Griner leads No. 1 women to easy win over McNeese

No. 0 guard Odyssey Sims drives by McNeese State No. 21 forward Kendra Wells and Raiyawna Gatlin, rear, in the second half of the game Wednesday, Dec. 21, in Waco. Baylor won 90-50.
Tony Gutierrez | Associated Press

By The Associated Press

WACO — Brittney Griner was in a giving mood, getting her teammates involved in an easy rout of McNeese State.

Griner had 15 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks in just 24 minutes to help top-ranked Baylor beat McNeese State 90-50 on Wednesday night. The Lady Bears had six players in double figures.

“When you have six players, almost seven, in double figures you’re going to beat a lot of teams,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “I thought Brittney was very unselfish. There were many times she caught it early in our offense and could have been aggressive to the rim, and she chose to pass it out.”

Freshman Sune Agbuke also had a double-double with 10 points and 15 rebounds for Baylor (12-0). It was a career high in both categories for her as well as minutes played — 20.

“I appreciate the opportunity (Mulkey) gave us. Just to go out there and play that much was a lot of fun,” said the freshman from San Antonio.

Mulkey said that Agbuke’s playing time is limited simply because of who she’s playing behind.

“All Sune needs is minutes,” Mulkey said. “She’s caught in a numbers thing right here, but what better player to learn from than Griner every day? Sune is a big-time player. It may not surface right now at a young age, but I’m telling you the kid can flat-out play. She just got in a rhythm tonight, and that’s what minutes will do for you. She got comfortable out there.”

Odyssey Sims had 16, Kimetria Hayden 15, Destiny Williams 13 points and Ashley Field scored 10.

Caitlyn Baggett scored 18 for McNeese (9-3), which was picked to repeat as Southland Conference champions in a preseason media poll.

After nine blocks in Baylor’s 66-61 win over Connecticut on Sunday, Griner has blocked 455 shots, a Big 12 record. She was presented with a ceremonial game ball before tipoff marking the accomplishment.

Baylor showed a little rust from its win over Connecticut. They had four turnovers in the first two minutes and only led 12-6 early on when Griner picked up her second foul. The Lady Bears then went on a 12-4 run to take command of the game. They led 46-24 at the half despite committing 15 turnovers. Baylor finished with 23 turnovers, markedly more than its average of 14 a game.

Mulkey credited Baylor’s opponent for causing those turnovers.

“They were constantly trapping on-ball stuff and made us look bad,” she said. “Look, we had 23 turnovers. That was terrible. At half, we had too many turnovers. And you can say, ‘Well, we were ready for the Christmas break, and we weren’t focused and Brooklyn (Pope) didn’t play. ‘You can say all those things, but give credit to McNeese. They created those turnovers.”

Pope, who has started six games for Baylor this season, sat out the contest with a bruised heel.

McNeese State made eight of its 33 field goal attempts (24 percent) in the first period, and made six of its 31 3-point attempts (19 percent) in the game.

“It is definitely our strength for every game,” McNeese State coach Brooks Donald Williams said of the Cowgirls’ long-range strategy. “That’s the strength of our team. We’re a penetrate-kick team. We’ve got great shooters on our roster. It was an emphasis tonight. We certainly wanted to get it out on the perimeter and be ready to shoot given any opportunity.”

With the game pretty much over, the loudest ovation of the second half came during a timeout when Heisman trophy winner Robert Griffin III made an appearance and spent a few minutes talking with Baylor president Ken Starr, his wife Alice and others near the Starr’s front row seats.

“I saw him sitting behind the bench,” Mulkey said, “and when I was in the huddle, I just kind of gave him that Heisman pose, and he kind of laughed. So I wanted to hug him, because I heard on the radio on the way in that he got AP Player of the Year as well. I just wanted him to thank him for being a great ambassador for Baylor University.”