No. 14 Baylor may have won a Big 12 contest on the road but officials ejected star freshman Brittney Griner after she punched Texas Tech’s Jordan Barncastle in the face during the second half. The Lady Raiders lost the game, 69-60, in front of a crowd of 7,602 in Lubbock.
With approximately nine minutes left in the contest, Griner, the game’s leading scorer, had 21 points under her belt. After a foul in which she was flung around by Barncastle when the two had their arms entangled, Griner retaliated with a punch.
“There’s no place for that in sports,” said Baylor head coach Mulkey. “I will deal with Brittney Griner and it won’t be discussed in the media. You saw the game. Leave it at that. Kristy [Curry], not me, not any coach, not any player will ever be proud of what took place on that floor tonight.”
Baylor’s lone senior Morghan Medlock received a technical foul as did the Texas Tech bench for coming out on the floor during the altercation.
“I can say that, I don’t think Kim [Mulkey] or I, either one teach that or anything about that,” said Texas Tech head coach Kristy Curry. “It is very unfortunate, I am very sad. My biggest concern right now is Jordan Barncastle because she may be out for the rest of the year, so that is my biggest concern. Other than that I am not going to talk about it anymore.”
Griner is subject to suspension and will could miss Baylor’s last regular season game, a matchup against No. 18 Texas, on Sunday. According to the NCAA rulebook, the first time a player “participates in a fight during the season…the individual shall be suspended from participating in the team’s next regular-season game…including tournament competition.”
Jordan Murphree led Texas Tech (17-12, 5-10) with 16 points. The Lady Raiders shot 42.1 percent from the field while Baylor (22-7, 8-6) shot 49 percent.
As the regular season winds down, it was an important game for both teams going into the Big 12 tournament.
“It is big,” said Mulkey. “We are trying to get a top four seed. We now go home and play Texas and I am not certain, correct me if I am wrong, if we could win the next one I think we get, pretty much, guaranteed a four seed but I don’t know. I have been told that. That is just somebody telling me in my ear. I don’t study that stuff.”
Mulkey expressed her pleasure with Baylor’s recent play after her team’s victory over Kansas at home this past Sunday. She continued her praise even in the face of dealing with the fallout from the Griner punch.
“I know that we are playing good basketball,” said Mulkey, “and it is a good thing that we are playing it late in the year. We will get those injured kids back, hopefully for the NCAA, not hopefully, we will get them back for the NCAA playoffs and it is just terrible to sit up here and not be happier with a victory because of what took place on that floor. That was ugly for women’s basketball, it was ugly that benches cleared, coached running out there. That is just ugly and I will do my part from my end, for my team, I can assure you of that.”
Texas Tech is in a more a precarious position for seeding. But Curry is optimistic about her team’s chances in Kansa City, Missouri next week during the conference championships.
“I have no doubt in my mind that we can go to Missouri and win,” said Curry, “win in the first round of the tournament. I know you are going to say, ‘Well Kristy, nobody has ever gotten in at 6-10.’ Well you know what? The past is no predictor of the future and when you are on the committee and you look at the body of work, we have played 12 out of 16 ranked opponents and you look at our UCLA win, who is second in the Pac-10 and ranked in the top 25. And our New Mexico win, and how we have done down the stretch, they always look at how you finish, I still think we can get in and the bottom line is, we are in postseason and that is great for this basketball team.”
Texas Tech returns to action on Sunday when they hit the road to face Missouri.
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