DENVER — All season long, Baylor has been the best team led by the best player in the country. And that just makes the stakes in Tuesday night's NCAA championship a little higher.
Anything short of a women's national title would be deemed a failure for Brittney Griner and her Lady Bears.
That may explain why Baylor hasn't focused on an undefeated season, nor on becoming the first team in NCAA history to win 40 games. Griner and her teammates just want to win the school's second title.
Standing in the way is Notre Dame, a team on a mission ever since losing in last year's championship to Texas A&M and sparked by maybe the nation's second-most dynamic player, All-American Skylar Diggins.
The tournament's top seed against No. 2. Just the way the selection committee drew it up.
"40-0 was never really the goal," said Griner at a news conference Monday. "We have team goals each year and our goal was to win a national championship.
"If you lose, you can't win a national championship. You've got to go 40-0 now."
Griner knows that despite the Lady Bears' incredible season, how it's judged will depend on Tuesday night.
"We don't have that ring yet," the 6-foot-8 junior phenom said. "That's the main goal. Until we get that, we're going to feel like we haven't really done anything."
Baylor (39-0) vs. Notre Dame (35-3)
Tonight, 6:30 p.m.
- Football legend Brett Favre drops in on Alta...
- Final preseason breakdown of BYU, Utah and...
- Peavler: Final preseason breakdown of BYU,...
- Brad Rock: BYU, Utah players take blame like...
- BYU assistant football coach is also Bishop...
- BYU's Bronson Kaufusi eager to display new...
- Deseret News previews of all 103 varsity...
- BYU camp report: Taysom Hill throws a pair of...
- College football: BYU, Utah State... 140
- Travis Wilson edges out Kendal Thompson... 104
- Hawaii AD: 'There is a very real... 83
- Guest commentary: It’s OK if BYU... 75
- Dick Harmon: Offensive line play will... 45
- BYU football: Cougars agree to... 40
- BYU's offense 'too sloppy' in scrimmage 29
- Peavler: Final preseason breakdown of... 25