Feb. 22, 2010
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) - As Baylor's Brittney Griner posted up with the game tied and just seconds remaining against Texas A&M on Monday night a question recently posed to her flashed through the freshman's mind.
"I was thinking about something that coaches have said: 'When the game is on the line do you want to be a player that takes the shot or do you want to be a player that gives it up and don't want pressure?' I wanted to take that on," she said. "I wanted the pressure."
Griner had 22 points, including the go-ahead basket, and a season-high 21 rebounds as No. 17 Baylor knocked off 12th-ranked Texas A&M 65-63.
The win is Baylor's third straight and its fifth in a row against the Aggies (19-7, 7-6 Big 12).
The 6-foot-8 sensation didn't dunk in this one, but she did just about everything else, and finished with four blocks and a season-high four assists for the Lady Bears (20-7, 7-6).
The Aggies trailed by six points before outscoring Baylor 8-2 to tie it at 63-all on a jump shot by Tanisha Smith with 43 seconds remaining. Then Griner got the ball under the basket and powered up for the winning layup with 16 seconds left.
"It is just incredible when you have a kid with her ability and her athleticism who wants the ball at the end like she did," Baylor senior Morghan Medlock said. "We can't compliment her enough."
Texas A&M had another chance, but Smith's shot bounced off the rim and Griner got the rebound and was fouled.
She missed the free throw, but Sydney Carter missed A&M's last attempt.
"It hurt really bad that I missed that shot," Carter said. "I wasn't really worried about Griner blocking it because I'd already gotten past her. It's just a shot that I missed and I'll learn from it."
Griner believed she probably had something to do with the miss.
"I really didn't get to block it, but if you have somebody 6-8 with long arms coming at you, then you're going to think about it," she said.
The Aggies were led by Smith, who had 21 points and Carter and Danielle Adams added 10 each.
Texas A&M went on a 5-0 run to cut Baylor's lead to three points before Griner hit three of her next four free throw attempts to push the lead to 61-55 with 4 1/2 minutes remaining.
"Brittney Griner late in the game when she got touches ... she made powerful moves to the glass," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. "When she missed she got her own misses and that's just something that, gosh, we needed at that time."
The Aggies used the much shorter Adams to physically defend the Griner, but early foul trouble forced the 6-1 Adams to sit out for chunks of each half. Last year's junior college player of the year fouled out with just more than five minutes remaining.
"I'm proud of my basketball team and I think we played well, it just wasn't good enough," Texas A&M coach Gary Blair said.
Texas A&M scored five points in a row to cut Baylor's lead to 49-48 with 11 1/2 minutes to play. The Lady Bears responded with a 9-2 run, highlighted by a steal and assist by Griner followed by a nifty behind the back move on a layup by Morghan Medlock, to push the lead to 58-50.
Medlock had 14 points and nine rebounds for the Lady Bears and Shanay Washington chipped in with 11 points.
Griner, who already holds the Big 12 record for blocks in a season, now has 161 which moves her into second place on Baylor's career blocks list.
"She's (Griner) the best, or going to be the best by the time she finishes at the post position," Blair said. "The one thing they did well, was their transition game. It was beautiful to watch, but the only problem was, I was on the other team."
The game was tied at 37 early in the second half before Baylor scored six straight points, capped by an offensive rebound and putback by Griner, to take a 43-37 lead.
Baylor led by seven before Texas A&M went on a 9-4 run to take a 23-21 on a jump shot by Adams about seven minutes before halftime. The Aggies had bumped their lead to four points a few minutes later, but the Lady Bears outscored A&M 6-2 in the last three minutes of the half to leave it tied at 33-all at halftime.
Baylor will looks for its fourth straight conference win as it hosts Kansas Sunday afternoon at the Ferrell Center in another nationally televised game on ESPN2. Tip-off is slated for 4 p.m.