The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

March 3, 2013

Griner, No. 1 Baylor women blast WVU

MORGANTOWN — There was a moment, a mini-second really in terms of how West Virginia University’s game with No. 1 Baylor was played Saturday night, when magic seemed to be happening.

It was early in the second half of a game that the defending national champions from Texas had started 14-0 and 22-3, depending upon how you wanted to look at it, but the Mountaineers were suddenly on fire and that lit up the crowd.

Oh, yes, the crowd. What a crowd. There were 13,447 fans, more than double the last men’s crowd, the largest women’s crowd ever to see a West Virginia home game, far surpassing the Feb. 16, 2008, crowd of 8,307 who came out for a game against DePaul.

True, they came not to see the Mountaineers, for the 6-8 superstar of women’s basketball, Brittney Griner, was here with her Baylor teammates and that was the draw, but if they weren’t on hand to see WVU, they were there to root for them and they suddenly had hope as senior YaYa Dunning hit a three in her final home game, Taylor Palmer stole the ball and scored and Christal Caldwell hit a jumper.

That 22-3 score had become 42-34 and the cadaver that was West Virginia’s women’s team had a heartbeat … and then Dunning was called for her fourth foul.

“When I got called for the fourth foul the wind kind of went out of us,” Dunning said.

The air went out of the place right then as Griner took control, Baylor went on a roll and by the time it mercifully ended the Bears had themselves an 80-49 decision, giving them a 28-1 record and a 17-0 mark in Big 12 play.

Griner ended the WVU run by scoring off the out of bounds play following the foul and she carried the load the rest of the way, recording the first triple-double by anyone in the Coliseum since Jerome Anderson had one against Boston University in 1975.

Griner finished with 28 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocked shots.

“They don’t back down,” women’s basketball’s best player said of WVU challenging her inside. “They drive. They don’t change what they do.”

In all, 14 WVU shots were blocked, which says a whole lot about why the Mountaineers finished with a shooting percentage of 22.5 percent.

But if this seemed to be the Brittney Griner show, her coach, Kim Mulkey, assured that is not the case.

“This is not the Brittney Griner show,” she said. “We have six McDonald All-Americans. They can play and they chose to come to Baylor to play together rather than to go other places and play against each other. They came to win a national championship.”

And they did that last year with a 40-0 record and had they not lost to Stanford they would be riding a 69-game winning streak as they seem headed for another.

This is a team that does a lot of things and on this night it was as much defense as offense.

“I thought that from the tip we guarded West Virginia,” Mulkey said. “They talk about what we do offensively, but they don’t say enough about what we do defensively. I tell people that I don’t know what’s worse, getting your shot blocked by Griner or having Odyssey Simms steal the ball from you.”

The defense forced that 22.5 percent shooting percentage, something that Coach Mike Carey said was “embarrassing.”

It was a disappointing way for Dunning, who played here three years after transferring from LSU, to end her home career but the crowd also made it an exciting evening for her.

“It was amazing the support we had from the students and the community,” she said.

“I told her this was not her last game,” Carey said.

WVU has one more regular season game, Tuesday at Texas, and then the Big East Tournament. If they win the Texas game they almost certainly will qualify for the NCAAs, which means Dunning actually has a lot of basketball in front of her.

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • WVU #6 SHORTS -TS.jpg WVU opens practice with different feel: VIDEOS AND PHOTOS

    West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen was happy with his team’s first practice of the 2014 season.
    Of course, he would note, “Everybody in the country has a good first day.”
    But somehow, this was different.
    Very different.

    August 1, 2014 9 Photos

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Social media adds another thing to watch for coaches

    As someone who has gotten himself in enough hot water with a misplaced Tweet, when West Virginia University quarterback Clint Trickett hit the send button on July 17 sending out to the cyberworld what should have remained there with him on the couch on which he was sitting, I could feel his pain.

    August 1, 2014

  • WVU basketball non-conference schedule released

    After playing challenging schedules along with the tough Big 12 road, West Virginia University has backed off some this season on its non-conference schedule that was released Thursday.
    West Virginia is coming off a 17-16 season in which it failed to reach the NCAA Tournament and lost to Georgetown in the first round of the NIT.

    August 1, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Must WVU defense carry offense in ’14?

    The other day the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a story under the following headline:
    “In a year of change, must the Steelers’ offense carry the defense this year?”
    Reading that turned on a light.

    July 31, 2014

  • WVU takes first step today

    Perhaps the most used — and least factual — cliché in sports is as follows:
    “There’s no tomorrow.”
    Around these parts, however, tomorrow is what they are clinging to, while putting a new twist on the cliché, turning it to, “There’s no yesterday.”

    July 31, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Big 12 provides plenty of optimism

    This past week the Big 12 held its annual media gathering in Dallas and served up a heaping portion of optimism for the 2014 season that is now upon us, West Virginia University opening its preseason practices on Thursday.
    This is a time of year when no one has lost a game, not even Charlie Weis at Kansas, and it’s a time of year when opinions are more plentiful than tattoos in an NFL locker room.

    July 27, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU needs White to follow in former receivers’ footsteps

    A year ago Clint Trickett took a lot of grief as the once potent West Virginia offense came unraveled, but there is more that than meets the eye.
    The criticism was not unfounded, of course, although behind each incomplete pass there was the pain Trickett was suffering through to throw it, his rotator cuff in need of surgery.

    July 26, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: O’Toole joins long list of eccentric WVU kickers, punters

    The star of the Big 12’s annual football media day wasn’t a star at all.
    He intrigued the media far more than Bob Stoops, the coach of preseason favorite Oklahoma, and more than Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, the preseason player of the year.

    July 25, 2014

  • WVU, N.C. State to meet in football

    Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.
    The Mountaineers are scheduled to play N.C. State in Raleigh on Sept. 15, 2018, and then play host to the Wolfpack on Sept. 14, 2019.

    July 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention

    When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.

    July 24, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads