2014 FIBA Women's World Basketball Championship Live Scores


It's time to give Baylor some love

Editor
March 12, 2013 - 12:18pm
Brittney Griner broke numerous Big 12 records and led the Baylor bears to three consecutive conference championship (file photo by Kelly Kline)

Brittney Griner broke numerous Big 12 records and led the Baylor bears to three consecutive conference championship (file photo by Kelly Kline)

Haters gonna hate.

They’re going to hate Brittney Griner, just like they hated Wilt Chamberlain, just like they hated Shaquille O’Neal, just like they hated all the great post players.

They’re going to hate Baylor, for its athletes and its attitude, for winning three straight Big 12 titles, for going 127-16 in the Griner years.

They’re going to hate Kim Mulkey, for screaming at her assistant coaches when her players screw up, for screaming at the officials when she’s up 35, for wearing some of the weirdest outfits ever to grace a basketball sideline.

Haters, sadly, are going to hate.

And maybe they’ll be happy if the Bears get upset in the NCAA tournament. Sure, they’re the heavy favorites, and they’ll win the first two, and maybe three, without digging much deeper than a rake on hardscrabble Texas clay, but after that, strange things could happen. Odyssey Sims could get hurt again; Griner could get in foul trouble; it could be one of those nights when the stars align and Baylor just can’t put away an inferior team and some miraculous shot sends the Bears back to Waco.

And then it will all be about how Baylor wasn’t really good enough, about how Griner got what she deserved, and about how maybe Mulkey will finally get a personal tailor who has a clue.

So right now, in the wake of that overwhelming win over a decent Iowa State team in the Big 12 tournament title game, let’s just sit back and try to appreciate what we’ve seen.

Without doubt, Brittney Griner is the greatest female college basketball player ever. You can talk about Cheryl Miller all you want, or Diana Taurasi, or Jackie Stiles, or whoever you choose, but the fact remains that none of them were 6-8. None of them dominated the game on both ends as Griner has done. None of them came close to setting a defensive record; none of them went 71-1 in their last two seasons.

Of course, Griner isn’t perfect, and naturally there’s talk that a woman of her size and physical gifts maybe isn’t 100 percent female – but that’s hater talk. And you know, it doesn’t really matter.

On the court, where it counts, Griner has done everything. She was far from a finished product when she arrived in Waco, but now she’s a much better player. Credit Mulkey for that, certainly, but credit Griner too. In the demolition of Iowa State, she scored at will, but she passed too – and of course she blocked shots. And for a woman who is criticized for lack of rebounding, she averages more than nine a game, and last year was 21 rebounds short of averaging a double-double.

Griner’s gotten better every year, which ironically only added fuel to the hater’s fire, but it’s also true her team got better with her. Mulkey felt the Bears deserved more all-Big 12 love than they got, and really, they did.

The Big 12 is a damned good league, as shown by the performance of Texas A&M, Nebraska and Missouri when they moved on this year. Iowa State isn’t half bad, Anna Prins is as smooth a shooter as you’ll see in a 6-6 woman, and the Cyclones should show well in the NCAA tournament.

Oklahoma, Texas Tech (finally) and Oklahoma State all won at least 21 games, and both West Virginia and Kansas are solid teams. Five, maybe six, will wind up in the NCAA tourney, and as long as they don’t run into Baylor, they could win some games.

But sooner or later, there will be Baylor, and not with just Griner, and not with just Sims. Brooklyn Pope, an undersized but extremely athletic power forward, averaged 10.4 points a game and shot 55.2 percent from the field despite having no perimeter game. Destiny Williams grabbed a rebound every three minutes she was on the floor, but couldn’t put up huge numbers because of the depth of talent in Waco.

Jordan Madden and Kimetria Hayden are both superb defenders, and excellent shooters – did you know that Sims, at 46.5 percent, has the worst shooting percentage of any Baylor Bear who played more than 14 minutes a game?

Oh, and Baylor’s average margin of victory was 27.1 points.

Finally, while we’re doing stats, here’s one last Griner factoid: She had 79 assists and 58 turnovers. Mull on that for a while, and consider that most women’s basketball teams have more turnovers than assists, and here’s a 6-8 woman who blocks shots, shoots, defends, rebounds, and oh by the way, passes better than most team’s point guards.

Haters gonna hate – but you know, sometimes they just look stupid.


