The No. 1 Baylor Lady Bears defeated West Virginia 76-58 In front of 10,245 fans at the Ferrell Center. Baylor moves to 16-1 on the season with the win and 6-0 in conference play.
The Lady Bears started the game off strong responding with a 20-2 run after West Virginia’s junior guard Taylor Palmer began the game with a 3-point shot. However, West Virginia kept fighting to keep it close.
“I thought we got up in the passing lane, we got two or there layups, steals for layups to get us going a little bit, gave us a little bit of momentum,” West Virginia’s head coach Mike Carey said.
The lead was enough for the Lady Bears to hold on. The 6-foot-8 senior center Brittney Griner had a big night with 26 points, 15 rebounds and nine blocks, just one block shy of a triple-double.
“I gave her one more minute and Nae was close to a triple double a couple games ago and I gave her another minute or two and that’s a hard call for me as a coach because the game is out of hand and while you’d like to see them have that in their career, but if something should happen to them late in the game to get an individual stat I would feel bad,” head coach Kim Mulkey said.
Despite the big lead and the great play from Griner, West Virginia was physical and didn’t back down causing the Lady Bears to have 19 turnovers, the most Baylor has had all season. Their defensive pressure also frustrated the Lady Bears as West Virginia had 16 steals to Baylor’s seven.
“We went over in the scouting report how physical and how hard they were going to play,“ Junior Guard Odyssey Sims said.
The Lady Bears’ defense was still dominant as they held their opponent to under 50 percent shooting for the 14th consecutive game. It was hard for them to attack with Griner on the floor because they had to make additional moves to have room to shoot. However, West Virginia’s problem was its foul shooting. At the half they only shot one of six from the line, but shot 11 of 23 in the second half.
“ I thought we played well as a team at times, but I felt like we could’ve done a lot better,” junior guard Christal Caldwell said.
During the five-minute mark when the Lady Bears led 42-70, Mulkey decided to pull out the starters to get the other players involved and prepare them for the future. However, for the first time this year they did not finish the game they wanted to. West Virginia kept chipping away at the lead.
West Virginia had won 3 consecutive conference games before playing the Lady Bears, but Baylor played well enough to win their 49th consecutive home game, which is the largest home winning streak in the nation. Baylor will next go on the road to face Iowa State on Wednesday.