Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

March 27, 2013

NCAA WOMEN'S BB TOURNEY: Baylor having fun chasing 2nd title in row

WACO, Texas — Brittney Griner stopped at the edge of the podium, pulled out her iPhone and made a goofy face.

Before taking a self-portrait in front of the NCAA tournament backdrop after her final home game for Baylor, when she became the first woman with three dunks in a game, the 6-foot-8 Griner had teammates Brooklyn Pope and Odyssey Sims join her with silly grins of their own.

When coach Kim Mulkey turned and saw what was going on behind her, she started laughing.

These Lady Bears are having fun and making the most of the time they have left together - less than two weeks now and only four wins away from a second consecutive national championship.

Baylor (34-1), in the NCAA round of 16 for the fourth year in a row, plays Louisville (26-8) on Sunday night in Oklahoma City.

Griner had a fitting farewell at the Ferrell Center with 33 points, a career-high 22 rebounds and that trio of impressive dunks. The last two slams came after a tweet at halftime of the 85-47 victory over Florida State on Tuesday night.

In describing how her team is playing right now, Mulkey said: `It's scary good. And it's not just Brittney.''

But Griner, one of five Lady Bears seniors, does create the most impressive highlights.

For her first dunk in the home finale, Griner caught a pass on the move from freshman Niya Johnson, took one more step without a dribble and went up for a one-handed slam. A tweet posted during halftime from Griner's account read: "Need two more dunks on home court for the best crowd ever!''

And she delivered with two slams in a 79-second span of the second half not long before she came out of the game for good.

Griner got another pass from Johnson, waited for a defender to move past and for a one-handed dunk. Soon after that, Griner grabbed the rebound of a missed 3-pointer while surrounded by three Seminoles and had a reverse slam.

After winning the Big 12 tournament championship with a 28-point victory over Kansas State, the Lady Bears opened the NCAA tourney with an 82-40 win over Prairie View. The NCAA's top overall seed then scored the game's first 11 points and had a 31-point halftime lead against Florida State on way to its 33rd consecutive victory overall and 57th in a row at home.

"If you look at our numbers across the board, it's not just Brittney's numbers,'' Mulkey said. "If you look at Odyssey's numbers, Destiny Williams' field goal percentage, our free throw percentage.''

While Griner has averaged 33 points and 11 1/2 rebounds the past six games, Williams has made two-thirds of her field goal attempts (38 of 58) in the last eight games, even with a 2-for-6 night against the Seminoles. Sims has 41 assists with only 13 turnovers (seven coming in one game) in the same seven-game span when the Lady Bears are shooting 57 percent from the field as a team.

Baylor is 72-2 at home since the arrival of the senior trio of Griner, Kimetria Hayden and Jordan Madden. Griner played in only one of those losses, missing the regular season finale of her freshman season, a loss to Texas.

The Lady Bears have won every home game the past three seasons since point guard Sims arrived the same year that transfers Destiny Williams and Pope, the other current seniors, were able to start playing for the team. Sims can extend the home winning streak next season, but Griner and the other Lady Bears seniors will end their careers on the road - preferably by lifting another national championship trophy in New Orleans on April 9.

The last time Baylor didn't make it past the NCAA round of 16 was 2009, before any of the current players, when Louisville won 56-39 in a third-round game. Now Baylor gets Louisville again.

In the other game at Oklahoma City on Sunday, Oklahoma plays Tennessee. Baylor has won six in a row against the Big 12 rival Sooners and last season beat the Lady Vols in another NCAA regional.

Mulkey said her players don't feel any pressure in trying to repeat as national champs.

"Getting another (national title) would be icing on the cake,'' Mulkey said. "If you don't win, would you be disappointed? Absolutely, we would be disappointed. But it won't be because of pressure to do it again.

"Their personality, they don't engage in pressure very much,'' she said. "It's go play, let's go play. We know we're good.''

 

1
Text Only
Sports
  • DSC_0111web.jpg ‘Team behind the Team’

    For the second-straight year, the Claremore Zebra student training staff will be represented in the Oklahoma Coaches All-State games held in Tulsa.
    Meranda Golbek and Sarah Szcinski, a pair of 2014 Claremore High School graduates, earned All-State honors for their athletic training careers and will join two other student trainers from Jenks and Stillwater High School on the East squad.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • FISHFRYweb.jpg Claremore QB Club holds Fish Fry Aug. 2

    The Claremore Zebra Quarterback Club will hold its annual Fish Fry fundraiser on Aug. 2 at the Claremore High School cafeteria.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • MLB: D-Backs top Reds in 15 innings

    As the game went one with no hint that either team was capable of scoring, Arizona catcher Miguel Montero became philosophical.

    ''I knew eventually it was going to go one way or the other,'' he said.

    Whenever it goes really long, the Diamondbacks always win.

    Nick Ahmed's RBI single with two outs in the 15th inning sent the Diamondbacks to a 2-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Monday night and kept their franchise perfect when the innings pile up.

    July 29, 2014

  • MLB: Dodgers acquire 2B Barney from Cubs

    The Los Angeles Dodgers have acquired second baseman Darwin Barney in a trade with the Chicago Cubs.

    Barney won a Gold Glove in 2012 after tying the major league single-season record with 141 consecutive errorless games. But he was designated for assignment last Tuesday after hitting .230 with 16 RBIs in 72 games this season.

    July 29, 2014

  • MLB: Worley tosses 4-hitter, Pirates blank Giants, 5-0

    Except for about 30 friends and family in the stands, Sacramento native Vance Worley silenced the announced crowd of 41,794 at AT&T Park with the best performance of his career.

    Worley tossed a four-hitter for his first shutout, and the Pittsburgh Pirates pounded Madison Bumgarner early in a 5-0 win over the struggling Giants on Monday night.

    July 29, 2014

  • MLB: Cabrera, Blue Jays rip Red Sox, 14-1

    Melky Cabrera's second homer sailed over the left field wall and smashed a car window across the street.

    Just a little extra damage in a game when the Toronto Blue Jays hammered the Boston Red Sox.

    Cabrera homered from both sides of the plate and drove in five runs, R.A. Dickey pitched three-hit ball for seven innings and the Blue Jays won 14-1 on Monday night.

    July 29, 2014

  • NFL: Redskins enjoying calm camp under Gruden

    The Washington Redskins are the team that gave us Michael Westbrook punching Stephen Davis, Dan Snyder landing his helicopter during practices, Albert Haynesworth turning the conditioning test into a sideshow and Mike Shanahan using the podium to remind everyone that he was Robert Griffin III's boss.

    July 29, 2014

  • NFL: Peyton Manning does dorky dance to 'Rocky Top'

    Peyton Manning isn't all business all the time. The star quarterback showed his lighter side Monday when he did a dorky dance during the team stretch when ''Rocky Top'' was blared through the loudspeakers at the Denver Broncos' training camp.

    July 29, 2014

  • NBA: T-Wolves sign free agent guard Mo Williams

    Mo Williams is on his way to Minnesota, which means J.J. Barea could be on his way out.

    The Timberwolves and Williams have agreed to a $3.75 million, one-year contract, the player's agency, Priority Sports, announced on Monday. The agreement gives the Timberwolves an experienced and versatile combo guard to play behind Ricky Rubio.

    July 29, 2014

  • NBA: Rose back on the court for Team USA

    Derrick Rose says he feels old.

    The 25-year-old point guard's rigorous play on Monday during the U.S. basketball team's first practice dictated otherwise.

    July 29, 2014