Dec. 5, 2010
WACO, Texas - Second-ranked Baylor now has an extended break for exams before its next big test on the court.
Heading into the time off, the Lady Bears are feeling pretty good.
Brittney Griner had 22 points and six rebounds to lead Baylor to a 103-56 victory over Minnesota on Sunday.
The Lady Bears (9-1) improved to 9-0 at home this season, including six consecutive victories since their one-point loss at top-ranked Connecticut. They will host ninth-ranked Tennessee in their next game on Dec. 14.
"I'll say this, I thought we were ready to play today. I just liked the mindset of our team the last two days of practice," coach Kim Mulkey said. "They were enjoyable to coach in practice. ... Let's see if they can focus on their finals, but also come for a couple hours every day and give me what they gave me these last three days."
Baylor and Minnesota (5-4) met for the first time since playing in the NCAA tournament in 2005. The Lady Bears also won that game on way to their national championship.
On the way to another NCAA Final Four last season, the Lady Bears defeated Tennessee in the round of 16. The Lady Vols had defeated Baylor in the 2009-10 season opener, Griner's collegiate debut.
Against the Golden Gophers, Griner also had four assists and blocked three shots.
"They're an extremely tough team to defend when you've got the best center to ever play college basketball here," Minnesota coach Pam Borton said. "We don't have a post player that can attack inside the lane."
Leah Cotton led Minnesota with 20 points. China Antoine had 14 and Kiara Buford finished with 12.
"We've got some shooters, but for our post players to have the ability to put the ball down from the elbow (against Griner) or even from the free-throw line, we don't have those types of kids yet, or their skills aren't developed into that sense," Borton said.
The Lady Bears have won 42 consecutive non-conference home games heading into the matchup with the Lady Volunteers.
Hayden made two 3-pointers and a layup as Baylor opened a 14-7 lead. The Lady Bears then went on an 11-0 run during which Griner had six points and an assist on Brooklyn Pope's 3-pointer.
"I thought we passed the ball that extra pass today," Griner said. "There was a lot of ball reversal. I thought we were looking for each other."
Baylor made 11 3-pointers. Hayden and Sims had three 3s apiece.
"Yeah, when (Hayden) and Odyssey and them hit 3s like that, it really helps me out, because it makes them go out and guard them," Griner said. "And it gives me a little more room to move around and post up."
The Gophers were outscored 34-12 in the paint. Minnesota scored inside only twice in the first half, once on a short jumper by Buford when Griner was taking a breather on the bench.
Baylor had only five turnovers while converting 19 miscues by Minnesota into 35 points.
Griner almost had her first dunk of the season when she went up with 9 1/2 minutes left in the game. But the ball came out of her hand and bounced into the net, making it 81-35. She had four dunks last season as a freshman.