Thursday, March 2, 2023

Pat Summitt's Vols Eliminate Griner's Baylor, 73-63

As an almost perfect rebounder, Britney Griner (1-9 offensive rebounder, 1-10 defensive rebounder) was held in check by the perfect rebounder in our Value Add Basketball Game in Chamique Holdsclaw (1-10, 1-10). 

As a result, Pat Summitt's undefeated 1998 Tennessee Vols won the battle of the boards 39-30 and pulled away from a 59-56 lead with five minutes to go to win 73-63.

Tennessee is our first Final Four team in the all-time great Women's basketball tournament, and will face UConn 2010, which barely survived 74-72 vs USC 1983.

The other Final Four game will be the winner of Notre Dame 2018 and UConn 2016 vs the winner of La Tech 1982 and Baylor 2019.

Griner is arguably the best player in the game, as an elite shot blocker and one of the few offensive players to score or draw a foul on rolls of 1-14 and only miss a shot on a 15-20. 

However, unlike the 2019 Baylor lineup where everyone was WNBA bound, point guard Odyssey Sims was the only true star in the 2012 team besides Griner, and that two on five was not enough for Baylor.

The Vols had an unlikely hero in point guard Ace Clement, who is a great shooter but rarely gets the ball to shoot. However this time Holdsclaw (14 points, 12 rebounds) grabbed several offensive rebounds and passed out to Clement who hit shots including a 3-pointer that made it 67-56 with 7 possessions (3:58) to play.

Clement scored 19 points in the game. Typically a trio of other Vols could all put up 20 in the same game - Holdsclaw, Tamika Cummings and Kelly Jolly.

Worth noting that as a freshman Griner first made her true mark by stunning a much weaker Lady Vols team with 27 points and 10 rebounds, and then dominated them again two years later in the last game coached by Summitt. However, that last team was 27-9, not 39-0 like the team in our game.

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