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Oregon Ducks fall in Final Four of NCAA Women’s Tournament 72-67 to Baylor

KPTV logo KPTV 4/6/2019
a man holding a green ball: Oregon forward Oti Gildon (32), guard Maite Cazorla, right, and forward Ruthy Hebard (24) help guard Sabrina Ionescu off the court during the first half of a Final Four semifinal against Baylor in the NCAA women’s college basketball tournament Friday, April 5, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) © John Raoux

Oregon forward Oti Gildon (32), guard Maite Cazorla, right, and forward Ruthy Hebard (24) help guard Sabrina Ionescu off the court during the first half of a Final Four semifinal against Baylor in the NCAA women’s college basketball tournament Friday, April 5, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

The No. 1 overall seed survives.

The Baylor Bears have reached the NCAA women's basketball championship game, fending off No. 2 seed Oregon 72-67 in the Final Four on Friday at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida.

Baylor (36-1) will face either No. 1 seed Notre Dame or No. 2 seed Connecticut. Those two teams take the court for the second semifinal later Friday. The Bears are aiming for their third title, having also won in 2012 and 2005.

Junior forward Lauren Cox flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 21 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. She also had two steals and blocked two shots. Senior center Kalani Brown had 22 points, while sophomore guard DiDi Richards added 15.

For Oregon (33-5), it was the team's first Final Four -- and possibly the final game for star Ducks point guard Sabrina Ionescu, who finished with 18 points despite going scoreless in the first quarter.

Although it's uncommon for women's basketball players to turn professional before graduating college, Ionescu, a 22-year-old junior, isn't your typical talent. She's considered the top pick of the WNBA draft should she decide to leave school early.

Ionescu is the all-time NCAA leader -- for women and men -- with 18 career triple-doubles. She also has the single-season triple-double record, with eight.

Ionescu's parents moved from Romania to northern California in 1990 after the Romanian Revolution. Seven years later, Ionescu and her twin brother, Eddy, were born. Her first language was Romanian, which she used when playing with her brother in basketball games.

Her talent hasn't gone unnoticed in the NBA, with Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry recently giving Ionescu praise, saying, "She's a legend in her own right."

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