Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer isn’t worried about the dunking abilities of Baylor’s 6-foot-8 Brittney Griner.
“It’d be two points,” the Hall of Fame coach said Wednesday. “Can she dunk from 3? We’re not going to have a breakdown about it — as long as it’s not the winning basket.”
Griner and top-ranked Baylor (38-0) play Stanford in the Final four on Sunday in Denver. the winner will advance to the title game Tuesday against either Connecticut or Notre Dame, the big East rivals playing in the other semifinal.
The Bears’ consensus All-American has dunked twice in the NCAA Tournament, including an artful two-handed slam over the weekend against Georgia Tech. She has dunked seven times in her collegiate career.
“I hope she slams a couple in warm-ups,” VanDerveer said. “I’ll be sitting there cheering.”
— Many are focused on Griner and point guard Odyssey Sims vs. the Ogwumike sisters in the showdown of the country’s top-two-ranked teams. but neither coach sees it the way fans do.
Baylor’s Kim Mulkey gladly talked about the supporting cast Wednesday.
“I’d start with Jordan Madden,” she said of the defensive expert. “What a job she’s done night in, night out, and people don’t talk about it. that kid has a 6-foot body. She has the wing span to alter shots on the perimeter. Make it difficult, denying the ball. Jordan Madden has just embraced that defensive stopper for us.”
Mulkey also praised Kimetria Hayden and Destiny Williams, who “understand their value to our basketball team. I’ve said it months and months ago that if we’re to win a national championship, it won’t be because of Odyssey Sims and Brittney Griner, it will be because of Nae”’Nae Hayden and Jordan Madden.”
— after surviving Duke’s Chelsea Gray as well as the quick guards from South Carolina and West Virginia, the Cardinal (35-1) has an even more daunting challenge with Sims, whom many say is the country’s best point guard.
VanDerveer expects freshman Amber Orrange and sophomore Toni Kokenis to handle their assignments no matter who they defend. the coach has appreciated Kokenis’ strong defensive play this season and at one point described her as the Pacific-12’s defender of the year.
“She has quickness, speed, anticipation skills,” VanDerveer said. “I think some of that might be related to her playing soccer. and the hardest thing for me is to get her to use her hands because obviously you couldn’t do that in soccer.”
_ Senior Nneka Ogwumike will play in her fourth consecutive Final four, but her coach has a better perspective about how special it is.
“When I wake up in the morning, I’m like, are we really doing this?” VanDerveer said. “It’s so exciting. to me, it’s so unbelievable because you go years and years without going, and then now I just feel like I’ve hit the lottery.”
— Ogwumike was named to the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and John R. Wooden Award All-America teams Wednesday. She is a three-time honoree for both teams. Ogwumike also is a candidate for various college player of the year awards that will be announced next week.
Julie Jacobson/Associated PressTerran Condrey of Baylor, right, in the semifinal against Stanford on Sunday.
Krista Pirtle of The Lariat at Baylor University will file reports about the top-ranked Baylor Lady Bears throughout the season for the Quad.
Unfinished business has been the motto not only of the Baylor Lady Bears this season–after losing 76-70 to Texas A&M in the national championship game last year, Notre Dame claims the slogan as well.
Baylor and Notre Dame played earlier this season in Waco, Texas, in the preseason W.N.I.T. tournament championship, with the Lady Bears winning 94-81.
The Baylor junior Brittney Griner recorded 32 points and 14 rebounds.
But that game was only the fourth of the season for both teams.
Irish head coach Muffet McGraw was disappointed in the way her team guarded Baylor’s other players.
The rematch for the national championship on Tuesday night, Griner said, “is going to be a good game. We beat them earlier in the season, but we’ve got to erase that. This is the game everybody wants.”
Where the game against Stanford in the N.C.A.A. tournament semifinal on Sunday was seen as a battle in the paint, the backcourt is the focus against Notre Dame. the Irish are led by the junior point guard Skylar Diggins, the Nancy Lieberman Award winner who averages 16.8 points a game.
At point guard for Baylor will be the sophomore Odyssey Sims, whose defensive efforts fuel her scoring.
When the teams met in November, neither point guard did much to stop the other. Sims, a sophomore, had 25 points, six assists and six steals. her speed off the dribble got her to the line 14 times. Diggins scored 27 points off of 20 attempts and had only three assists, which is almost to three below her average.
In the backcourt on Tuesday for Notre Dame will be Natalie Novosel, Brittany Mallory and Kayla McBride.
Novosel led the Irish in Waco with 28 points.
Baylor may press more than usual to upset Notre Dame’s half-court offense. the Irish may the best in the country at executing their offensive sets.
Notre Dame thrives doing the things that Stanford did well against Baylor: pick-and-rolls, backdoor cuts, bringing the bigs to the high post.
