WACO _ On paper, the Connecticut women's basketball team appears untouchable. OK, UConn appears untouchable on the basketball court, too.
The Huskies won last year's NCAA national championship with a perfect 39-0 record. And they're a perfect 37-0 this year while ranked No. 1 in the nation.
With 76 consecutive wins in their pocket _ each one of them by double-digits _ the Huskies are the proverbial team that's standing on the mountaintop daring anyone to knock them off their perch.
Baylor (27-9) gets its chance at bringing UConn crashing back down to earth when the two teams collide Sunday night at 8:30 in San Antonio's Alamodome in the semifinals of the NCAA Final Four.
But even Baylor coach Kim Mulkey knows beating UConn will be a very tall and challenging order.
"UConn is up here and the rest of us are playing for second place,'' Mulkey said. "But that doesn't mean we're just going to go out there and give up and start waving the (white) flags
"We're going to talk it up and just go out there and do the best we can.''
Brittney Griner, Baylor's superstar freshman center, noted there's absolutely no reason for she and her teammates to be in awe of UConn.
"No, I don't think it's intimidating at all,'' Griner said. "I feel like that is how you take yourself out of winning the game, by being intimidated or scared going into a game.
"You should never go into a game being intimidated by other team's records or how many wins they have. I feel like we should go into each game like they are on the same level.''
Lady Bears junior guard Melissa Jones believes the law of averages are on Baylor's side Sunday.
"On any given night anything is possible,'' Jones said. "I think if we really focus on what Baylor can do, I think anything is possible.
"It is a very intimidating thing with everything that they have accomplished in the past. (But) we are not focusing on what they have done. We are focusing on what is ahead of us in the next 40 minutes that we are going to step on the floor with them.''
Mulkey's not even worried whether her five freshmen may be a little nervous going up against the Huskies.
"They know the story about UConn,'' Mulkey said. "Who doesn't, as far as the women's game?
"I can tell you their personalities are they will be very, very respectful, but not fearful, because we don't have time to be fearful.''
While UConn will be trying to win its fifth national title over the past 11 years, Baylor is seeking its second national championship during the past six years. And the way the Lady Bears see it, what better way to bring home another shiny trophy than to bump off the defending national champs.
"We will go to work and we will do the best that we can and play extremely hard and hope that Connecticut has the worst game they've ever played in the whole year and we have the best game we've ever played the whole year,'' Mulkey said. "And if we can do that, then maybe we can keep it under 20.''
Mulkey laughed after that comment. And when asked if a Baylor upset victory over UConn is good for college basketball, Mulkey said:
"It's probably not (good) to Connecticut fans, people who are truly Connecticut fans. But it would be good for our team if our team was the one who did it.
"All good things must end. Isn't that a country song?''
UConn's dominant presence has captivated a lot of folks across the country. Count Mulkey among that bunch.
"When we're on that floor competing against them, let's give it the best effort to try to end it,'' Mulkey said, referring to the 76-game winning streak. "If it doesn't, let's not be negative about it.
"It's an era that they deserve every bit of the coverage and the credit and as much positive publicity as they can get.''
Griner, who has carried Baylor all season, just can't wait for the Lady Bears to get their shot at UConn.
"They have played all of these teams and now we get a shot,'' she said. "We get 40 minutes to try and get past them.
"We are going to try and take advantage of it and hopefully we can be the ones to upset them.''
-- Dwain Price