We’ve really come to expect this from Baylor phenom Britney Griner. But every time we see it, it still should impress you.
The senior all-everything center for the Bears finished with 33 points and 22 rebounds — and was pulled with 6:06 left to play — and Baylor advanced to another Sweet 16 with a 85-47 victory over no.8-seed Florida State in Waco.
The win pushes Baylor, the top overall seed in the Women’s NCAA Tournament, into a match-up with no. 4 seed Louisville for a spot in the Elite Eight.
Griner, as has been the case for the last few years, dominated from beginning to end, with the 6-8 senior also adding four blocks and four assists on 15-of-22 shooting on the night.
Brooklyn Pope (12), Odyssey Sims (11) and Kimetria Hayden (10) also finished in double figures for the Bears.
Leonor Rodriguez scored 11 points in the loss for the Seminoles, who were held to just 26.1-percent shooting (18-for-69) overall and 27.3-percent (3-for-11) from three-point range. Baylor was 37-of-65 (56.9 percent) in the win.
Along with Griner’s dominance, the most impressive stat over the first two games of the tournament for Baylor has been their defense. They held Prairie View A&M to 25.8 percent shooting in the first round and it’s an overlooked statistic of the Bears. For the season, they’ve held opponents to 32.6 percent shooting.
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — He’s back.
For the first time this season — and for the first time in more than a year that he hasn’t been hampered with some kind of foot or ankle injury — Marcus Paige donned a North Carolina jersey, and it didn’t take him long to find the form that made him the NBCSports.com Preseason National Player of the Year.
On the first Tar Heel possession, Paige came off of a ball-screen, drove the lane and found Kennedy Meeks at the rim for a layup. Not 30 seconds later, he came off of a down screen and buried a three. Paige would finish with 20 points and five assists as No. 9 North Carolina put together a fairly resounding win over No. 2 Maryland in the Dean Dome on Tuesday night, winning 89-81.
Paige finished 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, hitting a number of threes in the second half that helped hold off a Maryland push sparked by their own all-american point guard, Melo Trimble.
Trimble was erratic early on, committing three turnovers in the first six minutes and eight on the night, but it was his play at the end of the first half and early second half that kept North Carolina from blowing their doors. At one point, Maryland was down 32-19 and in danger of getting run out of Tobacco Road.
In total, Trimble finished with 23 points and 12 assists, hitting four big threes during that stretch. He either scored or assisted on 11 of Maryland’s first 12 second half field goals.
As good as Paige was, the bigger story may actually be Joel Berry II. He took two dumb threes in the first half — which played a role in Maryland being able to make this a game — and he missed a few free throws late, but overall he was terrific. He finished with 14 points and five assists, making 3-of-5 threes and turning the ball over just twice. He’s clearly beat Nate Britt out at the point guard spot, and his ability to take pressure off of Paige as a secondary ball-handler and playmaker is huge.
(More to come from Chapel Hill…)
North Carolina is hosting No. 2 Maryland in a heated contest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Terps sophomore guard Melo Trimble is playing very well and part of his performance was dropping North Carolina’s Nate Britt with a crossover in the second half.
(H/T: The Cauldron)