Baylor’s Brittney Griner Suspended for Throwing Punch

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Baylor's Brittney Griner Suspended for Throwing Punch DALLAS — Brittney Griner, the dunking
freshman sensation
for No. 14 Baylor, has been suspended for two games after throwing a
punch that broke an opposing player’s nose in a Big 12 game.

Lady Bears head coach Kim Mulkey said in a
statement issued late Thursday that Griner will be suspended for one
game in addition to a one-game suspension mandated by NCAA rules.

Griner was automatically suspended for Baylor’s
next contest, Sunday’s match-up against No. 18 Texas in Waco. Mulkey’s
additional one-game suspension will force Griner to miss Baylor’s Big 12
Championship tournament opener on March 11 or 12.

“Due to the severity of the act, it is
appropriate that Ms. Griner is suspended for an additional game,” said
Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe in a statement. “Therefore, I have
accepted Baylor’s action and commend athletics director Ian McCaw and
head coach Kim Mulkey for taking a strong stance to support good
sportsmanship.”

The Big 12 tournament is next week in Kansas
City, Mo., and Baylor is all but guaranteed a spot in the NCAA
tournament the following week.

In the written statement from Baylor, Griner
apologized to “the Lady Raider team, my teammates and coaches, the fans
and the game of women’s basketball.”

“I let my emotions get the best of me and I am
deeply sorry for my actions. I am committed to doing a better job of
maintaining my composure in the future,” she said. “I will grow from
this and I am dedicated to setting an example to others of how to learn
from personal mistakes.”

The 19-year-old Griner is one of the most
talked-about women’s college players in years. The Houston native was an
Internet sensation in high school with her incredible dunks and earlier
this season she became only the second player to dunk more than once in
a women’s college game during a 99-18 rout of Texas State. Candace
Parker
of Tennessee was the first.

She was tentative at first, but has become one
of the most dominant frontcourt players in the country and gets the most
attention from opposing teams. On Wednesday night, she punched Texas
Tech’s Jordan Barncastle in the face after the two players tangled in
the second half of Baylor’s 69-60 win in Lubbock.

The 6-foot-8 Griner and Barncastle were
battling for position near the lane before Barncastle spun around and
sent Griner lunging toward the baseline. As a foul was called on
Barncastle, Griner straightened up and took two steps toward her before
throwing a roundhouse punch with her right hand.

Players had to be separated in the scrum that
ensued, and Baylor’s Morghan Medlock was given a technical foul.

Barncastle stayed in long enough to shoot four
technical free throws but didn’t play again. Video showed her on the
bench with gauze in her right nostril, smiling while describing the play
to teammates by simulating a punch.

Barncastle’s father and former high school
coach, Doug Barncastle, said his daughter’s nose was broken and declined
further comment. Texas Tech spokeswoman Tammi Hoffman said Barncastle
would be evaluated daily and it wasn’t clear when she would be cleared
to play.

After the game, Mulkey said she would deal
with Griner but didn’t plan to discuss disciplinary measures publicly.

“There’s no place for that in sports,” Mulkey
said. “It was ugly for women’s basketball.”

Griner towers over opposing players forced to
be physical with her around the basket.

Griner is averaging 19 points, 8.7 rebounds
and 6.1 blocks — second nationally — per game. She has season highs of
34 points and 21 rebounds, while recording 11 blocks in three different
games. She already holds the Big 12 single-season blocks record.

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