Nov. 17, 2009
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WACO, Texas (AP) - For Baylor freshman sensation Brittney Griner, every game is still a learning experience.
Two lessons learned in her first home game Tuesday night: use two hands and play under control more when in foul trouble.
Griner had 10 points, 11 rebounds and eight blocks, but missed her only dunk attempt--a one-hander--and fouled out with 10 minutes left in the eight-ranked Lady Bears' 100-55 victory over Tennessee Tech.
"It just rolled out. I should have just went up with two hands and slammed it," Griner said of the dunk attempt. "I will have more opportunities."
When the 6-foot-8 Griner tried a right-handed slam just over 3 minutes into the second half, the ball caromed off the back of the rim. She got the ball right back and was fouled on a putback try, then made one of the free throws to put Baylor up 51-29.
The Lady Bears (1-1) had stretched the lead to 65-38 by time she fouled out with 10:10 left. Coach Kim Mulkey had purposely left Griner in after her fourth foul only 38 seconds earlier.
"It's definitely a learning experience having three or four fouls and learning how to play with them," Griner said. "Luckily this game wasn't possession by possession, and we had a good enough lead."
When Griner committed her fifth foul and went to the bench, Mulkey met her and tenderly spoke with her.
"Teaching her how to play in games, where she has three (fouls), making her stay in there when she has four so she will learn next time she's in that situation," Mulkey said. "Can I stay in the game, can I have confidence in your as a coach that you won't foul out and you'll keep playing good defense? That was the whole purpose of leaving her in there."
While Baylor appeared to be trying to get the ball inside to Griner several times, she had a rough shooting night (3 of 9) and wasn't able to get a dunk against the Golden Eagles (1-2), whose 10-player traveling squad consisted of seven freshmen and three sophomores--all of them at least eight inches shorter than Griner.
"We tried to double (Griner), and offensively, we tried to go at her to get her in foul trouble," first-year Tech coach Sytia Messer said. "We were pleased once she fouled out."
Jordan Madden, another of Baylor's five freshmen, had 21 points to lead five Lady Bears in double figures. Ashley Field had 16 points, lone senior Morghan Medlock had 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Shanay Washington had 10 points.
Krystal Stirrup led Tennessee Tech with 19 points.
The Golden Eagles' only lead was 3-2 when Kylie Cook, who finished with 12 points on four 3-pointers, hit her first one on their opening shot of the game. Medlock's two free throws put Baylor back ahead, and the Lady Bears had already stretched the lead to 22-10 when Madden hit a 3-pointer midway through the first half.
In her college debut Sunday in the Lady Bears' 74-65 loss at sixth-ranked Tennessee, Griner had 15 points, four rebounds and four blocks and didn't attempt a dunk.
She knows she is still adjusting to the college game.
"I got used to it in high school. It is the same thing, but it just more physical at the college level," Griner said. "I just have to keep working on it."