So, after watching the Stanford icons win on Game Tracker, C and R did turn on the one women’s basketball game that was nationally televised Sunday, which was between Tennessee and Baylor. They are both ranked in the top ten but we can’t figure out what exactly their positions are because there are so many polls floating around on the internet, coaches polls, AP polls, preseason polls, etc.
We are always interested in Tennessee, and this year is not exception. They are ranked lower than us and are coming off an embarrassing and unprecedented first round lose in the NCAA tournament. And Baylor has freshmen sensation Brittney Griner. Have you heard about her? She is 6’8” and can dunk. With two hands. She truly can play above the rim. And she also block shots. She set a record blocking 25 shots in one game in high school.
So we break out the BBQ chips and settle in front of the TV. Then we are promptly disappointed in Brittney’s play. For rebounds, she stands flat-footed with her arms at her sides. Even with the little girls C and R coach, we have them put their hands in the air, ready for the rebound. She does not box out or go to the ball if it is not in front of her. You can say we are picking on a freshman in her first college game, and we are, but we can’t but help compare her freshmen debut to Stanford’s Jayne Appel’s. She boxed out on rebounds, taking up space and going for the ball no matter where it came off the glass. At one point in the game, Tennessee missed a shot and then got the rebound. Brittney is standing flat footed in the center. Tennessee proceeds to miss and rebounds the ball, we count in the replay, five times. Five times and Brittney stood around on all five rebounds and shots. She has a 7’4 wingspan! She just needs to extend her arms sideways and she gets one of these balls! She definitely needs more work.
On offense, Brittney does not post anyone up, and the Baylor play is for her to flash from the baseline to the foul line. She does it so timidly that even Tennessee knows she is not a real threat. In the first few minutes, her teammates get her the ball down low but center Kelley Cain has already pushed her to the baseline when she catches it and steps around, she is behind the basket! We saw at least three shots that hit the edge of the backboard. Again, contrasting the way from day one Jayne would post up strong near the block, holding the defender at bay on her back and take the ball strongly to the basket. She just looks unpolished and not ready for college. And that is coaching, my friend. You can say we are picking on the kid, but we are really picking on Baylor’s head coach, Kim Mulkey. I guess we are spoiled by how Tara gets her freshmen ready to play, and leaves them on the bench if not. (We did see Brittney have a great block down low)
At half time, they showed highlights from the top 25 women’s games. They start off by showing actual visual highlights of Stanford beating Rutgers. Yay. Wait a minute; if there are actual visuals, then this game WAS televised. They probably showed it with in a two-mile radius of the Baylor campus. Too bad they couldn’t show it within a 2-mile radius of the Stanford campus, too. There’s Jayne, hi Jayne.
After showing some more teams, they start talking about the preseason favorites for the Wade Trophy, given to the best women’s college basketball player. The first person they feature. Jayne Appel! They show a picture of her going to the basket, hard, as they talk about her accomplishment. In the freeze frame, we see the ball in her left hand (she is right handed), and her right arm extended out in front of her to block all comers as she goes strong to the basket. We look closer and see that the hand cradling the ball is adorned in cardinal red nail polish. SO Jayne.
We have lost a lot of interest in the Baylor-Tennessee game because we are so bummed Brittney is not ready for prime time. A few minutes into the second half she gets her fourth foul and goes to the bench. For a long time. Tennessee goes on to win 74-65.
We do love that Tennessee Coach Pat Summit is wired and we get to see and hear her scare the heck out of her team at half time. And we love listening in on her time outs. She is a great coach. If she stared me down like that at half time I would say, “Yes, M’am” and go out and score 50-100 bazillion points to keep her from tearing me apart.
Can’t wait til Tennessee comes West to us in December.