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NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament

First Look

March 18, 2004|Mike Terry

LOYOLA MARYMOUNT (24-5) VS. BAYLOR (24-8)

MIDWEST REGIONAL, SATURDAY

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Site: Albuquerque.

Story line: Loyola Marymount, riding a school-record 15-game winning streak, is making its first appearance in the NCAA tournament. Baylor, coming off a fourth consecutive 20-win season, is making its third appearance.

How they got here: The Lions won their first West Coast Conference regular-season and tournament championships. The Bears tied for fourth in the Big 12 Conference and lost to Texas in the conference tournament semifinals.

Common opponents: Loyola Marymount lost to North Carolina State, 84-50; Baylor defeated North Carolina State, 79-63.

Styles of play: The Lions depend on defense, holding opponents below 57 points a game and under 40% shooting. The Bears fire away and led the Big 12 in scoring at 77 points a game.

X factor: How excited, rather than poised, the Lions will be in their first NCAA tournament. How tired, rather than tough, the Bears are after getting through a competitive conference.

What to expect: Loyola Marymount must contain Bear forwards Steffanie Blackmon and Sophia Young (both average 15.6 points) to have a chance. Baylor will try to lock up the Lions' leading scorer, Kate Murray (16 points), defensively and make the other four players beat them.

-- Mike Terry

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