Griner, Baylor end UF women's NCAA run

Baylor's Brittney Griner (42) makes a move in the lane against Florida's Azania Stewart (13) during the first half of a second-round NCAA women's tournament college basketball game, Tuesday, March 20, 2012, in Bowling Green, Ohio. (AP Photo/J.D. Pooley)

Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 9:17 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 9:17 p.m.

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — Baylor was too much for Florida, as all five Bears starters scored in double figures Tuesday night in an NCAA women’s basketball tournament second-round game.

Led by Brittney Griner’s 25 points, the Bears posted a 76-57 victory over the Gators. Baylor, 36-0, advances to the Sweet 16 to face Georgia Tech in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday. Florida finishes its season at 20-13.

“You have to congratulate their kids and their coaches for the way they played, for the way they prepared, the way they competed. They showed a tremendous amount of consistency in their play this year and there was no shortage of that tonight,” said Florida head coach Amanda Butler.

“It certainly wasn’t our best performance, but for most of the ball game I felt like we played Florida basketball.”

Fans hoping to see Griner dunk got their wish.

Baylor’s Kimetria Hayden grabbed an offensive rebound and passed the ball to the 6-foot-8 Griner, who dunked one-handed with 18:10 remaining in the game.

“That was a monster dunk, and it fired me up,” said Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey.

Florida’s front-line players tried to be physical with Griner, but the Baylor All-America was too much for the Gators.

Griner did not score until there was 8:18 left in the first half. She finished the half with eight points and then played a strong second half.

“She’s a great player,” Florida’s Azania Stewart said. “I just tried to get physical with her and push her out of the paint, out of her comfort zone.

“Her team looks for her and finds her very well.”

In addition to her 25 points, Griner finished with nine rebounds, four assists, six blocks and one steal with three turnovers. She was 8 of 14 from the field and 9 of 10 from the free-throw line.

For the game, Stewart led Florida with 14 points, Deana Allen came off the bench with 13 points, and Lanita Bartley scored 10 points and had a team-high seven rebounds.

“I told the girls when I got back to the locker room, we can’t be upset with that,” Stewart said. “We played the best team. … We gave them our best shot. So we walk out of here with our shoulders high and our heads up and we represented the University of Florida, and that’s what I’m so proud of in my four years. I couldn’t be any happier.”

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