K-State coach picking UConn to win it all

PAT EATON-ROBB Associated Press Published:

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) -- Kansas State coach Deb Patterson is picking Connecticut to win an eighth national championship, even if the Huskies face Baylor in this season's title game.

Patterson's Wildcats lost 72-26 to UConn on Monday night, and were routed three times by Baylor this season.

"I really just never pick against Connecticut," she said. "They're as versatile as you would have thought when they are shooting as well on the perimeter...I just think they have a versatility to them that makes them very dynamic."

But, she says the keys to a Baylor-UConn rematch, should it happen, will be the play of the Bears' 6-foot-8 center Brittney Griner and UConn's guards.

"They both bring almost contradictory strengths to the floor," she said. "Each is in a position to impact the others strength, and I think it will really come down, when all is said and done, to how Griner impacts the lane and how far Baylor is effective in extending out and forcing Connecticut's guard play. And how well Connecticut shoots that night."

K-State lost its games with Baylor this season by 35, 29 and 21 points. UConn also has lost to Baylor, 66-61 in December.

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LEAVING HER MARK: LSU's LaSondra Barrett has a chance to set a significant LSU career record when she plays what will be the 6-foot-2 senior forward's last game on the Lady Tigers' home court.

The fifth seed meets fourth-seeded Penn State in Baton Rouge in a second-round NCAA tournament game on Tuesday night. Barrett has a chance to break Sylvia Fowles' all-time LSU mark of 494 made free throws.

Barrett, admired by teammates, coaches and fans for her fearless aggression under the basket, has 488 made free throws after hitting 13 in a first-round tournament victory over San Diego State on Sunday night.

"It is always an honor to be mentioned with a player like Sylvia or the greats that have come through LSU," Barrett said. "They can never be replaced. They set tremendous milestones here. Just to be mentioned with them is an honor to me."

With her 10 rebounds on Sunday, Barrett also became the 10th player in school history to hit the 800-mark in that department. She is also 11th at LSU in career scoring with 1,535 points, 62 points short of cracking the top 10.

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ARMCHAIR COACH: Baylor coach Kim Mulkey has been on pins and needles watching the school's men's team win its first two NCAA tournament games. In fact, she found herself hollering at her television, offering some advice to Bears coach Scott Drew.

"He finally listened," she said. "I just knew we had that rapport through the television."

What did she want Baylor to do? Well, it's a funny story actually.

"Scott is a zone coach and I'm a man-to-man coach," Mulkey explained. "He's playing more man-to-man now and I'm loving it, but the other night I was screaming, 'You need to go to a zone. You need to go to a zone and keep 'em out of the paint.' And he did and it won the game for him.

"I was telling one of his assistants, actually this morning, I said, 'I was so proud of you all for making a change right there to a zzzzzzone.' I got that word out of my mouth."

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TRIANGLE OFFENSE: Georgetown women's coach Terri Williams-Flournoy talked to men's coach John Thompson III on Monday morning -- and no, he didn't want her to take a short drive east to trash the North Carolina State campus.

At the same time Sunday that Georgetown's women won in the subregional hosted by North Carolina, the men's team lost to N.C. State in the third round.

N.C. State's campus is roughly a 30-minute drive from Chapel Hill in this hoops hotbed known as the North Carolina Triangle.

"John and I have kind of a set rule -- we don't talk to each other after losses, because we understand," Williams-Flournoy said. "But I talked to John this morning and just expressed to him how we felt and how we were cheering for him to win."

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PRAISE FOR BAUGH: DePaul coach Doug Bruno has high praise for Tennessee forward Vicki Baugh.

He recalled seeing her break the rim on a dunk after a U.S. team practice at the 2007 FIBA U19 world championships in Slovakia. She made a bigger impression on him the previous year simply by showing her maturity, when they were getting ready for the Americas U18 championship.

"When I coached the 18-year-olds, there were three young players that were not out of high school yet -- Vicki Baugh, Maya Moore and Kayla Pedersen," Bruno said. "And there was also a group that year of players that were matriculating into college that kind of knew it all. It was just very, very impressive to see Vicki and Maya and Kayla have the guts to stand up and say, 'This is what we are. This is how we do things. We do things the right way. We're not going to be swept up by all the stuff that's going on within this team.' It was just really impressive to watch the maturity of those three players and, specifically, Vicki."

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NCAA sports writers Joedy McCreary, Andrew Seligman, Noah Trister, and Brett Martel contributed to this report.