Meadville Tribune

National Sports

April 2, 2012

WOMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Griner, Baylor too much for Stanford

April 2, 2012 7:00 a.m. DENVER — In the end, Brittney Griner and undefeated Baylor proved to be too tall a task for surging Stanford.

So once again, the Cardinal will head home without that elusive national title.

Stanford just can’t seem to get over the hump, losing to the Lady Bears 59-47 on Sunday night in the NCAA semifinals. This was the Cardinal’s fifth straight trip to the Final Four and they have yet to cut down the nets in two decades.

Stanford was on a roll, too, reeling off a school-record 32 consecutive wins. The Cardinal’s only loss this season came at Connecticut in early November.

And yet few people gave Stanford (35-2) much of a chance to win against heavily favored Baylor (39-0), which will face Notre Dame for the championship on Tuesday night.

Hall of Fame coach Tara VanDerveer had a few tricks up her sleeve, surprising Baylor with a rather clever game plan. She elected to pack players into the paint to bottle-up Griner and dared the Bears to find someone else to beat them.

They did — only it took a while.

In the first half, the strategy threw off the Bears and everyone not named Griner combined to shoot a paltry 34 percent.

The final half was a different story as Terran Condrey and Odyssey Sims stepped up, each coming up big over the final 20 minutes. That helped Baylor overcome a very average night by the 6-foot-8 Griner, who was held to a pedestrian 13 points and nine rebounds.

This contest featured two of the best players in the country in Griner and Nnemkadi Ogwumike, who scored a team-high 22 points in her final game for Stanford.

She then took her time leaving the court.

First, Ogwumike had a long chat with Baylor coach Kim Mulkey, who gave the opposing star a heartfelt hug. Then, Ogwumike assembled her teammates at midcourt for one last chat. With arms wrapped around each other, they embraced the moment — as much as they could in light of the stinging loss.

When the huddle broke up, Ogwumike sauntered off the court with tear-filled eyes.

Ogwumike will now pass the torch to her talented sophomore sister, Chiney Ogwumike, who didn’t have one of her better games as she wound up with only four points.

It will be up to Chiney Ogwumike, along with Toni Kokenis and Joslyn Tinkle, to try to get back and win an elusive title that Nnemkadi Ogwumike and previous stars Candice Wiggins, Jayne Appel, Kayla Pedersen and Jeanette Pohlen just couldn’t bring home.

Another tall order, for sure. But the Cardinal’s future appears to be in capable hands.

Text Only
National Sports
  • Lindley, Tom.jpg One-sided ruling against Rodriguez makes statement for clean baseball

    Alex Rodriguez's team of lawyers and public relations people portray him as the victim of a conspiracy. Regardless of the defense Rodriguez offers, the New York Yankees star isn't believable.

    January 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Why do pro athletes recover before you do?

    It's a mystery: When we twist our ankle playing tennis, it can take weeks to heal, but when a pro athlete does it, he often misses barely a beat.

    November 15, 2013

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Changes to NCAA foul rules could lead to free-throw marathons

    I attended a Big Ten basketball game in Bloomington, Ind., a few years ago where I was seated so close to the floor that I had to keep my feet pinned under my chair so I wouldn’t trip the referee as he raced up and down the court. The view from courtside left me with one shocking reaction: I no longer had any idea what was a foul.

    November 5, 2013 1 Photo

  • Coaches grapple with line between discipline and abuse

    The outrage was visceral last spring when ESPN aired the damning video showing Rutgers men's basketball coach Mike Rice shoving his players, hurling gay slurs and throwing basketballs at their heads.

    November 1, 2013

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Is the NCAA a sinking ship?

    The daily flow of bad news chronicling the NCAA seems to fall somewhere between damaging and defeated. By comparison, the NCAA’s myriad problems make the Obama Administration’s roll out of the Affordable Care Act look smooth.

    October 30, 2013 1 Photo

  • spt_cardscelebrate.jpg VIDEOS: Memorable MLB postseason celebrations

    Some of baseball's most enduring October memories are punctuated by jubilant celebrations. Take a look back at some of the most memorable expressions of joy in Major League Baseball's postseason by players and teams after the final out.

    October 22, 2013 1 Photo

  • spt_siegrist.jpg The most insufferable fans in sports live in St. Louis

    The Cardinals are a very good baseball team. Their fans have every right to be happy. You can't blame the rest of us for not sharing their joy, though.

    October 17, 2013 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Maybe we should rethink the post-game handshake

    The Kentucky High School Athletic Association has advised educators to rethink the long-standing tradition of teams shaking hands after athletic events. Is sportsmanship dead in the Bluegrass State?

    October 16, 2013 1 Photo

  • Turner Field Dangerous, deadly falls from sports stadiums A 30-year-old man fell about 65 feet to his death at an Atlanta Braves game at Turner Field Monday evening. Details on what caused the fall are unknown. There have been several other deadly or dangerous falls in sports stadiums in recent years.

    August 14, 2013

  • FBN-INJURE211.jpg NFL injury risk has Hall-of-Fame dad concerned for rookie son

    Kyle Long is going into the family business. "Some people are third-generation carpenters, and that's what they do," his father says. "Well, we hit people."

    July 23, 2013 2 Photos