Their four tournament victories have come by an average of more than 38 points with none closer than 25. Now, it's on to Tampa, Florida, for the school's fourth Final Four and its first in seven years, when the Bears won their second national championship.

The 6-foot-4 Cox — a third-team AP All-America pick selected as the region's most outstanding player — and fellow twin tower Kalani Brown, a 6-7 second-team All-American, teamed up to dominate both the glass and the heavily hyped matchup with Gustafson, the nation's leading scorer at 27.9 points per game.

Brown finished with 14 points, and Baylor held a 47-26 rebounding advantage with 20 second-chance points to six for Iowa. The Bears also outscored the Hawkeyes 52-24 in the paint.

"Baylor was obviously too much for us today," coach Lisa Bluder said.

Gustafson finished with 23 points on 9-of-17 shooting, but was held without a rebound in the second half for second-seeded Iowa (29-7). Kathleen Doyle and Tania Davis each had 10 points.

"We just tried to limit her touches," Cox said. "She's a good player. She's going to get her points. We just couldn't let that second or third player go off."

The Bears — who entered allowing their opponents to shoot a Division I-worst 31.4% — held Iowa way below its previous worst of 41.1% at Purdue on Jan. 10.

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