Kim Mulkey trusted what Baylor had done all season long.
Heading into Monday's Elite Eight game against Iowa, the marquee matchup was Iowa's Megan Gustafson, the National Player of the Year, taking on Baylor's dominating duo of Kalani Brown and Lauren Cox in the post. The overarching story was one of the more efficient offenses in the nation, the Hawkeyes (52 percent shooting), trying to break down the nation's top field goal percentage defense (31.3 percent allowed) in the Lady Bears.
Despite its defensive prowess, Baylor likely wasn't going to completely shut down one of the nation's most gifted scorers in Gustafson (27.9 ppg), so Mulkey's defensive gameplan focused elsewhere to hold the Hawkeyes to just 32 percent shooting from the floor in the 85-53 win.
It'll be Baylor's first Final Four trip since 2012.
Heading into the game, Mulkey chose not to focus on doubling Gustafson when she got the ball. Brown, Cox and freshman NaLyssa Smith all drew one-on-one assignments throughout the night and although Gustafson finished with 23 points on 9-of-17, most were contested and more importantly, the rest of Iowa shot just 23 percent from the floor while Baylor dominated with a 52 percent shooting percentage.
Baylor also controlled the boards as they've done all season winning the rebounding edge, 48-26. Cox finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds while Didi Richards added a double-double of her own with 16 points and 11 boards.
From one nationally recognized player to another, Baylor will draw Oregon and the walking triple-double herself, Sabrina Ionesca, in the Final Four Friday, April 5.