Post-punch: Griner, Barncastle have first rematch
Jan. 21, 2011
WACO, Texas (AP) — Brittney Griner and Jordan Barncastle haven't spoken to each other or had any direct contact since the punch. They won't be able to avoid each other Saturday night.
No. 1 Baylor is hosting Texas Tech in the first meeting between the teams since a confrontation last March that left Barncastle with a broken nose and Griner suspended for two games. The video went viral.
"That's all behind us," Griner said this week. "That was last year, everybody's moved on. So we're just going to come out and play a good game."
Baylor (17-1, 4-0 Big 12) has won 14 games in a row overall, and its last 13 at home. The Lady Raiders (16-2, 3-1) are coming off a loss at No. 14 Oklahoma that snapped their second eight-game winning streak of the season.
Texas Tech coach Kristy Curry, like Griner, insisted that the focus is on this game.
"It continues to be where others want to bring it to the forefront, but if you've noticed from my comments, it hasn't been talked about, won't be talked about," Curry said. "Different team, different year. Those two young ladies need to be allowed to just play the game."
They play again Feb. 19 in Lubbock.
The day after the punch, which came in a Baylor victory at Lubbock, Griner issued a written apology through the school to Barncastle, Texas Tech and her own teammates and coaches. But they haven't seen each other since.
Even at the Big 12 media day in October, Griner and Barncastle didn't see or talk to each other. Their teams were involved in different sessions with reporters.
Barncastle has started all 18 games this season for Tech, averaging 5.9 points and 3.6 rebounds, about what she did a year ago. Texas Tech officials said she wasn't among the players available for scheduled interviews Friday.
At the Big 12 media day, Barncastle said the incident wasn't going to change her physical style of play.
"We're not really dwelling on the past," Barncastle said then.
The 6-foot-2 Barncastle was called for a foul on the play that led to the infamous scrap.
When the two players got tangled under the basket, Barncastle twisted and slung the 6-foot-8 Griner off of her. After lunging toward the baseline, Griner stopped, took two steps and delivered a roundabout right to Barncastle's face.
Griner, already a YouTube sensation for her dunks and blocked shots, got an automatic one-game NCAA ban for the punch. Baylor coach Kim Mulkey added a second game to the suspension.
Mulkey repeatedly said that Griner shouldn't be defined for the mistake. In an interview with The Associated Press earlier this season, Griner spoke about learning from the incident.
"I've just got to keep a cool, cool head no matter what happens," Griner said. "You've just got to be able to walk away and just not retaliate. That's what I learned, that's not acceptable at all. ... I've just got to be able to just walk away, and I feel like I can do that."
There have been no issues this season for Griner, who averages 22 points and 7.8 rebounds a game.
When asked then about the first game against Barncastle, Griner said she didn't feel like anything needed to be said between the two players.
"Just go play," she said. "It's a one-time thing, you don't even have to say anything about it. Just go play."