Figuring out how to stop 6-foot-8 Baylor Lady Bears center Brittney Griner with a roster that relies most heavily on players under 6-foot-1 might remain one of the great mysteries of basketball for some time.
The Green Bay Phoenix had few sustainable answers in their first-ever trip to the Sweet Sixteen in their 86-76 loss to Baylor this afternoon in Dallas.
Griner went off for a career-high 40 points showing off just how difficult she can be to stop as she continues to develop among the most lethal turnaround jumpers in women's basketball and begins to crash the offensive boards a little harder. Yet as evidenced by the final score, Green Bay fought hard in this one and was within three points early in the second half, which is an accomplishment all on its own. Green Bay, which relies more heavily on ball movement than anyone in the tournament, got big games from seniors Celeste Hoeswisch and Kayla Tetschlag who combined to score 47 points but that simply wasn't enough when Griner is playing like that.
With the win, Baylor advances to the Elite Eight where the Texas A&M Aggies were awaiting after swiftly dispatching the Georgia Bulldogs with an early 29 to 4 lead en route to an easy 79-38 win. Georgia alum and former Dallas Cowboys player Herschel Walker spoke to the Bulldogs before the game, but apparently that didn't work out too well, as SBN's Dawg Sports lamented after the game.
Georgia Bulldogs Booted from NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament by Texas A&M Aggies - Dawg Sports
I don’t know what Herschel Walker said in his pregame speech to Andy Landers’s Lady Bulldogs before their NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament showdown with Texas A&M, but, whatever it was, we need to make absolutely sure the Goal Line Stalker never says it again, because his inspirational message failed utterly, as Georgia fell to the Aggies by a 79-38 margin.
However, what flattening Georgia might indicate more clearly than a failure of Walker's motivational speaking abilities is that Texas A&M is an extremely strong second-seed - some have even suggested a fifth top-seed - and that they are as prepared as anyone to handle Baylor after losing three times already and playing outstanding basketball to get to the Elite Eight.
Some people might feel that these two teams shouldn't have met before the Final Four, but the game could end up being among the most exciting of the tournament.