Notre Dame’s 81 points against the Lady Bears in November were the most that Baylor has allowed all season.
Notre Dame’s guards are versatile and are willing to shoot a 3 or penetrate the lane.
On Tuesday night, the depth of the teams’ benches will be important, with Natalie Achonwa excelling for Notre Dame, and Terran Condrey and Brooklyn Pope providing energy for Baylor.
Condrey helped spark a run in the second half against Stanford that allowed the Lady Bears to pull away and secure a spot in the title game.
The Baylor Bears are off to a (4-1) start to the 2010 season and one of the main reason is the quarterback play of their best play Robert Griffin. Griffin has thrown 7 touchdown passes to only 1 interception this season, after missing the entire 2009 season with an ACL injury. the Bears only loss came at the hands of top 10 ranked TCU 45-10. the Baylor Bears are seeking their first bowl appearance in years and they are very well on their way. the Bears have covered 3 of 4 against the spread this season, but has lost 10 straight to Texas Tech and are only 3-8 the last 11 against the spread vs. Texas Tech, covering the last 2 against the number. this is the barometer for Baylor to see right where they are. TCU was just had too much talent for Baylor but a team like Texas Tech should prove to be a better matchup. Baylor are 10-4 against the spread in their last 14 conference games. the under is 9-2 in the Baylor Bears last 11 games as an underdog.
The (2-2) Texas Tech Red Raiders have lost their last 2 straight up, the most recent a 52-38 loss at Iowa State. the Red Raiders have been very lucky again at the quarterback position. Taylor Potts has thrown 12 touchdown to only 2 interceptions. the favorite is 7-3 against the spread in their last 10 meetings between Baylor and Texas Tech. the key to a Tech win will be for the offense to come out and score some points vs. Baylor and for the defense to do as much as they can to contain Baylor quarterback Griffin. this sports handicapper is very impressed with Baylor and their quest to become one of the more competitive teams in the big 12 conference, this football team is going to surprise a lot of schools this season and it will have too start with believing that they can beat a Texas Tech team on the road. the Red Raider coaching staff have their work cut out for them this eek, they will have to restore confidence to the defense after a terrible performance vs. Iowa State.
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Home » Sports» College Loading… Published: 4/3/2012 – Updated: 17 hours ago ASSOCIATED PRESS
DENVER — all season long, Baylor has been the best team led by the best player in the country.
And that just makes the stakes in Tuesday night’s NCAA championship a little higher.
Anything short of a women’s national title would be deemed a failure for Brittney Griner and her Bears.
That may explain why Baylor hasn’t focused on an undefeated season, nor on becoming the first team in NCAA history to win 40 games. the Bears just want to win the school’s second title.
Standing in the way is Notre Dame, a team on a mission ever since losing in last year’s championship to Texas A&M and sparked by maybe the nation’s second-most dynamic player, All-American Skylar Diggins.
The tournament’s top seed against No. 2. just the way the selection committee drew it up.
“40-0 was never really the goal,” said Griner at a news conference Monday. “We have team goals each year, and our goal was to win a national championship.
“If you lose, you can’t win a national championship. You’ve got to go 40-0 now.”
Griner knows that despite the Bears’ incredible season, how it’s judged will depend on Tuesday.
“We don’t have that ring yet,” the 6-foot-8 junior phenom said. “That’s the main goal. until we get that, we’re going to feel like we haven’t really done anything.”
The Irish know the feeling, having fallen just short last season to Texas A&M. Notre Dame (35-3) has been focused on getting back to this game all season long. soon after Diggins and her Notre Dame teammates arrived back in South Bend after the championship last year, the junior guard went to the locker room. she put up on the chalkboard in the locker room, “Unfinished Business: 76-70, 15:52,” the time referring to the game’s turning point.
“We’ve had one goal all season long,” Diggins said. “We’ve wanted to get back here and play in this game.”
The Irish have been one of the best teams in the country all season long, but don’t have to worry about the weight of expectations. most people are picking Baylor to win.
“I think when you’re undefeated you have a lot of confidence that you’re playing with, but at the same time it’s just a little bit of pressure of knowing that you’ve never lost. And when it gets down to the end of the game, you hope they feel that pressure,” Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said.
With a win, Baylor would become the seventh team to run through a season unbeaten, joining Connecticut — which has done it four times, Tennessee, and Texas. It would be the school’s second national championship. Baylor also won in 2005.
“Win or lose tomorrow we’re going to head back to Waco,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “Unfortunately, we’re 39-0 and you don’t want to lose that last game. we know that whoever beats us, just make sure that you didn’t beat yourself.”
