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04/01/2013

Kim Mulkey's mouth overshadowed the end of a brilliant Baylor career

AP95474331889Women's basketball doesn't much move the needle but there are exceptions, mostly because Baylor senior center Brittney Griner is the ultimate aberration.

Her college career is over after Louisville pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the history of an NCAA tournament by defeating Baylor 82-81 in the Sweet 16 on Sunday night.

Griner will leave Baylor as the rarest of examples of a female college athlete whom the university actually profitted from rather than the other way around. She drew big crowds, generated untold revenue in media publicity, and led her team to an NCAA title.

And after the most disappointing defeat of her life, she handled herself with the class her head coach should have emulated.

Louisville leaned and beat on Griner all night in a game the officials never really controlled. Griner still finished with eight free throw attempts, tying her with teammate Odyssey Sims for the most in the game. Baylor was 19-of-26 from the line; Louisville 12-of-16.

"Most of the time you get more calls. You just play through it," Griner told the media after the game.

Notice - no complaining from the player who was being treated like a giant tackling dummy.

734597_10151510505903270_163111818_nThen her coach, the verbally gifted Kim Mulkey, decided she was going to make sure the world knew the officiating sucked and rather than be a decent sport she sounded like a sore losing whiner.

“I'll be glad to answer any referee question you want to ask me, because I don't mind getting fined, so ask me,” Mulkey said in the post game presser. “Now is the time to ask me, OK?”

And then ...

“I thought the game started out way too physical, way too physical. I thought that all three of them, if they go past this round of officiating, it will be sad for the game.”

As a member of the media, many thanks for the candor and the hyperbole. But this is not the best example of leadership.

Officiating basketball is a difficult, and thankless, gig. Just start with the baseline that all college officiating honks.

Mulkey mentioned the refs blew a couple of late game calls, but the officials had little to do with Louisville making 16-of-25 3-pointers, including a few from NBA range. The refs didn't help the Cardinals shoot 48 percent from the floor. 

The refs didn't hand Louisville a 19-point lead.

Mulkey was justifiably upset because she knows she had the best team in the nation and her team should have won another NCAA title.

But this is sports where upsets happen.

Her points about the officiating, and specifically a couple of those calls, may be accurate but like everything there is a time and a place.

It would seem that Griner knew that but Mulkey deliberately forgot.

Twitter @MacEngelProf

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Comments

Robert

Yet when Jimmy Johnson called out the referees after a loss to the Giants it was considered a bold move and was applauded for something that needed to be said.

Which is it? Sour grapes or justifiable anger?

jb

Well said.

Roger

Very typical for old lady Mulkey!

Can't wait until next year when she has to go without Big Brit:)

POOR MULKEY!!!!!!

Lainester

Kim Mulkey is usually the first to congratulate or point out the efforts of another team. This was a heartbreaking loss for Baylor and after watching the inept officiating-I think her comments were warranted. But you can't take this win away from Louisville-they were awesome.

John

I thought it needed to be said. Louisville was out of control with contact most of the game. The referees never had control of the game. The referees were simply timid. In my opinion it is sad for women's basketball because there was the closest thing to a grand stage that we see in the sport and it turned into a chaotic slapfest that was all let go by the "women's basketball officials." Hats off to Louisville though. 16 3s would beat the Dream Team, or at least make a game out of it. I would not sweat it for the Baylor program. They were good before Griner. They will be good after Griner.

Peter Witt

And Baylor never went over and shook hands with the other team...they didn't act like winners...they acted like losers.

Bill

I thought the refs tried to hand Baylor the game the last five minutes. However, obviously, one of the three had a conscience.

Gator

Baylor, coach and players DID do the handshake ritual with Louisville! Plenty of video to prove it. IMO Kim's post game comments, however, showed a lack of good sportsmanship. A Coach of the Year with the best post and arguably one of the best PG to loose this game, however, says something was wrong. Could it have been the game plan? A sense that a NC was inevitable and that this game wold be a gnat on the way? No easy answers but in fact, it wasn't the ref's "fault" - both teams had the same refs and I can't find a material difference in how one team benefited more than the other from how the game was called.

utfan20yrs

I think Kim Mulkey/Baylor should have spent alot less time 'marketing' Britney Griner. Griner is a classy women, talented and obviously loves the game. She has nothing to be ashamed of concerning last night. However, once again Mulkey could take a lesson from her 'star'. Bad calls, good calls, agressive play, it all is a part of ball. Watching last night's game reminded me of Candace Parker getting 'beat up' in the NCAA games in Atlanta. It happens....how the coach handles the loss is most important. After all these years; I wish Mulkey would show some class.

A

Louisville did great on the 3 pointers, but I agree with Kim Mulkey that the whole game was WAY too physical. Why was it OK for them to just beat up on Griner because she's good? They were literally throwing punches! They don't even do that in the NBA. It was a very bad thing for college basketball.

JW

I didn't watch the entire game, but did see what I considered to be poor officiating especially towards the end. However, calls were bad *both* ways. There were three in particular I can remember against Louisville that were questionable at best (...a bogus charge, a foul on a loose ball scramble, and the coach's technical); and there were a similar amount of bad ones against Baylor, most notably the final charge call. It really did go both ways during the parts that I was watching.

It's too bad that talk about the officiating is overshadowing what I thought was a very exciting game. My hat is off to both teams.

Susan

I, too, think that Mulkey's comments were warranted. She felt they had been unjustifiably wronged. When she got so angry at the charging call and ripped off her jacket....that wasn't a woman who was upset her team was losing. That was a woman who believed without a doubt that her players were being wronged. So, I think it's okay that she voiced her opinion. This wasn't sore losing. It was standing up for her team that truly deserved more. Yes, Louisville was incredible with their 3's, but without the poor officiating and without their dirty play (even according to their own coach who instructed them to play that way), they would not have won that game.

