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Baylor-Michigan State Matchups

Tuesday, April 5, 2005; Page D03

_____Other Matchups_____


Michigan State Coach Joanne P. McCallie considers Rene Haynes her sixth starter, splitting playing time between starter Victoria Lucas-Perry and Haynes. Whenever Haynes comes into a game, she gives the Spartans a lift, usually on the defensive end. Baylor goes a bit deeper into its rotation. McCallie calls forward Emily Niemann the "X" factor in this game. "Her inside-outside ability is very good for them," McCallie said. Although she doesn't start, Niemann, who scored 14 points in 27 minutes against LSU, is Baylor's third-leading scorer.


These two coaches have had profound impacts on their programs. Baylor went 7-20 the year before Kim Mulkey-Robertson arrived and had never made the NCAA tournament. Five years later, the Lady Bears are in the Final Four for the first time. Mulkey-Robertson, who was the point guard on Louisiana Tech's 1982 national championship team, can become the first woman to win an NCAA title as a player and a coach. Michigan State had been to only three NCAA tournaments before Joanne P. McCallie arrived five years ago. Now it is making its first Final Four appearance.

Back Courts

Michigan State's guards have an uncanny ability to sense when a big play is needed and then, even more remarkably, they make it. Kristin Haynie's steal in the final minutes against Tennessee was the game-breaker. "That's typical Kristin," Michigan State Coach Joanne P. McCallie said. "She's always going to be there." Lindsay Bowen's three-point basket against Stanford crushed the Cardinal. With all the attention lavished on Baylor's post players, its guards often are overlooked. Point guard Chelsea Whitaker is a solid playmaker and a tough defender. Chameka Scott is a streaky shooter who needs to sink shots.

Front Courts

On paper, the matchup between Michigan State's Liz Shimek and Kelli Roehrig and Baylor's Sophia Young and Steffanie Blackmon seems pretty one-sided. Young, a Kodak all-American, and Blackmon account for 45 percent of Baylor's scoring and 44 percent of its rebounding. Yet Baylor Coach Kim Mulkey-Robertson appreciates what Shimek and Roehrig do for Michigan State. "If you scout those players, you don't leave a gym and go, 'Wow, they leap out of the gym. They get up there and hang on the rim.' But you leave a gym and go, 'I would like to have players like that on my team,' " Mulkey-Robertson said.

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