The Bears have used the same “unfinished business” mantra as the Irish after losing to Texas A&M in the regional final last season. Mulkey had the saying put up in the locker room, on notebooks, and even handed out hundreds of those silicon wristband reminders to everyone associated with the program.
“I think it’s a testament to the players. Coaches can come up with mottos and motivational tactics, but it boils down to those players,” Mulkey said. “They have to have that feeling I had last year, don’t want to have it again.”
The two teams met earlier this season in Waco and Baylor came away with a 13-point victory. That was for the preseason WNIT title.
Griner was unstoppable. she had 32 points and 14 rebounds, making 14 of her 18 shots with five blocks. Odyssey Sims had 25 points.
“They won the first matchup, but we’re two different teams now,” Diggins said.
The biggest difference for Baylor is that the supporting cast has jumped in. While Griner and Sims had quiet nights in the Bears’ 59-47 victory over Stanford in the national semifinals, other players stepped up.
While the Bears were able to slowly pull away from the Cardinal, Notre Dame had to pull out a thrilling 83-75 overtime victory over rival Connecticut. Seniors Natalie Novosel, Devereaux Peters, and Brittany Mallory all made big plays for the Irish.
Now they are one victory away from winning the school’s second national championship, joining the 2001 team.
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Jackson got around Bost for a layup with 28 seconds left, and the Bulldogs(12-2) then lost control of the ball with a chance for a final shot.
But Rodney Hood had the ball knocked away while going up for a shot. Jacksonthen swatted the ball to the other end of the court, and Baylor coach Scott Drewemphatically pumped his right arm as the game ended.
“Coach called the play, but another player was confused. so, it was abroken down play and we had to try to make something happen,” Hood said. “Isaw the time going down and I tried to be aggressive and tried to draw a foul,but it didn’t go that way.”
The Bears (13-0) are off to the best start in school history, winning theirfirst game against a ranked opponent this season on a night when no. 4Louisville and no. 13 Indiana had already lost for the first time. Baylor is oneof four undefeated teams left in Division I.
“the key to their team is Jackson. He’s the guy that makes them go,”Stansbury said. “They’ve got a lot of other guys on that team that can score alot of different ways, but Jackson’s ability to manufacture baskets, that’s thekey.”
The Bulldogs didn’t score again after Quincy Acy was called for goaltendingon a shot by Arnett Moultrie, making it 52-50 with 3:20 left.
But with just under 3 minutes left, Jackson missed the front end of a1-and-1. He then had a steal but missed the breakaway layup.
Then Jackson missed a 3-pointer from the top of the key, but Acy got knockedto the ground and Renardo Sidney was called for his fifth foul with 1:35 leftand then a technical for his reaction to the call.
Quincy Miller made one of the free throws for the technical before Acy madea free throw to tie the game at 52.
Bost missed a shot for Mississippi State, then almost forced a turnover onthe other end without being able to keep the ball in bounds.
Then came Jackson’s game-winning play.
“a lot of players wouldn’t have the guts to take the last shot or make thelast play,” Drew said. “He made a great move, got to the hole and finished it,and I think that shows his heart and his courage.”
Miller had 12 points for Baylor and Brady Heslip added 11, all beforehalftime with three 3-pointers.
Jalen Steele and Sidney each had 10 points, while SEC rebounding leaderMoultrie had eight points with 10 rebounds. Sidney was 5 of 6 from the field,but played only 19 minutes because of his foul problems.
The Bulldogs lost for the first time since a 68-58 setback to Akron in thesecond game of the season. their winning streak included consecutive wins overTop 25 teams Texas A&M and Arizona.
Mississippi State had its biggest lead of the game when Bost had a stealthat lead to a breakaway two-handed slam by Sidney for a 46-42 lead with 8:40left.
The Bears got even at 48 on a.J. Walton’s inbounds alley-oop to Perry JonesIII for a dunk with just under 7 minutes left. Jones was only 4 of 13 from thefield for eight points.
About a minute later, Bost made a floater in the lane for a 50-48 lead, butthat was the last ball the Bulldogs actually put through the hoop sinceMoultrie’s basket was on a goaltending call.
“the game is a fine line, it comes down to inches. Inches here or there,”Stansbury said. “I know we left four free throws on that backboard in the lastminute, I know that.”
Updated Dec 29, 1:14 am EST
The Baylor University (BU) Bears football program had two players taken in the 2010 NFL Draft. each of the two young men from the Waco, Texas based private college play on the offensive side of the ball.
The two players selected are:
- J.D. Walton (center) – chosen by the Denver Broncos in the 3rd round with the 80th overall pick
- David Gettis (wide receiver) – picked by the Carolina Panthers in the 6th round with the 198th overall selection
J.D. Walton is a large man at 6’3 and 300 pounds and plans on wearing number 50 for the Denver Broncos during the 2010 NFL season. Born in Lawton, Oklahoma in 1987 the future NFL player grew up in the state of Texas where he played his high school football at Allen High School in Allen, Texas. as an offensive lineman in high school Walton was awarded the accolade of first team all-district while protecting former Arkansas Razorbacks star quarterback Casey Dick.
