The Norman Transcript

March 25, 2013

OSU smashes Depaul

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

DURHAM, N.C. — Brittany Hrynko had been DePaul’s top scorer and maybe its toughest competitor all season. The sophomore just couldn’t knock down a shot for the Blue Demons once they reached the NCAA tournament.

Hrynko went 2 for 17 from the floor, including a 1-for-11 performance from 3-point range, in DePaul’s 73-56 loss to Oklahoma State on Sunday in the first round of the Norfolk Region. Her struggles was the best example of DePaul’s miserable afternoon on offense, including an 81⁄2-minute scoring drought that made it a one-and-done showing in the Blue Demons’ 11th straight NCAA appearance.

The 5-foot-8 guard, who came in averaging about 15 points per game, finished with 11 and one assist against six turnovers.

“She’s been a really good, tough player for us,” DePaul coach Doug Bruno said. “When she’s not making shots, she needs to facilitate. That’s just one of those situations where you just have to find the open man.”

Hrynko came in shooting about 35 percent from the field and 32 percent from 3-point range. It wasn’t the first time this year that she struggled with her shot — most notably she went 0 for 15 in a loss at Connecticut in February — but this was the worst possible time for it to resurface.

“She’s had great nights for us where she does score the ball,” Bruno said. “I just wish, 2 for 17 is a tough night.”

For Oklahoma State, Toni Young scored 20 of her 25 points in the first half and finished with 13 rebounds.

Liz Donohoe added 14 points for the seventh-seeded Cowgirls (22-10), who blew nearly all of a 16-point lead before taking back control with a 13-0 run.

Oklahoma State shot 46 percent to earn its first tournament win in three years, sending the Cowgirls to Tuesday night’s second round to face No. 2 seed and site host Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Anna Martin scored 12 points for the 10th-seeded Blue Demons (21-12), who managed to pull within a point with about 14 minutes left despite struggling on offense the entire afternoon. But DePaul missed 15 straight shots and went nearly 10 minutes without a basket during an ugly stretch.

That gave Oklahoma State an opening to take back momentum.

Tiffany Bias pushed the ball after a made basket for a quick score to start the run. Then Kendra Suttles scored on a stickback and added a pair of free throws, and Donohoe knocked down a 3-pointer that pushed the lead to 54-44 near the 9-minute mark.

After Lashawn Jones’ stickback, Young ended the run with a turnaround shot for her first basket since the 7:01 mark of the first half, making it 58-44 with 7:24 to play.

DePaul never got close again. The Blue Demons shot 25 percent (20 for 80) from the field and 22 percent (8 for 37) from behind the arc.

Oklahoma State won the WNIT in its first year under Jim Littell, who took over following the deaths of coach Kurt Budke and assistant Miranda Serna in a November 2011 plane crash.

Baylor 82, Praire View 40: The Prairie View A&M Lady Panthers won’t soon forget the time they were on the court for Brittney Griner’s one-handed reverse dunk in the NCAA tournament.

Griner had her 15th career dunk among 33 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks, and defending champion Baylor opened the NCAAs with an 82-40 victory against Prairie View on Sunday night.

“It was amazing. It was amazing,” Lady Panthers guard Jeanette Jackson said. “We got star struck.”

It’s not so much Griner’s height at 6-foot-8 that stood out to Southwestern Athletic Conference player of the year Latia Williams of Prairie View. It was her arms.

“Her wingspan is amazing,” said Williams, who started fast but was just 2 of 10 in the second half and finished with 10 points.

“Her hands are huge. When she grabbed my hand and helped me up, her hand was on my forearm. She’s cool. It was a great experience. We had fun.”

The Lady Bears (33-1), the overall No. 1 seed, won their 31st straight game since an early season loss to Stanford, another top seed.

Baylor plays eighth-seeded Florida State in the second round on Tuesday night.

Odyssey Sims had 12 points and 10 assists, and Destiny Williams had nine points and 10 rebounds.

Gabrielle Scott led Prairie View with 14 points. The Lady Panthers (17-15) lost as a No. 16 seed for the third year in a row.

Two of them were against Baylor in Waco, and the other was to Connecticut.

“This one game doesn’t justify our season,” Prairie View coach Toyelle Wilson said. “Baylor was a lot bigger than us. They had a lot more ammo. They played like the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament.”

Griner’s latest dunk — she had two in the NCAA tournament last year — came right after Prairie View had scored to make it 49-26. Sims found Griner alone under the basket and threw a pass three-quarters of the length of the floor. Griner caught it, turned under the basket and dunked with one hand on the other side of the rim.

“It was a little energizer,” Griner said. “We definitely started playing with more energy after that.”

A few minutes after Griner’s dunk, Prairie View’s Tanisha Lacey took the ball away from Griner and tried to shoot over her. Griner didn’t even let the shot get out of Lacey’s hand, stuffing it out of bounds.

With the crowd still wildly cheering the block, Sims got a steal and threw the ball ahead to Kimetria Hayden, who converted a three-point play for Baylor’s first 30-point lead.

Sims pleased the crowd again a few minutes later when she almost kicked the ball out of bounds on a fast break, but saved it to Brooklyn Pope. Sims was waiting for a return pass under the basket, and the layup put Baylor ahead 62-28.

A 3-pointer from Sims made it 70-30 with 9:07 remaining, and when Sims and Griner left the game less than 3 minutes later, Griner had as many points as the Lady Panthers.

“This crowd was pretty electric tonight,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “They didn’t wait until the dunk to get excited. I just think it was like a snowball effect. We did one thing. We started doing another thing. That’s just kids playing hard. That’s kids understanding this is tournament time.”

Baylor’s lead was just 22-15 midway through the first half when Mulkey called timeout and stared down Hayden for leaving Gabrielle Scott open for a 3-pointer that gave Prairie View five points in just 35 seconds.

The Lady Bears scored the next five points coming out of the timeout to start a 17-4 run that put them ahead 39-19 late in the first half. Griner, who had her 61st career double-double, scored 10 in the spurt and had 20 in the first half.

Playing for the first time in nearly two weeks, Baylor let the Lady Panthers stay close in the first few minutes, thanks in part to a stretch of a minute and a half when the Lady Bears didn’t even get off a shot.

Prairie View got a steal and had three straight offensive rebounds before Kiara Etienne hit a 3-pointer to give the Lady Panthers their only lead at 6-5.

“I think we came out a little too excited,” Sims said. “They forced us to shoot jumpers. We didn’t attack the goal from the jump. We knew what we had to do. We slowly picked it up and got back on track.”

Prairie View qualified for the tournament by beating Mississippi Valley State in four overtimes in the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship game.

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