DES MOINES, Iowa — Don't ignore the importance of the dunk when Tennessee plays Baylor in the Elite Eight of the NCAA women's basketball tournament tonight at Wells Fargo Arena.
A Brittney Griner dunk can be worth more than two points to the Lady Bears. In fact, it seems to energize their entire team.
"I was real excited (when Griner dunked against Georgia Tech on Saturday)," point guard Odyssey Sims said. "I had a towel in my hand on the sideline, and I kept jumping and swirling the towel around.
"It's something that automatically gets us fired up."
"The players were always encouraging her to dunk the ball," Lockwood said. "Because it got them going."
Historical Match-up: No one could promote tonight's game better than Georgia Tech coach MaChelle Joseph.
"I think it's going to be historical for a lot of reasons," said Joseph, whose team lost to Baylor 83-68 in the Sweet 16 on Saturday. "And I think its' a tremendous opportunity for people to come out here and be a part of it.
"I think if you talk about someone that's a pioneer, someone that's changed women's basketball forever, the first name that comes to my mind is Pat Summitt. You talk about a player that has changed the game forever and has made a difference, you talk about Brittney Griner.
"I don't think we're ever going to see another female basketball player with the capabilities that Brittney Griner has. It's unfortunate that one of them has to lose, because both of those teams and programs are so important to women's basketball."
No-Stare Coaching: UT associate head coach Holly Warlick would never downplay the influence UT head coach Pat Summitt has had on her. But her coaching repertoire doesn't include Summitt's famous stare.
"I know what she has given me as far as opportunities, and she has instilled a lot of things in me," Warlick said. "I am not Pat Summitt and I am not going to stare a kid down. That is not me, but I have the principles of what this team is based on and I am going to relate that to these kids."
Williams Factor: Baylor forward Destiny Williams didn't have much of a presence against UT in November with two points and six rebounds in 30 minutes. But she has had a prominent role for the Lady Bears for much of the season, especially down the stretch.
In the last seven games, she has averaged 12.3 points while making 78.8 percent of her field goal attempts. She leads Baylor in rebounding with 9.3 per game.
"Playing with Brittney makes basketball a lot easier," Williams said. "I think we have improved knowing each other offensively and defensively.
"We know how to switch now. We communicate more."
Brittney Griner Dunk vs Ga. Tech
Upset Winner: Baylor coach Kim Mulkey wasn't the happiest of winners after her victory over Georgia Tech.
"I've got plenty to be upset about," she said afterwards.
She was referring, in part, to the game's final minutes during which her reserves lost more than half of a 31-point lead. But she wasn't just disappointed with the play of her second-line players. She also was critical of Georgia Tech coach Joseph's failure to remove her starters late in the game.
"That was an embarrassment to women's basketball," Mulkey said.
Dressing Up: Mulkey draws considerable attention for her flashy game-day wardrobes. Baylor's Brooklyn Pope says the team never knows what's coming.
"We don't get a sneak peak at the closet," Pope said. "I thought she looked nice (Saturday)."
She also looked taller. Mulkey wore a white shirt, red pants and red, platform sandals.
"She's small, but those heels really helped," Pope said.
Mulkey will have a hard time topping the outfit she wore last season when UT played Baylor in Waco.
"My favorite was last year when she wore an all-white suit against Tennessee," Pope said. "It was a pretty nice suit."