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.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.