Griner, team appear back in top form
By Lindsay Cash
The Lady Bears pummeled Kansas State on Wednesday when they relentlessly scored 75 and held the Wildcats to 48.
Senior Melissa Jones had her 38th double-figure scoring game and tied her career high of three blocks, while sophomore Brittney Griner put up 26 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
The game attendance of 7,820 was enough to push the Ferrell Center attendance record to new heights. The Lady Bears’ home attendance mark of 140,794 on the season surpasses all attendance records at the Ferrell Center, in both the men and women’s teams.
Coach Kim Mulkey knows the attendance derives from her team’s desire to produce wins.
“It feels good to put a product on the floor and have people, fans and coaches respect it,” Mulkey said.
From the tip, the Lady Bears intensely pressed the Wildcats on the defensive end. Kansas State rocked back on their heels early as Jones hit two big 3-pointers to give the Lady Bears the initial gap. Jones finished the night with five steals, three blocks, six assists and nine rebounds.
“My favorite stat of the night would have to be out-blocking Brittney,” Jones said, with a smile.
Mulkey knows Jones’ senior leadership and hard-nosed style of play.
“If you’re a player that brings it like this every night with these kinds of stats, like MJ does, your team will win,” Mulkey said.
Freshman Odyssey Sims had a quiet offensive night with just two points, but she and sophomore Brooklyn Pope combined for eight rebounds.
“I thought Odyssey played very well on defense tonight,” Mulkey said.
Sophomore Jordan Madden added seven points.
The Lady Bears dominated the boards, out-rebounding Kansas State 38-21. Kansas State’s 21 was a season low for Baylor’s opponent. Their six made free throws and nine attempts were opponent season lows as well.
Although the game seemed one-sided, the Lady Bears worked all week for such a win. Griner said last week’s upset loss to Texas Tech fueled the Lady Bears’ fire for the future.
“The improvement starts in practice. It’s always nice to win, but losing to Texas Tech opened our eyes, and we needed that,” Griner said.
With only three regular season games left in the Ferrell Center, the Lady Bears realize the importance of finishing strong.
“We’ve come to bounce back from a tough loss at Texas Tech with a sense of urgency,” Mulkey said.
Jones, the team’s lone senior, faces closing in on her career at Baylor.
“It crosses my mind every day, but it’s exciting. It makes you work harder every day,” Jones said.
Mulkey looks to keep the team fresh and healthy during the postseason.
“Late February you start seeing heavy legs and unhealthy bodies. We need to keep everyone healthy and fresh heading late into the season,” Mulkey said.
The Lady Bears will face Oklahoma at 4 p.m. Sunday in Norman. In the team’s Feb. 2 meeting, Baylor led by as much as 40 points and prevailed, 92-70, behind Griner’s 29 points.