Feb. 12, 2011
WACO, Texas (AP) - The only shot Brittney Griner missed before halftime was a dunk when the ball didn't quite get over the rim. Baylor's 6-foot-8 sophomore sensation still scored on the play, grabbing the miss for a putback.
That was part of an incredible start for Griner, who outscored Texas on her own in the first half while helping the top-ranked Baylor Lady Bears to a big lead on way to their 20th straight victory, 96-68 Saturday.
Even without playing the final 10 minutes of the game, Griner finished with 29 points and 12 rebounds for her 23rd career double-double. She made 9 of 11 shots and all 11 free throws while blocking seven shots.
"She must have had memories of what happened in Austin," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. "Because she was not very good in Austin. She missed many shots there and we watched film. She got the ball in the right spots today. ... She was special."
Griner had 27 points and 10 rebounds while playing the whole game last month at Texas, but shot only 38 percent (9 of 24) -- her worst since the opening weekend of the season.
"I just was feeling it," Griner said after Saturday's game.
The Lady Bears (23-1, 10-0 Big 12) were in control by halftime with a 50-22 lead. Griner already had 23 points, making 8 of 9 shots and all seven free throws to go with seven rebounds and six blocks.
Texas (16-8, 5-5) had won five in a row.
"Just a really impressive performance on both ends of the floor for them, and really from everybody. ... Obviously, Griner, we couldn't do anything with her," Texas coach Gail Goestenkors said. "We got beat in every way, shape and form in this game. Inside and outside, their penetration, their transitions. I told Kim after the game, if y'all play like this, you'll win it all."
Baylor has won 20 consecutive games in the same season for the first time since their national championship season of 2004-05. That was part of a school-record 30 in a row that included the first 10 games in 2005-06.
Melissa Jones, Baylor's only senior starter, had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman Odyssey Sims had 14 points and six assists.
Ashleigh Fontenette led Texas with 23 points and Chassidy Fussell had 11 on 4-of-17 shooting.
Baylor has a quick turnaround with a home game Monday night against Texas A&M (No. 5 ESPN/USA Today, No. 6 AP). When the teams played two weeks ago in College Station, the Lady Bears won 63-60 -- the only time they have won by fewer than 11 points. Their only loss was by one point at then-No. 1 Connecticut, the two-time defending national champion, the first week of the season.
Monday's game was part of why Griner was out of the game so early, to a raucous ovation from the sellout crowd of 10,295. Jones played only a couple of minutes, long enough to get her 10th rebound and a double-double of her own.
Griner, who had four dunks last season, had the ball on the baseline midway through the first half when she tried to go up from basically a standing position for a one-handed dunk. Her putback after the miss made it 20-12.
That was one of Griner's three rebounds in a 46-second span, and part of a 38-10 run by Baylor to end the first half after the game was tied for the only time at 12.
Texas tied the game at 12 with 13:50 left in the first half when Kristen Nash made a spin move around defenders in the lane for a short basket.
Sims then had a steal, driving for a layup and making a free throw after being fouled on the play. Griner's short turnaround jumper made it 18-12.
"They just kept going inside to Griner and she was pretty unstoppable," Goestenkors said.
Baylor pushed the lead to more than 20 points for the first time when Jones had an assist on Griner's short baseline turnaround jumper that made it 37-16 with just under 5 minutes left in the first half.
At the end of the half, Griner came out of a crowd with a defensive rebound. She palmed the ball in her right hand and held it high over her head as Baylor called timeout to set up a final play.
Jones missed a 3-pointer from the right corner, but the ball ricocheted off the rim to Griner, who hit the jumper as the buzzer sounded.
"I know I played a good first half, just trying to help out my team," Griner said when asked if it was her best game.
When she was seemingly unsure what to say after that, her coach finished the answer.
"I hope it's not her best game," Mulkey said. "Let's answer like that. I hope that wasn't her best game."