By Krista Pirtle
The No. 1 Baylor Lady Bears continued to live up to their hype over the weekend as they defeated Pat Summitt’s No. 7 Lady Volunteers on the road in Knoxville 76-67.
The Tennessee defense contained junior Brittney Griner in the first half, sending Baylor to the locker room trailing 31-33.
In the second half, Griner finally found her rhythm and went to work scoring 17 of her 26 points.
“I was just listening to my coaches and getting on myself, ‘Get deep, get deep, get the ball and go up strong,’” Griner said.
Following Griner on the scoreboard were sophomores Odyssey Sims with 23 and Jordan Madden with 11.
Besides the paint, the Lady Bears usually dominate the boards as well.
Baylor is undefeated in three consecutive seasons against Tennessee, even though it has been outrebounded in every matchup.
Despite Tennessee shooting just 29.3 percent on the afternoon, the Lady Bears were outrebounded 55-42, allowing Tennessee to grab 28 offensive boards while Baylor grabbed only nine.
“We took their best shot,” head coach Kim Mulkey said. “How many games are you going to get outrebounded as much as we did, particularly on the offensive end, and win?”
Defensively the Lady Bears did not have their best effort, swiping the ball only five times, but blocked shots were double that thanks to seven from Griner and three from Madden.
Free throw shooting was almost impeccable for Baylor as 22 points came from the charity stripe at 91.7 percent, missing only two on the afternoon.
Baylor shot just 34.5 percent in the first half but hit 48.4 percent after the break as Griner seemed to relax and compete.
The Tennessee loss snapped a 38-home game winning streak.
The Lady Bears have cleared through ranked competition so far this season.
On Nov. 20, Baylor defeated then No. 2 Notre Dame 94-81 to clinch the preseason Women’s National Invitational Tournament.
Griner scored a double-double with 31 points and 14 boards in that game, earning her MVP honors.
Baylor returns to the Ferrell Center at 7 p.m. Wednesday to take on Texas Southern.