By Matt Larsen
The Lady Bears (6-1) rolled to three home wins over Texas Southern, Liberty and Southeastern Louisiana in the past week, gaining momentum behind a record-breaking evening from sophomore post Brittney Griner, who scored 35 points along with a triple-double.
The wins came by scores of 100-43, 81-42 and 106-41 respectively.
“I feel like I’m doing pretty good,” Griner said. “The guards are finding me when I position myself, so they’re helping me get into the groove.”
The record-breaking evening came on the defensive end, as the 6-foot-8 sophomore broke the Baylor career blocks mark set previously by Danielle Wilson at 249.
With three swats against the Tigers, Griner finished the night with 251 blocks in the 41 games she had played as a Lady Bear.
“I always say that records are made to be broken,” head coach Kim Mulkey said. “I’m not sure Brittney’s blocked-shot record at Baylor will ever be broken. I would have to look when her career’s over if it will be broken on a national scale.”
After watching Griner swat countless shots away in games and practice, senior Melissa Jones voiced her appreciation at not having to worry about being the one getting rejected in game situations.
“Britney [Griner] is so talented,” the senior guard said. “It is something that you do not see every day, and we are just glad she is on our team.”
In addition to her blocks, Griner picked up 27 points to lead all scorers and was one rebound shy of sophomore Brooklyn Pope, who led the Lady Bears on the boards with eight.
Griner would out-rebound Pope and out perform herself the next game against Liberty, picking up nine boards and seven blocks. The first three of those blocks came in the first minute of play and helped the Lady Bears jump out to a 9-0 lead.
Her career-high 35 points were the highlight of the night.
“Brittney got a lot of good looks in the game. … Sometimes we fuss at her to quit getting pushed off the block. I thought she did get some more closer-to-the-rim-type baskets,” Mulkey said. “I just think Brittney needs to do more of that. Don’t just settle for jumpers all the time. I thought she did a good job of finishing that.”
Her 30 minutes of playing time Friday night were the most she saw in any of the three games, but her name made the stat sheet even more during the 21 minutes she played Sunday afternoon against the Southeastern Louisiana Lions as she posted her fourth career triple-double with 28 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocks.
“She was getting ready to come out and they told me she needed another rebound, so I let her stay another 40 seconds or whatever it was,” Mulkey said. “She’s a once-in-a-lifetime player. You enjoy her while you have her. You don’t take her for granted.”
Fellow captain Melissa Jones helped Griner get their team out to 16-2 start with two 3-pointers and the Lady Bears never let off the throttle. They would extend their lead to 64-18 at halftime before going on to put up a season-high 106.
Griner was named Big 12 Player of the Week for her dominance during the three home games.
The individuals that she credits for feeding her at the post are numerous, as six guards have 15 or more assists this season. Point guards sophomore Kimetria Hayden and freshman Odyssey Sims lead the effort with 27 and 26 assists apiece.
The competition will heat up again for the Lady Bears when they host No. 18 University of Notre Dame at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Ferrell Center.