Be assured that Wisconsin-Green Bay did as the feisty bunch went against the 6-foot-8 standout.
Griner scored a career-high 40 points with 10 rebounds and six blocked shots and the top-seeded Lady Bears defeated Green Bay 86-76 on Sunday night to advance to the Dallas Regional final against a very familiar foe.
"I don't think about it too much, how much I scored," Griner said. "When I'm feeling it in a game, it's just something that comes over you. If I'm feeling it, I'm just going to keep going until I can't."
Baylor (34-2), trying to get to the Final Four for the second year in a row, advanced to play second-seeded Texas A&M (30-5) on Tuesday night in a rematch of the Big 12 championship game from three weeks ago — and their fourth meeting this season. The Lady Bears won the first three by a combined 15 points.
"I don't like playing them again, because I think it takes away the opportunity for two Big 12 teams to have made it to the Final Four," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said.
While the Lady Bears had quite a fight against the Horizon League team that had won 25 games in a row, the Aggies had a 79-38 rout over Georgia in the other game Sunday in Dallas.
Green Bay (34-2) trailed 52-49 with 13? minutes left before Griner and freshman point guard Odyssey Sims combined to score all the points in a 14-0 run that finally put Baylor in control.
"We were right there, you could taste it," Green Bay senior Celeste Hoewisch said. "We were like if we can take the lead, maybe they'll start getting frazzled or something. We felt we were right there."
Until Griner started Baylor's game-turning spurt with a short baseline shot over two defenders. Sims had consecutive 3-pointers before two free throws and a putback by Griner, then Sims had a steal and a breakaway layup.
"I feel like we both kind of took it on our shoulders," Griner said. "We were feeding off each other."
Sims, playing only a few miles from home, finished with 18 points, four assists and three steals. That was plenty to offset a season-high eight turnovers.
Griner finished 15 of 21 from the field and made all 10 of her free throws for Baylor.
"Griner was just dominant. ... I really felt like going in physically we'd be able to bury better than we did in the post. Boy, she's strong. It was more Griner, honestly, than our defense," Green Bay coach Matt Bollant said. "We tried and we fought and we played with a lot of courage. But we didn't have the answer for the best player in the country."
Griner was coming off 30 points and eight blocks in Baylor's victory Tuesday night over West Virginia, when she sat on the bench the final 9:20 of the first half with two fouls.
This time, she sat the final 5:51 of the half with 13 points after two fouls in a 14-second span.
Kayla Tetschlag led Green Bay (34-2) with 27 points and 10 rebounds. Fellow senior Hoewisch had 20 points.
The Phoenix finished with 34 rebounds, the same as Baylor, with an impressive 21 offensive boards, despite Griner usually clogging the middle. They certainly didn't back down from Baylor's dominating center.
"We just have that mentality as players. We don't care what's on the front of the jersey. We're going to play our butts off for 40 minutes," said Hoewisch, fighting back tears. "And we did talk about not being intimidated. But we didn't really need to say much. These girls are fighters."
Griner's two quick fouls came after she tried to block a shot by Stephanie Sension, and when she was called for a charge against the 6-3 forward who is Green Bay's tallest player. The Lady Bears were up 13 when Griner went to the bench for the rest of the first half.
Green Bay, in the round of 16 for the first time, took advantage with a 12-3 run and pulled to 34-30 when Hoewisch hit a 3-pointer with 2:36 left.
Bollant called a timeout with 9 seconds left after consecutive Phoenix turnovers led to baskets by Brooklyn Pope.
Bollant settled down his team and set up what was expected to be a half-ending play, and Hoewisch found an opening and got the pass to Tetschlag for a layup. Only problem was that left 4 seconds on the clock, enough for Sims to bank in a 3-pointer from well beyond the arc as the buzzer sounded for a 43-34 lead.
"It's something I practice. I mean, I play around in practice," Sims said. "I threw it up and it went in."
|< Prev||Next >|