The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Sports Columns

April 3, 2013

Rick Teverbaugh: Baylor women should still be playing

After further review, the Baylor women should be one of the basketball teams still playing for the NCAA national championship this weekend.

Louisville should be back at home rooting for the men’s team.

When a female college player as big as Baylor’s 6-foot-8 dominates the sport as she has, teams will resort to extreme measures, especially with a national title on the line, to neutralize a threat as big as Griner. That’s exactly what the Cardinals did.

In the interest of fairness, it should be pointed out that Baylor in general and Griner in particular, have never been squeaky clean in terms of physical play.

Three years ago, Griner punched Texas Tech’s Jordan Barncastle and was ejected from that game. Baylor has also been criticized for playing a rough style of basketball. But these games need to be officiated with amnesia. What a team did in the past, even if the past is only a day or more in the past, should not matter.

That wasn’t the case in Sunday’s game where the Bears lost to Louisville. The Cardinals used Griner like an MMA opponent for most of the game. The officials decided to only call about one in three of the real fouls and still three Louisville players fouled out.

Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said, “I thought the game started out way too physical, way too physical. I thought that all three of (the officials), if they go past this round of officiating, it will be sad for the game.”

It will be sad for the game but good for the Cardinals.

I admit, my first reaction to hearing of Baylor’s loss was one of elation. It meant one less obstacle for Notre Dame to have to get past if the Irish are to become national champions.

But once I saw the game footage, I had a different opinion.

Even my good friend “Jumpin” Johnny Wilson took time out to call and say how disturbing it was to watch the on-court mugging that took place.

Certainly teams should be forced to come up with a cleaner and more legal solution to Griner, or they shouldn’t still be playing.

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