Someone asked C and R who they were rooting for in the UConn/Baylor match up. C had to scratch her head a minute (bedbugs), she didn’t know, she doesn’t like either team! Hate Uconn, given, but what does she have against Baylor? Well, she will tell you… Baylor has the "most unique" women’s college basketball player in the country right now in 6-8 Brittney Griner, yet C feels she is not coached well. She should be getting every rebound, and the Baylor guards should be throwing a post-entry pass to her every time down. They don’t, Brittney gets boxed out, and Baylor loses, that’s on Kim Mulkey.
R usually likes the underdog, which we both feel is Baylor, despite their "number two in the country" ranking. She is a tried and true Sanford fan who feels THEY should have gotten the number two ranking.
But we both admit the game of the year didn’t disappoint, coming down to one point game in the closing seconds.
There certainly was a unique player on the court all right, but her name was Maya Moore. Two-time player of the year for UConn, she was phenomenal in the first half. Her threes were from NBA range. She stops and elevates for scores. And her defense was outstanding. She helped in double-teaming Brittney Griner and stole a lot of those entry passes. Baylor had 17 turnovers in the first half alone, most of it trying to get it to Brittney.
Look, it’s not hard. Griner’s an athletic 6-8 and can jump. Have her hold her hands up and throw it about two feet above that. Case closed. Actually, Baylor surprised the heck out of C by getting Brittney the ball early in the game. She either made it or was fouled. Then it stopped. Could be Maya Moore’s double team, could be UConn took their freshmen center off of her and had 6-1 Samarie Walker push Brittney around. The smaller player did an outstanding job pushing Brittney away from the basket (Why is Brittney catching the ball at the top of the three point line? Coaching) and boxed her out after the shots. They made Brittney disappear and only have 6 points in the first half. Oh, Brittney missed her free throws (5-13 from the line). Sorry, this ain’t high school and you team needs every point, as this one came down to the wire. (Coaching, Coaching, Coaching!)
Then half time happened, and for the first five minutes or so of the second half, UConn continued their lead, going up 44-29. Then… somehow, Baylor found Brittney again and went on a 27-4 run. Maya Moore stayed stuck at 20 points. Baylor got Brittney the entry-level pass we were all waiting for, she turned and fired, drawing fouls and showing a nice soft touch around the basket, causing two UConn centers to foul out. Brittney added 13 points for the second half to make 19 for the game (compare that to Maya Moore’s 30). But C still believes Brittney is not the player she should be, and you need to play both halves and have a complete game.
UConn was up 44-29 as we mentioned and blew a 16-point lead, but came back from 8 down to make it a one-point game with 36 seconds left. Then, the worst coaching blunder cam from none other than Baylor’s Kim Mulkey. UConn had the ball with 36 seconds, Baylor plays great D and when Maya Moore finally got the shot off, Brittney blocked it out of bounds with 2 seconds on the shot clock for UConn and 8 seconds in the game. UConn calls a time out, comes back to the floor, and Kim doesn’t like the way they set up for the out of bounds play and calls a time out, using Baylor’s FINAL time out. Now if Baylor gets the rebound or Uconn makes it, they need that time out to stop the clock and move the ball closer to the basket. But no, they waste their last one.
Sure enough, Maya airballs it (Maya airballs?!), Baylor rebounds it with 5 seconds left in the game, and NO TIME OUTS! Baylor has to dribble the length of the floor and shoot a ball well beyond the three-point arc. It comes up waaaay short and C and R immediately switch to "Glee" and debate if we like Gwyneth Paltrow as a sub for Mr. Shoe or not (One for one against).
But first, the basketball announcer said Baylor didn’t even get the shot off in time had it gone in. Think back to Jeanette Pohlen racing the floor with 4.4 seconds left to beat Xavier. That happened after Tara had called time out!! (Coaching!)
Terrible mistake, Baylor loses, the streak is still alive and will be waiting for Stanford in December, for that game of the year.
More thoughts on why Stanford will break UConn's streak at the original C and R's Stanford Women's Basketball Blog