|Baylor's head coach Kim Mulkey yells during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Howard in Waco, Texas, Friday, Nov. 11, 2011. (AP Photo/LM Otero)|
Griner 22 points, No. 1 Baylor beats Howard 82-28
WACO, Texas—Brittney Griner had 22 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocked shots as Baylor easily won its first season opener as the No. 1 team, 82-28, over Howard in a preseason WNIT game Friday night.
The Lady Bears scored the game's first 28 points, nine by Griner, the 6-foot-8 phenon who was a unanimous preseason AP All-America selection to start her junior season.
Odyssey Sims added 15 points and four assists.
About the only thing missing for Griner was a dunk, and it appeared that she passed up a chance for the sixth of her college career in the first half. Griner was open underneath the basket and took a step before laying the ball in for a 32-5 lead.
One game into her junior season, Griner has 401 career blocks, only 45 shy of matching the Big 12 record held by Oklahoma's Courtney Paris. Griner was 10-of-13 shooting and played only 26 minutes for her 27th double-double in 73 career games.
The opener was career victory No. 299 for Baylor coach Kim Mulkey, who is in her 12th season at Baylor. The Lady Bears had never won a Big 12 title and were coming off a seven-win season when she arrived.
During pregame, the Lady Bears unveiled three more banners in the rafters -- one each for their Big 12 regular season championship, Big 12 tournament title and making it to another NCAA regional final.
Then before the Baylor starting lineup was introduced, the lights went down and a video played on the screen over midcourt. It was a pre-recorded segment of Mulkey in the locker room with her team, talking about the 34 wins last season being most in school history and then reminding them they didn't get the ultimate prize of a national championship. The coach said it was time to starting finishing what they didn't do last season.
The Lady Bears got off to a big start, though the competition will obviously get much tougher.
They could play No. 2 Notre Dame in the WNIT championship game next weekend, and are already set to play No. 3 Tennessee and No. 4 Connecticut before Christmas. Next is Chattanooga on Sunday at home.
Howard missed its first 15 shots before Nicole Deterville made a jumper while being fouled with 8:51 left in the first half. Her free throw made it 28-3.
Baylor was up 11-0 when Jordan Madden made a 3-pointer off an inbound pass from Sims, who soon after that passed inside to Griner for a basket that made it 15-0. A couple of minutes later, with teammates on the bench counting down the shot clock, Sims passes inside to Pope for a 22-0 lead.
Saadia Doyle, the MEAC player of the year last season as a sophomore, thought she had an inside line to Howard's first basket -- then was blocked by Griner, who then scored at the other end while being fouled and made the free throw that made it 28-0.
It was Baylor's most dominating start since taking a 24-2 lead in the first 8 minutes against Texas State in January 2010. The Lady Bears led that game 47-5 at halftime.
The Lady Bears has a 42-7 lead against Howard, the MEAC tournament runner-up last season during a 16-18 season.
Doyle, who led the MEAC in scoring (18.4 points per game) and was second in rebounding (8.9) last season, finished with five points and five rebounds. Tamoria Holmes led Howard with nine points while making only 4 of 21 shots (0 for 8 on 3-pointers).
Baylor led 1-0 even before the opening tipoff. Howard was assessed a technical foul for not turning in its starting lineup within 10 minutes of the start of the game, and Kimetria Hayden made one of two free throws.