Jan. 4, 2012
WACO, Texas (AP) - The top two post players in the Big 12 squared off on Wednesday night and it turned out to be not much of a contest at all.
Brittney Griner scored 14 points--eight below her average--but pulled down nine rebounds and blocked eight shots to lead top-ranked Baylor over Missouri 90-46 in the conference opener for both teams.
Missouri's Christine Flores--who trails only Griner in both scoring and shot blocking in the conference--had 10 points and blocked two shots for the Tigers (10-2, 1-0). She came into the game averaging 21.9 points and four blocks.
"Oh, I mean, she's huge," Flores said of Griner, a preseason All-American. "How tall, 6-7, 6-8? And a wingspan of the whole court. So she's a huge presence. Just her standing in the middle of the paint, you see her, and going at her is a hard thing to do."
Baylor opened the second half on an 18-5 run culminating in a fast-break layup by Sims off an assist from Hayden. Griner blocked two shots--one by Flores and the other from Kyley Simmons--to set up the play.
Odyssey Sims scored 22 for Baylor (14-0, 1-0), which is 14-0 for the first time in school history. Kimetria Hayden scored 14 points, Jordan Madden added 12, Terran Condrey 10, and Destiny Williams grabbed 10 rebounds for the Lady Bears.
BreAnna Brock had 14 points for Missouri (10-2, 0-1), which played its previous eight games at home.
"I think you saw what we're capable of doing when two or three people are hanging on Griner all night," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. "It's a packed zone. She's trying to move in there, I moved her to the high post, put her at the foul line in the second half. I thought she was very patient and didn't get aggravated."
Baylor, the preseason favorite to win the Big 12, opened the game on an 18-3 run with Griner contributing a pair of baskets and Hayden knocking down a 3-pointer and driving for a layup to end the burst. Baylor hit four 3s in the first 9 minutes of the game and led 24-7 with 11:25 remaining before intermission.
Late in the first half, Missouri twice couldn't get a shot off and committed back-to-back shot clock violations.
"You've got the offensive gurus and then you've got those hard-nosed defensive coaches," Mulkey said. "And we've got some tremendous talent on the offensive end. But I tell every one of them when we recruit them, `You're going to play defense. It may take me a while to get me to the point where I need to get you, but you're going to play defense."'
Baylor--which has beaten top 10 teams Notre Dame, Tennessee and Connecticut -- scored 54 points in the paint and 12 off fast breaks.
"Coach just tells me that I'm so quick, so when I get the ball, she tells me to make them run with me," Sims said.
Missouri put together just one scoring run of its own, a 6-0 effort behind Brock and Sydney Crafton, who each hit a pair of free throws to go with a jumper from Flores.
Baylor led 65-39 at that point.
"They've got tremendous athletes, tremendous basketball players," Missouri coach Robin Pingeton said. "They play so well together as a team. It's a very unselfish team, the way they distribute the ball. Defensively, they can make a lot of things happen in a hurry. We don't have the athletes that they do. They're the elite. They're the best of the best."
With substitutes on the floor, Baylor closed the game on a 10-2 run, with Missouri's only points in the final 3 minutes coming on a pair of free throws by Bailey Gee. Missouri made 14 of its 16 free throw attempts, while Baylor was 6 of 8 from the line.
"I thought we did a good job of limiting how many times they went to the free throw line on their end, and we converted on ours," Pingeton said. "I'm really trying to find the positives right now. It's hard, but this is where our program's at right now."
Baylor had the rebounding advantage at 46-30, including 18 on the offensive glass.