While playing in the Big 12 Conference for the Baylor Bears Walton earned national recognition for his play, a feat that is particularly difficult for an interior offensive lineman on a team with a losing record. for his efforts he was recognized as a first team All-American by the highly respected associated Press (AP) organization. Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels hopes that Walton will be part of a young offensive nucleus that includes fellow 2010 NFL Draft picks Tim Tebow (quarterback) from the University of Florida and Eric Decker (wide receiver) from the University of Minnesota.
David Gettis was selected in the 6th of seven rounds of the 2010 NFL Draft to compliment the receiving core of the Carolina Panthers. Panthers head coach John Fox hopes that David will be a complimentary receiver for all-pro wide out Steve Smith who has for years been the Panthers top receiving threat.
At 6’3 and 217 pounds David is much larger than veteran wide receiver teammate Steve Smith who is listed at 5’9. Coach Fox drafted former Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen in the second round (48th overall) with the first pick that the team had in the 2010 NFL Draft and there’s discussion in Charlotte that Clausen and Gettis could be the quarterback and wide receiver core for the franchise for years to come.
After having only one player from Baylor taken in the 2009 NFL Draft (number 2 overall selection Jason Smith) it appears that the BU football program is moving in the right direction by doubling the number of players taken from the organization in the 2010 NFL Draft. Baylor head football coach Art Briles hopes to continue to keep his squad moving in the right direction for years to come.
WACO – Shortly after Robert Griffin III was recognized as the top player in college football this season, a billboard appeared not far from Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in downtown Austin.
Looming over busy Interstate 35, next to a photo of the Baylor quarterback in action, the wording was succinct: “Building leaders … and Heisman Trophy winners.”
For the university, long considered a quaint little athletics kiosk in a landscape of corporate behemoths, the message carried seismic significance.
“We’re not the Baylor of 20 years ago,” Bears running back Terrance Ganaway said. “Thank God.”
Far from it. from its powerhouse women’s basketball team to the resurgent football program, Baylor is riding a wave of optimism far higher than the billboards being erected in key spots around the state.
When Griffin, a dynamic force on
and off the field, was handed the Heisman at a flashy ceremony in New York earlier this month, it represented the exclamation point for a university that has worked hard to overcome tragedy, scandal and athletic mediocrity through the years.
“You can sell hope, you can sell vision, but you’ve got to have reality,” said Bears football coach Art Briles, the architect of a remarkable turnaround on the gridiron.
New stadium in works
The 9-3 Bears, who went 16 years without a postseason appearance before last year, will make their second straight bowl showing Thursday when they face 7-5 Washington at the Valero Alamo Bowl in San Antonio.
“Now we can say, ‘This is what happened, this is real. whatever you need to do at whatever university you need to go to, if it’s Baylor, it can happen right here,’ ” Briles said.
As he spoke, the fourth-year head coach sat in a plush office inside the new $36 million Simpson Athletics and Academic Center on the north side of the campus. the former Stephenville High School and University of Houston coach looked out, through towering picture windows, at a practice field adjacent to the new $12 million Allison Indoor Football Practice Facility.
It’s part of an ambitious $100 million facility expansion – not solely for athletics – along University-Parks Drive over the past decade. under the guidance of proactive athletic director Ian McCaw, Briles and others, more is planned, including a possible $175 million football stadium along the north bank of the nearby Brazos River that will be connected to the campus by pedestrian bridges spanning the river.
“It’s incredible,” said Griffin, whose record-setting season has included spearheading signature victories over Oklahoma and Texas. “To have your football team No. 12 (BCS) in the country, your men’s basketball team No. 7 and your women’s basketball team No. 1, you’ve never seen anything like that.
“We’re building ourselves into a powerhouse. … It’s going to bring more people to Baylor and give us an opportunity to stretch this out for years to come.”
Scandal part of the past
It’s a stark turnaround from Baylor’s darkest hours in 2003, when basketball player Carlton Dotson killed teammate Patrick Dennehy. Dave Bliss, then coach of the program, added an awful chapter to the tragedy when he attempted a cover-up, asking players and assistants to paint Dennehy as a drug dealer.
The NCAA later unveiled several infractions in Bliss’ program and severely sanctioned the program.
Griffin understands the importance of what has transpired.
“Here at Baylor, we hadn’t been good for a while,” he said shortly before the Heisman announcement. “The foundation had eroded away. we were able to get the grass back green, and that’s huge. whenever you can raise something up and see it flourish, it makes you proud.”