20-point margin streak unprecedented in Big 12 play
By Jeff Latzke
Brittney Griner and top-ranked Baylor aren’t just winning every game they play. They’re making each one a blowout.
Griner had 28 points and 10 rebounds, Kimetria Hayden scored a season-high 20 points and the Bears remained perfect this season by beating Oklahoma State 83-51 on Wednesday night.
The blowouts are nothing new for the Bears (26-0, 13-0 Big 12), who are making an unprecedented rampage through conference play. Each of their last eight wins have come by at least 20 points.
“I thought it was just a good night and everybody should be happy,” coach Kim Mulkey said.
The Bears easily avoided an upset in an arena that’s been unfriendly at times over the years. Baylor had a losing record in Stillwater coming into the game and had teams ranked in the top 5 lose at Oklahoma State twice in the past four years.
Griner made sure there was no chance for history to repeat itself, making 11 of 17 shots and also blocking six on the other end.
Hayden was 6 for 8 from the field and made eight of her nine foul shots, providing only the second 20-point game of her career. The other came against the Cowgirls two years ago in her first career start.
“(Hayden) has just learned through being here three years what’s a good shot, what’s not a good shot — when to attack, when not to attack.” Mulkey said. “I think she’s making better decisions. She’s making better decisions on the offensive end.”
Hayden became Griner’s third teammate to score at least 20 points in a game this season.
“While Brittney gets all the attention— and she should — those other players are outstanding All-Americans and they don’t care,” Mulkey said. “It’s about the ring. It’s not about individual honors. It’s not about how many points you score.
“We’re on a mission and we want to get to a Final Four and win a championship. As you saw tonight, we have many weapons.”
Taylor Schippers led Oklahoma State (13-9, 5-8) with 11 points. Liz Donohoe scored 10 and Tiffany Bias had eight assists while going 1 for 13 from the field. The Cowgirls have lost five of their last six games.
“When you play them, you’ve got to be as close to perfect as possible if you’re going to win or be competitive in the game,” Cowgirls coach Jim Littell said. “I think we did some things that are better than what the score showed up but we didn’t make shots.”
They became the latest victim in Baylor’s impressive monthlong blowout streak.
Only 14 teams have ever won eight straight regular-season Big 12 games and none made it more than halfway to the Bears’ current stretch of 20-point blowouts.
Nebraska (2010) and Oklahoma (2006) had only three wins by that margin during their undefeated runs through Big 12 play. Texas A&M had eight last season on its way to the national title, but never more than three in a row. And when the Bears won it all in 2005, they only beat two Big 12 foes by 20.
“I think somebody’s going to have to really be on their game and I think Baylor’s going to have to be a little off to beat them,” Littell said.
Baylor leads the nation in shooting percentage (48.7) and is second on the defensive end (30.2) in that category.
Against the Cowgirls, the Bears shot 55 percent while holding a 46-16 scoring edge in the paint. They attempted only three 3-pointers — fewer than Oklahoma State tried in its first four possessions.
The Cowgirls ended up making 26 percent and went 6 for 27 from 3-point range.
“Baylor’s a good team, so I don’t really look at the scoreboard just as long as we’re executing plays that coach is calling for us,” Bias said. “We did have some good plays that we ran and we executed well. We just couldn’t hit open shots tonight.”
After Oklahoma State claimed an early 8-6 lead, Griner hit back-to-back jumpers in the lane to launch a 17-2 surge that put the Bears ahead to stay.
Griner added a third jumper with a turnaround shot in the lane later in the run, Odyssey Sims followed with a 3-pointer and Hayden’s jumper in the lane made it 23-10 with 11:52 left in the first half.
The Cowgirls were never again within single digits as Baylor pushed its lead to 17 by halftime and led by at least 20 over the final 14 minutes.