by Mike Potter
Just a little too much Brittney Griner.
That’s what No. 6 Duke saw for 40 minutes in the final of the Memphis Regional in women’s basketball, the Blue Devils having their season end in a 51-48 loss to No. 14 Baylor.
Duke, seeded No. 2 in the region, finished its best season in its three under Joanne P. McCallie with a 30-6 record after winning both the ACC regular-season and tournament championships.
No. 4 seed Baylor (27-9), which got some fashion of revenge against Duke for eliminating its men’s team in the same Elite Eight round on Sunday, will take on the winner of Tuesday night’s game between heavily favored No. 1 seed Connecticut and Florida State in the national semifinals on April 4 in San Antonio.
The 6-8 freshman Griner, who has already surpassed former Duke star Alison Bales for the single NCAA Tournament record for blocked shots, finished with 15 points, 11 rebounds and nine blocks while Melissa Jones chipped in 10 points.
Jasmine Thomas led the Blue Devils with 16 points, while Karima Christmas chipped in 10 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
Duke led 48-43 when 6-4 center Krystal Thomas, who had handled most of the defensive duties on Griner, fouled out with 2:17 remaining.
Griner put Baylor ahead 49-48 on a jumper with 45 seconds left, and then Jones added a pair of free throws with 26 seconds left.
Duke senior forward Joy Cheek had two 3-point attempts to tie, but neither connected.