BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – For the second-straight season, the Southwestern Athletic Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament champion has a date in Waco, Texas as Grambling State will take on Big 12 Tournament Champion and No. 2 seed Baylor to open the 2018 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament.
The contest tips-off at 6:30 PM on Friday.
The Lady Tigers (19-13), who ended a 19-year SWAC championship drought with its 72-68 victory over Southern, drew a No. 15 seed in the Waco regional. Grambling has won seven of its last eight games.
Shakyla Hill leads the way for Grambling, as she is the team’s leading scorer (17.1 PPG) and rebounder (7.5 RPG). Hill, the SWAC’s leader in steals (4.9) and assists (5.7), ranks in the top five of league-leaders in scoring, assists, rebounding, steals and field-goal percentage and has averaged 25.6 points, 10.0 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 4.8 steals over her last seven games, recording six double-doubles during that span.
Senior and All-Tournament honoree Monisha Neal (10.3 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.6 SPG) and junior Jazmin Boyd (12.3 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.0 SPG) combine with Hill to form a dynamic trio in the backcourt for the Lady Tigers.
In Baylor (31-1, 18-0), Grambling faces one of the most physically imposing teams in the country. The Lady Bears have won at least 30 games for eight-straight seasons and are second in the country at 88.6 points per game.
Baylor’s usual starting lineup features four players at least 6’1 in height, led by Big 12 Player of the Year and All-America center Kalani Brown (20.2 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 66.3 FG%) and Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Lauren Cox (14.7 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 2.67 BPG). Fellow All-Big 12 selection Kristy Wallace (12.9 PPG, 5.3 APG, 5.0 RPG, 50.2% FG, 38.4% 3-PT) and Juicy Landrum (7.3 PPG, 41.1% 3-PT) offer difference makers at the perimeter.
Grambling’s core is no stranger to Baylor, as the teams met on Dec. 6, 2015. Baylor prevailed 96-42 in a contest that saw Hill, Neal and Boyd limited to a combined 11 points.