Griner leads charge with 33 as Lady Bears roll Kansas, 82-60

Brittney Griner, Carolyn Davis
Associated Press

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Baylor’s first Big 12 road trip of the year outside Texas couldn’t break the Lady Bears‘ metronomic streak of blowouts.

The No. 1 Lady Bears blasted No. 17 Kansas, 82-60, at Allen Fieldhouse Sunday to continue their roll through the Big 12. Brittney Griner had 33 points and seven rebounds and played all 40 minutes in a game for the first time this season. Baylor shot 56 percent in the first half and led by double digits for all but the game’s opening minutes.

The win vaulted the Lady Bears (14-1, 4-0) back to the top of the Big 12 for a share of the lead with fellow 4-0 Oklahoma. Baylor still has three Big 12 games before hosting the Sooners on Jan. 26.

“I thought we won a game where they changed their offense somewhat, and they played a defense that we had seen before; a great crowd,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “And these seniors can leave Lawrence and say that they won their last game in Lawrence in a phenomenal building with a great history in basketball.”

Baylor opened the game with one of its trademark fast starts, outscoring Kansas, 19-5, in the game’s opening minutes. Baylor had a 31-13 lead just 11 minutes into the game.

Baylor kept its comfortable edge until Kansas (11-4, 2-2) mounted its only real push with about four minutes left in the first half. Carolyn Davis and Charlicia Harper hit back-to-back buckets to cut the Lady Bears‘ lead to 38-28 and force Mulkey to burn a timeout 4:06 before the half.

The tactic worked. Odyssey Sims and Griner combined to outscore Kansas, 8-2, over the final four minutes of the half to send the Lady Bears into the locker room with a 46-30 edge.

The Lady Bears kept it rolling to start the second half. An 8-0 run in the first four minutes gave Baylor a 24-point lead, its largest of the afternoon, and essentially closed the door on Kansas. Baylor’s lead was so well constructed that by the time Kansas started making shots later in the second half, the Jayhawks still struggled to cut the deficit any closer than 20.

“They had an offense where they were keeping everybody out and weaving, so it was kind of hard to go over the screens,” Sims said. “And when they’re getting the ball, they’re getting it on the catch and on the run. I think we just need to do a better job of communicating, and we’ll be fine.”

Brooklyn Pope had 13 points and 11 rebounds and Sims chipped in with 14 points. Harper paced Kansas with 21 points off the bench, while springy point guard Angel Goodrich had 16 points and seven assists. Davis finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Baylor’s size rerouted Kansas’ game plan toward more deep shots, and the strategy bit the Jayhawks. They were 4-of-14 from deep in the first half, a total that eclipsed their game average by halftime. Davis, Kansas’ recuperating linchpin at forward, rarely got much inside, and Kansas was out-rebounded 46-33. Harper hit three of Kansas’ six 3-pointers, but the Jayhawks took 24 for an clip of 25 percent.

The Lady Bears gladly stepped into the void with their grinding post game and relentless defense. Davis didn’t get her first points until nine minutes into the game, while Goodrich was held to just six points in the second half.