Nov. 22, 2009
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -Brittney Griner had her chance to dunk in the waning minutes and missed again. It didn't matter much.
Baylor's 6-foot-8 freshman sensation did enough work to alter shots on the defensive end in the eighth-ranked Lady Bears' 69-49 rout of No. 11/17 California on Sunday, a highly anticipated matchup pitting two of the country's top young teams.
Griner had 15 points, seven rebounds and five blocked shots, missing a right-handed dunk along the baseline off a behind-the-back pass from Melissa Jones with 2:08 remaining. Shanay Washington scored 18 points to go with four assists, and Baylor used a big run to start the second half and pull away from cold-shooting Cal. Griner, who is trying to become the seventh woman to dunk in a college game, scored four of her points during a 12-2 spurt to open the final 20 minutes.
Jones had 15 points, 11 rebounds and five assists for Baylor (2-1), which finally came to Berkeley 11 months after the teams were scheduled to play at Haas Pavilion. Baylor couldn't make it to the Bay Area for its game last Dec. 22 because of a severe winter storm in the Northwest and the Lady Bears were stuck in Portland after playing at Oregon.
Alexis Gray-Lawson led Cal with 12 points and a career-high 11 rebounds for her third career double-double. DeNesha Stallworth scored 15 and grabbed six boards as the Golden Bears (2-1) struggled offensively for the second straight game. Cal shot 27.1 percent Sunday, including 24.1 percent in the first half.
Cal tried everything against Griner: a 2-3 zone to start with two post players collapsing on her at all times, then a trapping press followed by a 1-3-1 zone before switching to man-to-man. It didn't really matter.
Baylor made 5 of 8 shots to start the game and take an 11-4 lead, but Griner missed her first four shots before scoring a layin 6:08 before halftime.
Baylor held Cal - debuting new dark uniforms at home - scoreless for nearly six minutes late in the first half and went on a 12-4 run to take a 29-21 lead at the break.
Cal will have to find a way to get on track offensively.
Baylor has won all three regular-season games between the teams - last on Nov. 25, 2007, in Waco, Texas - with Cal capturing an 82-72 win on March 26, 1981, in the first round of the WNIT.
The Golden Bears played without freshman forward Brenna Heater, who is nursing a stress fracture in her left foot. Rama N'diaye, Cal's tallest player at 6-5, is still recovering from an arthroscopic cleanup procedure on her troublesome right knee before the season. N'diaye missed much of last season following reconstructive surgery on the same knee after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament during Cal's 2008 first-round NCAA tournament victory against San Diego.
The loss drops Cal to 2-1 on the season as they head off for a potential showdown with No. 3 ranked Ohio State over Thanksgiving. Cal will play in the Buckeye Classic Tournament in Columbus on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 28-29. In the first round, they will face Southern with the potential matchup with the Buckeyes coming in Sunday's tournament finale. Live audio for the games will be available through CalBears.com with Dave Lewis calling the play-by-play.