March 22, 2010
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - In a game that may have marked a low for offensive ineptitude, Brittney Griner set a high for defensive prowess.
Griner blocked an NCAA tournament record 14 shots in a horrid offensive game for both teams, leading fourth-seeded Baylor to a 49-33 victory over No. 5 seed Georgetown in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Monday night.
After playing less than 7 minutes in the first half because of foul trouble, Griner blocked 13 shots after halftime to break the previous mark of 11 in a game that Pauline Jordan of UNLV set against Colorado in 1989.
"I really loved the second half," Griner said. "For one, I got to play. They looked a little frustrated every time I blocked a shot."
Griner's defense helped Baylor (25-9) advanced to play top-seeded Tennessee (32-2) in Saturday's Memphis Regional semifinal. The Volunteers beat Dayton 92-64 earlier Monday.
Georgetown (26-7) missed its first 14 shots and had no answer offensively when Griner was in the game or when she was out with foul trouble. The Hoyas shot 17 percent and made fewer shots than Griner blocked, finishing 12 for 70 and matching the fifth fewest points ever scored in the tournament.
"The objective is to score," said Monica McNutt, who finished 1-for-7. "We defended, we rebounded and we dealt with the 6-8 player on the post. We couldn't buy a bucket. It hurt so bad to have this happen this night."
Baylor wasn't much better offensively, shooting 38 percent, making only six baskets in the second half and committing 21 turnovers.
The teams combined for 25 percent shooting and 34 turnovers, with both teams having more turnovers than made baskets.
"It wasn't a pretty game," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. "I think the most beautiful part of the game was our defense. When you hold a team that shot 70 times to 17 percent from the field, I think you're guarding somebody."
Baylor's Morghan Medlock led all scorers with 11 points, adding 15 rebounds.
Griner, who was suspended for two games earlier this month for punching a Texas Tech player in the nose, made just 2 of 7 shots, missed 4 of 7 free throws and finished with seven points and six rebounds. But she controlled the game on the defensive end, blocking 13 shots in the second half. The teams combined for 10 made shots in the half.
"What Brittney allowed herself to do was not let the offensive non-production affect what she does on the defensive end of the floor," Mulkey said. "For a freshman to do that, it was big for us. What she couldn't do on the offensive end of the floor, she certainly was so big for us on the defensive end."
Griner set the single-season record with 199 blocks, passing Louella Tomlinson of Saint Mary's, who had 195 this season before being eliminated in the WNIT on Sunday.
Griner actually pitched a shutout for more than 10 minutes. Georgetown missed its first 15 shots with Griner in the game and needed 10:03 to score its first points with her on the court.
"She's a big presence down there," said Jalessa Butler, who finished 3 for 13. "We just couldn't make shots tonight. We did what we could to defend her. But it all boiled down to not making shots."
Georgetown got off to a horrid start offensively, unable to hit shots from anywhere on the floor. Griner made her presence felt early blocking a shot by Butler in the lane.
But Griner was forced to the bench after just 6:30 after committing two offensive fouls fighting for position. Georgetown had missed all eight attempts at that point, including a layup by Sugar Rodgers to fall behind 10-0.
But it didn't get any easier for the Hoyas once Griner went to the bench for the rest of the half. Georgetown missed 11 of its next 12 shots with Griner watching as Baylor extended the lead to 19-2.
Georgetown made just 1 of 20 shots before Tia Magee's layup cut Baylor's lead to 19-4 with 8:22 remaining in the half. The Hoyas mounted a semblance of an offense after that and trailed only 31-19 at the break.
"The story needs to be about what our team did without Griner on the floor," Mulkey said. "We had a double-figure lead going into halftime and she played six or seven minutes. That's big for our basketball team. Brittney draws so much attention and god knows she deserves every bit of it."
There was one scary moment in the first half for Baylor. Shanay Washington crashed hard to the floor after converting a layup with 8:40 to go. Shanice Fuller slid underneath Washington trying to draw a charge. Fuller turned her body at the last second and Washington toppled over her and fell to the ground in pain with an injured hip pointer. After riding an exercise bike for a few minutes, Washington returned briefly later in the half.