- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 4, 2009

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Brittney Griner lived up to her reputation as national high school player of the year in the WBCA All-America Game on Saturday night. Alas, no dunks except during warmups.

The 6-foot-8 Griner, a Baylor recruit who averaged two dunks per game as a senior, had 20 points, nine rebounds and eight blocked shots to lead the Blue team to a 79-77 victory over the White. Griner, who holds the national single-game record of 25 blocks, swatted away five shots in the second half and was the MVP of the Blue team.

Not getting a dunk, she conceded, was a minor letdown. Griner appeared to have a shot at one off a turnover in the first half but was fouled by a retreating defender and settled for a layup.

“I’m a little disappointed,” Griner said. “But we showed them some at halftime and in warmups,” Griner said.

Notre Dame signee Skylar Diggins of Washington High in South Bend, Ind., led all scorers with 24 points and was the White team MVP. Diggins led a late rally for the White, making a layup with 13.8 seconds left to cut the gap to two points. She missed a second free throw on purpose with 3.3 seconds to go but missed the rim.

“We just wanted to win,” Diggins said. “We were out there to have a great time, but we definitely were out there to compete.”

The exhibition featured more defense and off-target shooting than a typical All-Star games, with the Blue shooting 38 percent and the White 31 percent overall. Even free-throw shooting was off, with the Blue at 56 percent and the White at 61 percent.

Destiny Williams of Benton Harbor, Mich. (Illinois) added 12 rebounds and nine points. Taylor Hill of Minneapolis, Minn. (undecided) had 10 points and seven rebounds. Taber Spani of Lee’s Summit, Mo. (Tennessee) was one player whose shot was on, going 3-for-6 from 3-point range and scoring 10 points.

Among those watching at the Washington University fieldhouse was Tennessee coach Pat Summitt, accompanied by her entire staff.

“It was awesome,” Taber said. “She came to my high school game and I loved it.”

The White squad included three North Carolina recruits, most of any school. Two players committed to Baylor and California.


ALL FOR CHARITY: Tennessee coach Pat Summitt paid $1,000 in honor of her 1,000th victory for a game-worn Geno Auriemma tie on Friday night.

Never one wanting to be outdone by his rival, Auriemma playfully bid $1,200 for his own tie before relinquishing it to Summitt.

The tie was auctioned off to help raise money for the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund at TV announcers Debbie Antonelli and Beth Mowins WBCA Podcast.

The tie had been worn by Auriemma at the Huskies’ win over South Carolina early in the season. Antonelli collected it from the coach and brought it with her throughout the course of the season to games she covered.

Finally, the tie made it to St. Louis for the Final Four where Summitt bid on it.

Two autographed balls with both Summitt and Auriemma’s signature as well as Yow’s raised another $1,000.


HEAVY HEART: It’s been an emotional week for Louisville’s Keshia Hines, whose grandmother died Monday just before the Cardinals upset Maryland to earn their first Final Four berth.

Claudette Hines, 67, raised Keshia along with three siblings.

The 6-2 Hines, a sophomore, left Louisville on Tuesday to attend a wake in Pontiac, Mich. She traveled with the team on Thursday, then left again Friday for the funeral Saturday in Russellville, Ky.

“It was hard to smile when people congratulated me,” Hines told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “It’s been tough losing her. But I know she would be proud of me, and that’s helped.”


AP Sports Writer Doug Feinberg contributed to this report.

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