Baylor's Kim Mulkey Says She Won't Outcoach UConn's Geno Auriemma in Elite Eight

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMarch 28, 2021

Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey calls to her players during the first half of a college basketball game against Michigan in the Sweet Sixteen round of the women's NCAA tournament at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Saturday, March 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Eric Gay/Associated Press

Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey isn't expecting her team's Elite Eight matchup against Connecticut to be a coaching masterpiece.

Speaking to reporters after the Lady Bears' 78-75 win over Michigan on Saturday, Mulkey explained why she's "not going to outcoach" Geno Auriemma in the next round:

"You're looking at two programs that value defense. I think Baylor and UConn are in the top three in the country in field goal percentage defense. Then you look at rebounding. That might explain to you why both programs are respected across the country.

"So, yeah, it could be an ugly game. When I say ugly, it could be low scoring, it could be some turnovers. Some people want to say boring. It may not be 80 and 90. I don't know."

Baylor and UConn were scheduled to meet in the regular season Jan. 7, but the Bears were forced to cancel because of a COVID-19 outbreak within the program.

As Mulkey noted, the Lady Bears and Huskies are two of the best defensive teams in the nation. Connecticut ranked second in the country with 50.7 points allowed per game and third in opponent field-goal percentage (32.9) during the regular season; Baylor is 12th in scoring defense at 54.2, but leads the nation with a 31.7 field-goal percentage allowed.

Both teams advanced to the Elite Eight with wins Saturday, setting up a showdown Monday with a Final Four berth on the line.

Connecticut is the No. 1 overall seed in the women's tournament this year and is seeking its first national title since winning four straight from 2012-16. Baylor won the last NCAA women's tournament during the 2018-19 season.