Freshmen taking over?

Everybody’s talking about the class of 2011, but there are three in the class of 2009 who are looking pretty scary right now.

Baylor freshman Brittney Griner continued her rampage of consistency today against Louisiana-Lafayette, putting up 14 points and pulling down 14 boards in a mere 19 minutes in the Bears win, 89-42. It was a career best in rebounds for Griner as she lead her team.

In the Tennessee-UCLA matchup, it was Vol frosh Taber Spani who heated up to give her team the juice to close out the win. She lead the Vols in scoring with 16points.

On the other side of the court it was Bruin frosh Markel Walker who lead her team – something she’s been doing a lot lately – with 19 points and 14 rebounds.

Griner’s performances have been somewhat surprising, because freshmen almost always experience the “small fish in a big pond” syndrome when they first get to college – even when they can dunk the ball. Spani has risen from the middle to top of the pack in the 2009 class that I saw play at the Women’s College Basketball Association high school all-star game in St. Louis last April. Tennessee fans say her maturity is unusual for her age, and that she seems to have been bred for college hoops.

Walker is perhaps the biggest surprise of the bunch. She was on the white team in the WBCA game, was ranked fourth by ESPN, but still flew under the radar. She wasn’t as well-known as, say, Skylar Diggins or Kelsey Bone. But she not only made the starting line-up of a D I team, she’s one of its leading scorers.

Big ups to these three. I can’t wait to see what each of them do next.

In Pac-10 news, USC beat another ranked opponent today, besting #22 Mississippi State 64-60. Wisconsin squeaks one out over Oregon, 58-57. And Oregon State tonight won the Northern Arizona University Classic.