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Comments

jimclark1's picture
Member since:
20 February 2012
Last activity:
36 weeks 5 days

I still would quibble with "greatest ever." Diana Taurasi won 3 National Championships in a row, the last two by sheer force of her own will, with a team far less talented than Baylor's. Griner will not do that.

Taurasi did not have the obvious physical advantages of Griner, but she was a far better leader than Griner in at least her sophomore and junior seasons (Griner has led her team well this season). Taurasi forced her team to win, without an Odyssey Sims on her team. Her point guard was Maria Conlon, an incredibly steady player, but not with Sims' explosiveness and defensive and scoring skills.

As for the 71-1 stat for Griner: while you are technically correct in saying that no other player did it in the LAST two seasons,  Taurasi was 76-1 in her sophomore & junior seasons, the first of which she played on the best team ever, but the second of which she did it mostly on her own. (Griner will reach 77-1 if Baylor wins the NC again.) 

I'm not a Griner hater. She is a fantastic player. I hope she plays in the Olympics next time. But I'll still take Taurasi first for her leadership. Besides, she' s a lot more fun.

jimclark1's picture
Member since:
20 February 2012
Last activity:
36 weeks 5 days

I left two stats out. UConn was 139-8 in the Taurasi years, went to the Final Four every year, losing to Notre Dame in the National Semi-final Diana's freshman year.

Related: Connecticut sold out every regular season home game all four Taurasi years. 10,024 at Gampel Pavilion, 16,264(?) at Hartford Civic Center. 

highdesertbro23's picture
Member since:
12 March 2013
Last activity:
1 year 30 weeks

Lisa Leslie, 6'5 C is the best C in women basketball ever, and until Griner has a better 15yrs after college, then she will be the best C ever, but can't compare her with Taurasi who was a guard, and of course not with Miller, who played all 5 because she was so quick, fast, and strong. She is the most talented women player ever, after having watched her in HS, College, Olympics, and listening to those who have played with and vs her at the time! Taurasi is going to be in the top 5 ever, and watching the 2012 Olympic team, Parker and Moore have a chance to be in the top 5 also. I like watching Alyssa Thomas, probably the closest one like Cheryl Miller, but haven't seen anyone since her like her...maybe someone like Diamond DeShields will be like her!

grrlagent's picture
Member since:
13 March 2013
Last activity:
1 year 31 weeks

Okay, I quit reading the comments after I saw Lisa Leslie. Yes, she's good but she is not the best. With the likes of Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles in existance now, she is probably number 3. She doesn't have near the sheer athletic physical strength that Charles and Fowles have. Time will prove this.

ClayK's picture
Member since:
10 March 2012
Last activity:
50 weeks 2 days

Lisa Leslie in college was a far different player than Lisa Leslie in her prime with the Sparks. Leslie was a noted underachiever in college who liked the 15-footer a lot more than a physical postup.

 

And I love Taurasi's game, but she's not 6-8, and she doesn't defend like Griner does, or even close (though I think she's an underrated defender). As for the overall record, compare Taurasi's teammates at UConn with Griner's at Baylor -- and I'll maintain that if you put the college Taurasi on today's Baylor, they're very, very good but not great; and if you today's Griner on those UConn teams, they would have been even more dominant (if that's possible).

jacksonreymer's picture
Member since:
13 March 2013
Last activity:
1 year 31 weeks

UConn's team in Taurasi Jr/Sr year were hardly great.  There was no Odyssey Sims.

 

With that said, I do consider Griner the best ever, for both her defensive and offensive presence. 

I'm curious though, if Baylor fails to win a national championship, would that effect Griner's legacy?  She would only have 1 National championship.  And it's not like Griner has no help,  she has one of the best, if not best PG in her team for 3 years, a few HS AA's, and many higher ranked recruits as well.  

highdesertbro23's picture
Member since:
12 March 2013
Last activity:
1 year 30 weeks

she's good?......how much do know about her? Did you ever watch her in the Olympics, and not just her last one? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisa_Leslie#USA_Basketball

Fowles didn't even start her FR year, compare...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sylvia_Fowles

And Charles, same for Griner, after her pro league seasons and Olympics, we will see if she is better, but not even close now. Griner is already much better than Charles and Fowles, and it won't take long for her to show you, but of course since she isn't from the East she could never be better!