TerryR40

“I thought the game started out way too physical, way too physical."

Sooner fan, here. Yes, the game was physical, quite physical, but Baylor as well as Texas A&M (when they were in the Big 12) have made a reputation of playing physical.
Mulkey's complaining about the physicality of the game rings false to me - - I remember vividly how the Baylor teams attacked Courtney Paris when she and her sister were playing for OU. Many times, Courtney endured a mugging. Because of her stout stature, it was overlooked.
It was just easier for Baylor fans to notice it when it happened to Griner.

Trust me, Mulkey has had her teams dishing it out plenty, it just came home to roost!

BW

I don't think I've ever seen a situation where Kim Mulkey dealt with adversity well. She's great when her team wins, but when it doesn't she acts like a 4 year old.

And just this past year Mulkey received NCAA sanctions in part due to improperly recruiting Britney Griner. I guess cheating and being a sore loser go hand in hand.

CindyH

Kim Mulkey forgot her big girl panties.. She always does it when they lose..No excuse for being a bad sport, bad example for her players.

TerryR40

Oh, and lest Kim Mulkey forget, instead of excoriating the officiating, she should have been thankful that she didn't get T'd up for dashing halfway out on the floor, ripping off her jacket. The Louisville coach got handed a Technical for much less.

But Mulkey doesn't see things rationally when her team loses.

She is a good coach, but a terrible loser. She could win only one National Championship with a team for the ages. When Brittney departs as a senior, taking Pope, Hayden, Madden and Destiny Brown with her, Mulkey will be left with only one All-American, the talented Odyssey Sims.
We'll see how good a coach Kim is when she doesn't have a team full of All-Stars.

Steve

It's not the players or coaches job to officiate the game. If one team is playing tougher or more physical than the other team and the refs are letting things go, step up your intensity. The officials were letting them play. So play. If you're getting pushed around then push back. All I keep hearing is that Louisville was tougher and fought harder. Why is that Louisville's fault? Man up.

topgunn

Baylor women's basketball will never go to another final four

AO

its true Louisville did great job with their 16- 3 pointers,BUT the game was too physical,i do not favor any team because i have friends that play on both teams. to be honest Baylor should have won that game and they would have if the officials made the right call at the end. KIM MULKEY was not a poor sport, she did the right thing of calling out those 3 bad officials, all i know is that Baylor is going to come back next season with vengeance

psa

the calls or NO calls of the refs in the beginning of a game can greatly affect the ability of a player or team to use their skills to score etc. i think it is apparent through this whole ncaa tournament that the officials have been instructed to let the game go on and not call the physical play that will stop the flow of the tv schedule. when teams are allowed to play "street ball" thats where they should be...in the street with NO refs..then if you don't like it you take your ball and go home. i think a coach should be passionate for her team...i can't fault mulkey for that...i would want her fighting for me.

Sooner but not Mac Fan

Mac, good to know your living up to your reputation as a hack journalist as it's obvious you did not watch the game much less ESPN's half-time coverage. I am a Sooner fan that hates Mulkey and was rooting against Baylor / Griner however I actually watched the entire game and I can honestly say last night's one sided officiating was horrendous! The ESPN half-time package did a great job showing multiple uncalled fouls against Griner including 3 elbows & 1 punch thrown at her just feet in front of the officials. Once the refs started calling all the Hack-a-Griner fouls, 3 louisville players fouled out and Baylor quickly caught up. If actual fouls had been called in the first half alone the game would have been completely different since the 3 Louisville players that were committing the fouls and scored 50% of Louisville's points would have been sitting on the bench most of the game. As for foul counts 24-14 should have been more like 48-14. I can't remember any OU game that Paris twins had to deal with so many blatant hard fouls not called yet Sherri went off on the refs a few times trying to protect them. I still hate Mulkey, she's loud and obnoxious, however if there was ever a time for a coach to completely loose it and call out the refs post game… This game was it! I only hope is if this ever happens to the Sooners that Sherri would go off far worse than Mulkey!

REALLY

Kim Mulkey was right to speak out. The direction of the Louisville Coach to tell his players to play "Street Ball" and the officiating were a disgrace to basketball. I had justed watched the Louisville men's game and cheered for them and cried for Ware. I turn the channel to Louisville girls street fighting a poised and humble Britney Greiner. Sad day for women's basketball.

TerryR40

"I can't remember any OU game that Paris twins had to deal with so many blatant hard fouls not called"

@Sooner fan but not Mac fan:

We'll agree to disagree, I guess. I vividly recall Baylor players and A&M players targeting Courtney similar to what happened to Griner last night. As I said, because of Courtney's stout stature, it didn't SEEM as bad, but it was!

And Griner is no shrinking violet, either! I remember a game this year that she threw an elbow into Joanna McFarland's face and decked her - - JUST RUNNING DOWN THE FLOOR! Remember that one?
Griner quit throwing punches after the Jordan Barncastle episode at TTech, but she still is plenty aggressive!
Spare me the alligator tears...

noel

Poor Griner and poor sports in general!!! Not to mention the cheating that goes on there. Winners with ZERO class!!! Of course we knew that much when Griner broke the nose of Barncastle, a Tech pre-med major. Again folks, sports don't create character, they reveal it!!! Appears that character is something that is in short supply in Waco.

noel

Bottom line for Baylor is this: they simply weren't good enough to oevercome bad officiating. No tears from here for the cheats!

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