Dec. 13, 2009
NEW YORK (AP) -Baylor freshman Brittney Griner had a stellar debut at Madison Square Garden. The only thing missing was a dunk.
The 6-foot-8 phenom scored 25 points, had seven rebounds and blocked three shots to help the sixth-ranked Bears beat Boston College 68-55 on Sunday in the first game of the Maggie Dixon Classic.
"Brittney has already impacted the game of women's basketball," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. "We came the farthest and a lot of these folks came to see Brittney Griner. The expectations that have been placed on her as a freshman are incredible. She keeps getting better."
Every time Griner touched the ball their was a buzz in the crowd, which included New York Liberty president Carol Blazejowski and coach Anne Donovan. Griner had one chance to dunk in the game with 30 seconds left, but her hand was just underneath the rim when she put it in.
"I was trying to get one in the last few seconds," Griner said with a smile. "I always feel their are expectations for me to dunk."
Mulkey explained that it's not as easy to get a dunk as it may seem.
"If you want to see her dunk come for warmups," the Baylor coach said. "She will do anything you ask. But we're playing some really good basketball teams and it's difficult for her to get one in the game. It's got to be the right situation. We can't just call a play for it."
Morghan Medlock added 12 points for the Bears (8-1), who have won eight straight since losing to Tennessee in the season opener.
Stefanie Murphy scored 18 and Mickel Picco added 10 to lead Boston College (5-5).
Fourth-ranked Tennessee played Rutgers in the second game of the doubleheader. All four teams stood together on the court between the games to honor Dixon.
With Baylor leading 29-25 early in the second half, Griner took over. She scored 10 points during a 14-4 spurt. The 6-foot-8 freshman started the spurt with a nifty layup. A few putbacks and turnaround jumpers by Griner during the run gave Baylor a 43-29 lead midway through the second half.
Boston College was able to close to 58-48, but Jordan Madden hit a jumper just as the shot clock ran out and the Eagles could get no closer.
The Bears took a 19-4 lead in the first 7 minutes, hitting nine of their first 11 shots. Griner had six points in the spurt.
"We started off great," said Mulkey, who played at the Garden twice in the early 1980s. "This is a game of runs and we got one early."
Boston College looked nervous, missing open shots and turning the ball over. The Eagles finally got on track behind Murphy, who scored six straight points as Boston College closed to 24-15. The Eagles trailed by 10 at halftime in the first meeting between the schools.
"It took us a while to get going," Boston College coach Sylvia Crawley said. "It was a combination of things. Being in Madison Square Garden, playing against a nationally ranked team. We fought hard late in the first half."
The Eagles struggled early in the season with losses to Harvard and Vermont.
"We're starting to turn the corner," Crawley said. "We're getting a little better each game and getting ready for the ACC."
This was the fourth Maggie Dixon Classic in honor of the former Army coach, who died on April 6, 2006, of arrhythmia, likely caused by an enlarged heart. The inaugural Maggie Dixon Classic was held at Army in 2006 - a men's and women's doubleheader. The Pittsburgh men, coached by Maggie's brother Jamie, beat Western Michigan, while Ohio State routed Army. The last three have been played at Madison Square Garden as women's doubleheaders.