Big 12’s second-place team no match for Griner-Sims duo
By Krista Pirtle
As “Big 12” chants echoed through the Ferrell Center, the No. 1 Lady Bears bid adieu to the No. 14 Texas A&M Aggies from Waco, winning 71-48.
“Don’t look at the score,” Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey said, “You stay focused.”
Junior Brittney Griner was four blocks short of a triple double, recording 21 points and 10 boards.
Three other Lady Bears clad in the Nike platinum uniforms scored in double digits as well: sophomore Odyssey Sims with 19 and juniors Nae Nae Hayden and Brooklyn Pope with 10 each.
The Baylor opening video played and Mulkey’s words of a national title rang through the Ferrell Center — audible enough for the defending champs to hear — and the 10,627 in attendance made their presence known, making the Aggies aware of Baylor’s unfinished business.
With the crowd on its feet the Lady Bears scored first on an and-1 basket from Griner and never looked back, going on a 17-2 run. “We didn’t want a repeat of last time,” Griner said.
The second half opened with a 6-0 run by the Aggies but was held off by Baylor. Baylor took advantage of the worst 3-point defensive team in the conference, sinking four behind the arc, three by Sims.
In the paint, however, the Aggies did not seem to have an answer for Griner, or the 18 offensive boards the Lady Bears pulled down. While Texas A&M pulled down 19 offensive rebounds of their own, Baylor won the battle of the boards with 46 total.
Baylor had 44 points in the paint to A&M’s 22 and 17 second-chance points.
The Lady Bears’ defense was as aggressive as ever with six steals and 16 points off turnovers. “You saw why they’re the No. 1 team in the country by their defense,” A&M head coach Gary Blair said.
The Lady Bears will travel to College Station for the final time in the foreseeable future Feb. 27.