WACO, Texas - West Virginia has what seems like an unusual plan to go against Baylor and 6-foot-8 Brittney Griner.
The Mountaineers intend to attack on offense and go right at Griner when they have the ball. And they plan to stick with their tenacious man-to-man defense, which is sure to create some one-on-one opportunities on offense for Griner, the dominating sophomore so used to being surrounded by multiple defenders.
"We showed our girls several clips of people attacking them and getting layups in transition,'' West Virginia coach Mike Carey said. "Let's not stand around, pass the ball around and let her just sit in the middle and try to block our shots when we go. ... If she blocks it, she blocks it. We can't change our game just because of that.''
It will be a huge challenge for West Virginia (24-9) tonight when the Mountaineers play the top-seeded Bears in a second-round NCAA tournament game on Baylor's home court. The Bears are 20-0 at home this season.
Baylor (32-2) is trying to advance to the NCAA round of 16 for the sixth time in eight seasons - the Bears went to the Final Four last season when Griner was a freshman. Senior-filled West Virginia has never gotten past the second round.
Coach Kim Mulkey smiled when Griner was asked about West Virginia's plan - and when she answered.
"I've kind of gotten used to double teams,'' Griner said. "Whatever they throw at me, just roll with it.''
Griner and Asya Bussie, West Virginia's 6-4 sophomore center, played against each other before in AAU basketball.
"We lost in the championship but it was a good matchup,'' said Bussie, who was then asked if she felt like she held her own against Griner. "Yeah, definitely.''
Griner agreed that "it was a good matchup. ... It was summer ball. We've both improved.''
While Bussie's team-leading 54 blocks are 100 less than Griner has for Baylor, she said she was excited about the challenge and the chance to prove something.
"But I noticed she was sweating a little when she was answering that question,'' Carey said, smiling.