Feb. 6, 2012
WACO, Texas (AP) - Baylor and Oklahoma have often played the most anticipated and best games in the Big 12 each season.
Not this year, when Brittney Griner and the top-ranked Lady Bears have made it no contest.
Griner scored 27 points with eight rebounds and eight blocks and Baylor remained undefeated with their second lopsided victory in less than two weeks against the Sooners, winning 81-54 at home Monday night.
Oklahoma's plan to be physical with Griner backfired, with Baylor's 6-foot-8 phenom making all 13 of her free throws. And the Sooners made things even worst when they went nearly 11 minutes after halftime before finally making a field goal.
"We're talking about a team that we have so much respect for," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. "We're talking about great shooters."
Not against the Lady Bears (24-0, 11-0 Big 12), who are beating everybody by big margins.
"They're buying into what we're teaching them on the defensive end of the floor, they're listening to scouting reports, they're making it very difficult for people to score," Mulkey said. "And they're taking pride in that."
By the time Sharane Campbell made a basket with 9:14 left in the game, the Sooners (15-7, 7-4) had missed 16 shots in a row and trailed 68-36. They finished shooting a season-low 27 percent (16 of 60) for the game.
Baylor stretched its home winning streak to 36, this win coming only 11 days after they beat the Sooners 89-58 in Norman.
Odyssey Sims had 14 points and four steals for Baylor, while Brooklyn Pope had 11 points and six rebounds. Destiny Williams had 15 rebounds.
Whitney Hand had 20 points to lead Oklahoma, which had won three in a row since the loss to the Lady Bears. Campbell had 13 points.
"Even at halftime, I didn't feel like we had let anything get away," coach Sherri Coale said. "At halftime, we felt OK. We just knew we had to weather the first four minutes of the second half, and when you go 0-for-16 to start the second half, you're not going to win many games."
Mulkey said it was probably the most physical game of the year for Baylor, which has already defeated the likes of Connecticut, Tennessee and Notre Dame.
Just about every time Griner got the ball under her basket, she was surrounded by Sooners in pink jerseys. All she did was keep making free throws.
"Definitely, I loved it," Griner said.
"She separates herself as a post player because she has become so efficient at the free throw line," Coale said. "That really makes her a handful, even more than she's been in the past."
Griner, whose 13 made free throws were a career best, came out of the game for good with about 11 1/2 minutes left. She had played every minute until then as Baylor built a 64-33 lead.
Her departure came after an active sequence on both ends of the floor.
After Griner had a steal under the Oklahoma basket, she got the ball to Sims, who got the ball back to her going to the other way. Griner made a strong move for a short jumper while being fouled by Joanna McFarland and made the free throw for a 60-33 lead.
Less than a minute later, Kimetria Hayden inbounded from under the basket to Griner in the lane. Griner worked around three defenders to get the layup for a 64-33 lead.
Baylor scored 24 points off 17 Oklahoma turnovers, and outscored the Sooners 42-18 in the paint.
McFarland played for the first time after missing six games because of a broken jaw. Wearing a plastic protective mask over her face, McFarland had nine rebounds but was 0-for-3 shooting with one free throw made in 25 minutes.
Griner got off to a quick start, scoring the first basket of the game. The Sooners then scored seven in a row, going ahead on a 3-pointer by Morgan Hook and leading 7-2 on Hand's jumper.
The Sooners had their last lead when Hand made a jumper with 14 minutes left in the first half to make it 11-9. But Baylor then scored 13 in a row and Oklahoma went more than 6 1/2 minutes without a field goal until Aaryn Ellenberg made a 3-pointer.
"I thought we flustered them in the first half," Hand said. "In that stretch they got going, and when they get going, it goes pretty fast."