Nov. 28, 2009
WACO, Texas (AP)--Brittney Griner played only 19 minutes Saturday, but the 6-foot-8 Baylor freshman sure made an impact on coach Errol Rogers and his Ragin' Cajuns.
Griner had 14 points and a career-best 14 rebounds, and her five blocked shots keyed a stifling defense that helped the No. 8 Lady Bears beat Louisiana-Lafayette 89-42 in the World Vision Basketball Challenge.
"She affects the way everybody plays," Rogers said. "She's going to change the face of the women's game."
Alexis Green had nine points and Jessica Sigue eight for the Ragin' Cajuns (0-5).
With Griner on the court, the Lady Bears held the Ragin' Cajuns to 4-of-29 shooting, beat them on the boards 30-11 and outscored them 34-0 in the paint.
Griner helped frustrate forward Mercedes Johnson, Louisiana-Lafayette's leading scorer at 17 points per game. Johnson was held scoreless in 13 minutes, with no rebounds four turnovers and four fouls.
"Brittney's presence in the paint allows us to do a lot of things out on the perimeter, get in the passing lanes and pressure people without fear of getting beat on the backside," said Baylor coach Kim Mulkey. "It's security for all of us."
Griner was dominant on both ends during a 17-0 run that put Baylor in control, 25-8, midway through the first half. She had six points and six rebounds during the run, and the attention she commanded in the post repeatedly freed up teammates for easy baskets inside.
"Our kids played hard the first five minutes, but then they turned up their intensity level and we just buckled," Rogers said. "That's why they're in the Big 12. You have to be able to turn on that intensity and keep it up. We didn't protect the ball, and we let them intimidate us."
Nine of the Lady Bears' first 10 buckets came in the paint, and Griner's 10-foot baseline jumper was their only basket from outside until Melissa Jones nailed a 3-pointer with 10:59 left in the opening half.
"We were just fortunate to put a body on her, box her out and prevent her from getting a dunk," said Rogers, whose team avoided becoming the first school to be dunked on by multiple players, after LSU's Sylvia Fowles did it in November 2007.
Things didn't get much better for the Ragin' Cajuns after Griner sat down. Even with most of their starters on the bench, the Lady Bears closed the first half with an 18-3 run to take a 43-13 lead. They also padded their advantage after clearing the bench in the second half, despite a season-high 26 turnovers.
Baylor finished with a 50-24 edge on the boards and a 64-14 advantage scoring in the paint. The Lady Bears also held the Ragin' Cajuns to 26 percent shooting (16 of 62), the fourth time in six games they've limited opponents to 27 percent or less.