Brittney Griner's punch: How bad was it?

Rising Baylor women's basketball star Brittney Griner landed a hard punch to the face of Texas Tech player Jordan Barncastle in a game Wednesday night (video after the jump). The Baylor coach has suspended Griner for the next two games (which includes a Big 12 tournament game).

I'm no fan of fighting in sports (one of the reasons I just can't get into hockey), but I'm not as upset as everyone else seems to be that Griner landed one on Barncastle's kisser. Barncastle had just flung Griner across the paint in a ridiculous, flagrant foul. She was frustrated that Griner had already scored 21 points and had pulled down 5 rebounds. So Barncastle decided to whip Griner across the paint by the arm. I don't like violent responses in general, and I'm sorry Barncastle was injured by the punch, but when she decided to attack Griner with a flagrant and belligerent foul, she has to accept the consequences of that decision.

Of course, Barncastle got to shoot four freethrows after she provoked Griner with her own flagrant foul.

Now some in the media are going out of their way to paint Griner as a thug. Mechelle Voepel describes Griner as out of control. In describing Griner during an earlier game against Texas State:

And after one of her dunks, she ran back up the court yelling, shaking her head and tapping her chest.

You almost have to think Voepel is joking. After one of her dunks, the freshman was celebrating by yelling? Did she read what she wrote: AFTER ONE OF HER DUNKS!! Dunks are so rare in women's college basketball, how could Griner NOT celebrate with reckless abandon?

I'm excited to see Griner in the NCAA tournament, see how far she can carry Baylor...and see if anyone else will try throwing her across the paint.

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