Georgetown loses to Brittney Griner and Baylor in NCAA women's basketball tournament

By Kathy Orton
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 23, 2010; D01

BERKELEY, CALIF. -- Georgetown sent shot after shot at the basket against Baylor but few fell through the net.

The fifth-seeded Hoyas suffered through their worst shooting performance of the season and fell, 49-33, to fourth-seeded Baylor in an NCAA tournament South Region second-round game at Haas Pavilion on Monday evening. Their 33 points marked their lowest scoring output in four years.

The Bears (25-9) advance to play top-seeded Tennessee (32-2) in the regional semifinals in Memphis on Saturday.

Making just its second appearance in an NCAA tournament, and its first since 1993, Georgetown (26-7) didn't appear to have the jitters against Baylor as it did in its first-round game against Marist. Instead, the Hoyas were undone by their errant shooting.

Georgetown shot a season-low 17.1 percent from the floor, making just 12 of 70 field goals.

"We couldn't buy a bucket tonight, and it hurt so bad to have that happen on this night," said junior guard Monica McNutt (Holy Cross) as she wiped tears from her eyes.

The Hoyas said they were going to take the ball to the basket against Baylor's 6-foot-8 freshman center Brittney Griner, and they did -- but with little success.

With Griner patrolling the area around the basket, Georgetown never found an offensive rhythm against Baylor. Griner blocked an NCAA tournament-record 14 shots and altered several more, despite playing only 27 minutes because of foul trouble. She has 199 blocks this season, which is also an NCAA record.

From the tip, Griner created all sorts of problems for Georgetown. The Hoyas didn't score their first points of the game until Griner took a seat with two fouls, both of which came on the offensive end. Adria Crawford (Edison), who despite giving up seven inches to Griner wasn't afraid to battle her underneath the basket, drew the charge that sent Griner to the bench.

"She's a good player," senior forward Jaleesa Butler said. "She's a big presence down there. We just couldn't make shots tonight. We did what we could to defend her. It all boiled down to we couldn't make shots."

When Griner left the game with 13 minutes 30 seconds remaining in the first half, Georgetown trailed, 10-0. But even with Griner out of the game, the Hoyas didn't fare much better. After missing their first 12 field goal attempts, they finally got on the scoreboard when Sugar Rodgers made a layup off an out-of-bounds play.

That basket was Rodgers's only field goal of the first half. The Big East freshman of the year, who leads the Hoyas in scoring at 17.8 points per game, had another off-night shooting. Rodgers, who went 3 of 13 from the floor for eight points against Marist, scored only two points in the first half. She finished with nine points on 2-of-14 shooting, only the third time she has scored less than double figures this season.

Rodgers wasn't the only one struggling to make shots. No player finished in double figures for the Hoyas. Georgetown missed 20 of its first 21 field goal attempts as Baylor built a 19-2 lead. The Bears did such a nice job of getting back on defense, even when Georgetown forced a turnover, that easy baskets were few and far between.

The Hoyas didn't make their second basket of the game -- a layup by Latia Magee -- until 8:15 remained.

"The shots just wouldn't fall tonight," Georgetown Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. "You can't make them go in."

Georgetown forced Baylor into 21 turnovers, but couldn't convert those into points. The Hoyas scored just 13 points off of the Bears' turnovers.

"To not be able to put the ball in the basket and know that you're playing hard and you're playing good defense and you just can't seem to make the ball go through the hole, it's very frustrating," Butler said.

Even though Baylor's lead never dipped below double figures the entire second half, Georgetown appeared to believe it was just a couple of made baskets away from getting back into the game.

"I think that they continued to play hard the whole game," Williams-Flournoy said. "They never gave up at all. It's a whole different ball game if we make shots; we beat Baylor tonight if we make shots."

Despite the loss, Georgetown has much to be proud of this season. The Hoyas won a program-record 26 games. They won more Big East games this season (13) than they had the previous two seasons combined to finish tied for second place in the conference standings. In winning 16 in a row this season, they also made their way into the Associated Press top 25 rankings for the first time in 17 years.

-- TENNESSEE 92, DAYTON 64: After an unprecedented early loss in the NCAA tournament last year, it's back to business as usual for the Lady Vols.

Alicia Manning scored a career-high 17 points and had 10 rebounds to help No. 1-seeded Tennessee beat eighth-seeded Dayton in the second round of the tournament in Knoxville, Tenn.

Tennessee (32-2) will make its 28th appearance in the regional semifinals Saturday, this time playing 350 miles from home in Memphis. It will face fourth-seeded Baylor.

"I thought I could feel the energy in the locker room, and I mean they were wanting to get out on the court ASAP. With all that energy, I thought: they're ready to play," Coach Pat Summitt said.

The Lady Vols' lone absence from the round of 16 in the tournament's 29-year history came after last season's loss to 71-55 to Ball State in the opening round.

Dayton (25-8), which managed to rally from an 18-point deficit in its 67-66 win over Texas Christian in the first round, was tasked with playing only its second NCAA tournament game in front of about 10,000 orange-clad fans on the court named for Summitt.

A three-point play by Shekinna Stricklen launched a 17-2 scoring run for Tennessee. The Lady Vols had their way under their own basket, hitting wide-open shots from the perimeter and slashing the lane to take easy layups.

Manning cut through the paint to hit a layup that gave Tennessee a 19-4 run with 13 minutes 31 seconds left in the first half. Taber Spani, who was 4 for 4 in the first half, sank a three-pointer from the sideline to push Tennessee's lead to 23 points, and the Lady Vols entered halftime with a 50-30 lead.

At the break, Tennessee led in every category except rebounds -- something Summitt emphasized in the first round game. The two teams each had 20 at halftime.

But the Lady Vols didn't need the boards as they took care of the ball on offense and scored 13 off of seven Dayton turnovers in the first half.

Justine Raterman led the Flyers with 17 points.

-- DUKE 60, LOUISIANA STATE 52: The Blue Devils spent the night playing takeaway with the Tigers -- first the ball, then the game.

Jasmine Thomas scored 15 points to help Duke pull away late at home in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Bridgette Mitchell scored 12 points for the Blue Devils (29-5), who went ahead to stay on Thomas's layup with 3 1/2 minutes left. The typically sure-handed Tigers (21-10) matched a season high with 22 turnovers and had one field goal in the final four minutes.

Allison Hightower had 19 points and LaSondra Barrett added 12 for LSU (21-10). Katherine Graham hit two free throws with 3:49 left to give the Tigers their last lead at 47-46.

Thomas drove the lane for a left-handed layup, and Keturah Jackson added a stickback to start the 10-2 run that put the Blue Devils on their way to their 12th regional semifinal berth in 13 years.

They're headed to Memphis next weekend, when they will face the winner of Tuesday night's San Diego State-West Virginia game.

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