Lady Bears win again behind Griner’s 22 points

Associated Press
Baylor No. 42 sophomore Brittney Griner shoots over Kansas’ No. 14 Krysten Boogaard in the Lady Bears’ 76-39 victory Wednesday night.

Rebounding key; three in double figures

By Krista Pirtle
Sports Writer

It may have been 16 degrees in Lawrence, Kan, Wednesday night, but the Baylor Lady Bears were burning up the hardwood, starting the game with an 11-0 run in their win against Kansas 76-37.

Baylor, ranked No. 1 nationally and holding a 14-game winning streak, improved to 4-0 in conference play. Kansas fell to 1-3.

Such offensive success was aided tremendously by the Lady Bears’ rebounds, a dominating 55 to the Jayhawks’ 25.

“Rebounding has been on our No. 1 list since forever,” sophomore Destiny Williams said. “All we’re worrying about is rebounding. We can score, we can block shots, we have good guards, good post players, we just have to rebound.”

Much to the pleasure of head coach Kim Mulkey, Baylor hauled in 21 on the offensive glass.

“I don’t know if 21 is the largest number of offensive boards we’ve had all year, but we were hitting the board today,” Mulkey said. “I thought that a lot of that had been stressed the last couple of weeks, blocking out to eliminate second chance points by your opponents and get in there. We’re too athletic not to get more rebounds on the offensive end.”

While the Jayhawks were walking off the court at halftime with just 14 points, sophomore Brittney Griner had already attained her fifth double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

“She really played well,” Mulkey said. “Her post-up moves down in the paint area. You know, she’d been rushing her shots, and we’ve been working with her. Don’t worry about that. Plant your feet, settle in down there. If you have to pass it, you do. Make a strong, square-your-shoulder move. She just really elevated her game early in the ballgame.”

Griner led the Lady Bears in both scoring and rebounding with 22 points and 15 rebounds. Freshman Odyssey Sims and Williams also finished in double digits, with 21 and 12 respectively, and senior Melissa Jones pulled in nine boards.

In fact, none of the Jayhawks finished the game scoring in double digits. Keena Mays, who came off the bench, led with nine.

Baylor was just shy of 50 percent from the floor as a team and was 3-13 from the 3-point range. The starting five — Sims, Griner, Williams, sophomore Kimetria Hayden and Jones — were 28 of 48.

The Lady Bears also overpowered the Jayhawks in points in the paint, 52-14.

With Griner’s domination on both sides of the court, she earned herself some rest on the bench, but her teammates stepped in and kept the momentum rolling.

“I was able, and this is what I try to get Brooklyn Pope and Destiny [Williams] and those other post players to understand,” Mulkey said. “Griner can’t play 40 minutes every night; it’s too hard. And to give her the rest that we did and never miss a beat, I thought Pope and Jordan Madden, and [Terran] Condrey, and all those kids that came off the bench were so valuable tonight.”

Griner played 31 minutes Wednesday night, just above her 29.1 average entering the game.

Baylor’s next game is 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Ferrell Center, when it takes on Texas Tech.