By Betsy Blaney
LUBBOCK — Baylor saw a different offense than Texas Tech has shown all season.
The Lady Raiders had their post players on the perimeter and tried to score by driving to the basket.
The tactic kept the Lady Raiders in the game, but it wasn’t enough as No. 1 Baylor beat No. 17 Texas Tech 72-64 on Wednesday night
“When (Kierra) Mallard is shooting 4 of 18 and she’s their best player, we’ll take that any day,” Lady Bears coach Kim Mulkey said. The Lady Bears’ defense “didn’t look too pretty, but we won.”
Brittney Griner scored 21 points to lead the Lady Bears.
Texas Tech cut the lead to 69-63 when Monique Smalls stole the ball from Odyssey Sims in the backcourt and made a layup with 1:12 remaining.
But Griner, who finished 7 of 16 from the field with eight blocks, hit a short jumper from the left side to put the Lady Bears back up by eight 71-63 and seal the win.
Baylor worked the ball inside to the 6-foot-8 Griner, who was able to pass the ball out or work her way in for easy layups.
Destiny Williams scored 16 points and got a career-high 16 rebounds for Baylor (18-0, 5-0). It was her third straight double double.
“All the attention goes to Griner, and it should, but these are the kids that help you win championships,” Mulkey said of Williams.
Christine Hyde scored 15 points to lead the Lady Raiders (14-3, 2-3), who dropped their third straight conference game.
The Lady Bears used a balanced attack, getting double-digit scoring from three players. They overwhelmed Texas Tech on the boards 42-29. But the Lady Raiders battled to get the ball inside and outscored Baylor in the paint 38-36.
The unbeaten Lady Bears quietly recognize they’ve won every game this season.
“We talk about being undefeated but we don’t talk about it all the time,” Griner said. “We just don’t talk about it constantly. We talk about our opponents more.”
Williams said the win over Texas Tech was good, but it isn’t what the season is about.
“We have a bigger goal and that’s to win a national championship.”
Texas Tech’s defense forced 14 turnovers, but the Lady Raiders got just nine points from them.
Texas Tech coach Kristy Curry said her team didn’t capitalize on Baylor’s turnovers, contrary to what the Lady Raiders have done in earlier games.
“You can’t match basket for basket (with Baylor) and you sure can’t get a stop and not convert,” she said. “You’ve got to convert against those guys to be successful and obviously no one has been able to do that against those guys so far.”
Baylor used a 10-0 run after halftime to lead 47-33, while the Lady Raiders failed to score on eight possessions over five minutes.
The Lady Raiders had just three turnovers in the first half and doubled that in the first three minutes of the second half.
Baylor led 37-31 at halftime, as Griner made her presence known early and often in the first half. Despite having two Lady Raiders draped on and around her, Griner got 11 points and four rebounds in the first half.
Baylor built a lead against Texas Tech, using a 13-2 run late in the half, to go up 36-23. But the Lady Raiders did not relent, finishing the half on an 8-1 run.
The win for Baylor avenged a rare loss for it last season. Texas Tech stunned the Lady Bears in Lubbock 56-45 in February. It was just their second loss at that point and broke Baylor’s 21-game win streak.