Griner scores 32 as No. 1 Baylor women beat TexasBy JIM VERTUNO, AP Sports Writer Sunday, Jan 15, 2012
AUSTIN, Texas (AP)—Top-ranked Baylor’s run at perfection is still going strong.
Brittney Griner turned in another dominant performance against the Texas Longhorns on Sunday, tying her season high with 32 points to go with 13 rebounds and three blocks as the Lady Bears stayed unbeaten with an easy 77-59 win.
Griner made 12 of her first 14 shots and Baylor (17-0, 4-0 Big 12) led by 20 by halftime. Baylor used an early 19-0 run to blow the game open.
“She was pretty special today,” said Baylor coach Kim Mulkey, who has seen her 6-foot-8 junior forward put up some big numbers her entire career.
Griner and Baylor have been rolling over teams all season. The Lady Bears have allowed only two opponents, Tennessee and Connecticut, to play them within 10 points and on Sunday easily dispatched a Texas team that had just beaten defending national champion Texas A&M on the road.
Sunday’s win sets up another key Big 12 game Wednesday for Baylor when the Lady Bears play at No. 10 Texas Tech.
Griner could have approached her career-high 40 points, but started giving up shots with passes to teammates in the second half with the game in hand. She dominated the first half, scoring 21—one point below her season average—as Baylor built a 49-29 lead by halftime.
Baylor also got a bonus with forward Destiny Williams setting career highs with 21 points and 14 rebounds. Williams benefitted from the double-team defenses Texas threw at Griner and found herself with several wide open shots at the basket.
Griner made 9 of 11 shots in the first half and Williams pumped in 15 points. The performance was similar to Griner’s effort on Texas’ homecourt last year, when she outscored the Longhorns 23-22 in the first half of a lopsided Baylor victory.
Chassidy Fussell scored 20 points to lead Texas (11-5, 1-3) which stayed in the bottom third of the conference with the loss. The Longhorns never had a chance to match their effort of a few days earlier against No. 12 Texas A&M.
“(Baylor) kicked our tail on the inside,” Texas coach Gail Goestenkors said.
That’s because the Longhorns’ best chance of containing Griner was sitting on the bench with a medical boot on her right leg. Forward Cokie Reed, who gives Texas its strongest muscle under the basket, strained the leg in practice Saturday and school officials announced about an hour before the game she would not play.
Reed’s absence left senior post Ashley Gayle and freshman Nneka Enemkapali to deal with Griner. Both are tall and long, but Gayle picked up three fouls in the first 13 minutes and Enemkapali looked nervous, failing to even hit the rim when a defensive switch left her with an uncontested layup in the early going.
Reed, who missed all of last season after foot surgery, has missed the last three games against Baylor, all Texas losses.
Griner shrugged off Texas’ matchup problems.
“I just kept doing what I had to keep doing regardless of who was on the court,” Griner said. “It’s just the way the game goes.”
Mulkey said Reed’s absence didn’t change Baylor’s offensive game plan, which always starts with getting the ball to Griner.
“We didn’t know Cokie was going to be out until we got over here … (But) nothing changed for us. We’re going to run our offense,” Mulkey said.
Griner scored 10 in the 19-0 run that all but settled the game in the first half. The Longhorns pulled back within 11 when Fussell made consecutive 3-pointers before Baylor closed the first half with a 9-1 burst.
Gayle, who scored 17 in Texas’ win over Texas A&M, picked up her fourth foul just 51 seconds in to the second half. She finished with 12 points and was never a factor against Baylor.
Baylor scored 58 points in the paint and held Texas to just 33 percent shooting.
“That was rough for us,” Goestenkors said. “We’re better than we showed today.”