By Parmida Schahhossein
In front of a sellout crowd of 10,419, senior center Brittney Griner eclipsed the NCAA record of blocked shots with her eight blocks as the No. 1 Baylor Lady Bears defeated No. 20 Oklahoma 82-65 on Saturday at the Ferrell Center.
Baylor improved its Big 12 record to 8-0 and its overall record to 18-1 with the win. Griner fouled out of the game with 5:14 remaining. She had with 15 points, eight rebounds and eight blocked shots.
Junior guard Odyssey Sims had a double-double with 12 points and 10 assists. Senior forward Destiny Williams contributed off the bench with 12 points and 10 rebounds. The team unselfish play is the reason for their success. As a group, the Lady Bears recorded 25 assists on the game.
Baylor shot 60.3 percent from the field and had 6 players in double figures, but it did have trouble with foul shooting and the 3-point defense.
“We missed 14 free throws, that’s unacceptable,” head coach Kim Mulkey said. “Then they made a lot of threes, and although it was a 17 point ball game and to me, those two areas were big.”
Oklahoma’s Aaryn Ellenberg started the game with a 3-point jumper in the opening seconds, but senior guard Jordan Madden responded with a 2-point jumper after an Oklahoma turnover. Oklahoma and Baylor traded baskets until the 15:52 mark when Baylor went on a 12-0 run.
With an even score, Baylor responded when Hayden made a spin move and drove the ball in for a 2-point jumper. Several seconds later Sims got a steal, which lead to a Hayden 2-point jumper after Baylor had two offensive rebounds.
After exchanging turnovers, Sims got a steal and gave the ball to Pope for another 2-point jump shot. After that, Baylor got the ball back after Oklahoma was charged with a shot clock violation.
Pope scored yet another 2-point jumper as Baylor led Oklahoma 22-10, leaving them scoreless for approximately 5 minutes. Oklahoma ended the drought when Oklahoma’s Portia Durrett made a layup.
Oklahoma, who is ranked forth in 3-point shooting percentage at 38.8 percent, scored seven 3-point shots in the first half. Their 3-point percentage in the first half was 46.7 percent, kept the game tight.
However, in the second half Baylor started to pull away with a 13-0 run during the 11:12 mark. Freshman guard Alexis Prince making three 2-point scores. Williams and Madden responded with layups of their own.
“Rebounding was the key thing in terms of we got a few offensive rebounds they gave us a few extra positions ” Oklahoma head coach Sherri Coale said.
After Griner fouled out, the team responded with Sims making a 3-point jumper. Freshman post Kristina Higgins made a 2-point jumper shortly after. The defense also responded with Pope blocking a shot with 2:28 remaining.
Baylor’s 12 blocks, which is a new season-high, helped the defense slow down Oklahoma. Griner’s takes pride in blocking and making her presence felt.
“Blocks keep the other team from scoring. That’s just how I look at it.” Griner said.
Oklahoma only shot 4-11 from the 3-point line and 9-35 from the field in the second half as opposed to 7-15 from the arc in the first half. They played tough and physical defense.
“I’m used to playing a physical game. It’s not like a fear,“ Oklahoma’s Joanna McFarland said. “If she goes hard on me, I’ve got to go hard back, it’s a mutual thing.”
The No. 1 Lady Bears play at Texas Tech at 8 p.m. on Wednesday as they try to extend the nation’s longest winning streak at 17 games.