Texas Southern women lose 91-39 at No. 1 Baylor
WACO, Texas—With a roster comprised of mainly freshmen, Texas Southern never had a chance in its first game outside Houston.
Not against top-ranked Baylor, especially when the already overmatched and undersized Lady Tigers kept giving the ball away in a 91-39 loss Wednesday night.
Brittney Griner had 23 points and 14 rebounds while playing only 22 minutes for the Lady Bears (7-0), who forced 31 turnovers that they converted into 43 points -- four more than Texas Southern scored the entire game.
"It was speed, their athleticism. Some of it, especially in the first half, most of it was self-inflicted," Texas Southern coach Yolanda Wells-Broughton said. "Their defense, there's just so much pressure on the wings, they're overplaying us and we were making freshman mistakes and youthful mistakes, passing to a spot and not to the man. It caught up with us."
The Lady Tigers (1-4) started three freshmen. Their 15-player roster includes 10 freshmen among 13 newcomers who weren't around for Texas Southern's 100-43 loss at Baylor last season.
Kiara Taylor, a 5-foot-4 freshman, led Texas Southern with 12 points on four 3-pointers.
"I'm extremely proud because they competed. They competed for 40 minutes. They never backed down. They knew the task that was ahead of them and could have easily folded as a young team," Wells-Broughton said. "Giving all credit to Baylor -- they're the No. 1 team in the country for a reason."
Six of Texas Southern's players were listed at 5-foot-6 or shorter. The shortest Baylor player is 5-7 guard Terran Condrey.
Three days after a 76-67 win at eighth-ranked Tennessee, already their third victory over a Top 25 opponent this season, the Lady Bears scored the first 12 points of the game and built a 20-point lead within 8 minutes.
Their focus wasn't on the scoreboard, or even the opponent.
"Just an opportunity to come home after a big victory and just play," coach Kim Mulkey said. "Everybody should feel good about themselves. Everybody got to play."
Griner's fifth double-double this season came as Baylor stretched its home winning streak to 27 games. Odyssey Sims had 19 points, nine assists and a career-high eight steals in 24 minutes. Brooklyn Pope and Kimetria Hayden had 13 points apiece.
"Odyssey came to play, and it's good when your point guard comes to play. And you hope that it spreads to the rest of them," Mulkey said.
It was the 30th double-double in 79 career games for Griner, the 6-foot-8 junior phenom who was a unanimous preseason AP All-America pick this season. She made eight of 14 field goals and seven of eight free throws.
The Lady Bears have won their six home games by an average of nearly 44 points. All have been by at least 33 points except a 94-81 win over then-No. 2 Notre Dame on Nov. 20.
Mulkey had her team working on several different press defenses, often with the coach uncharacteristically sitting on the bench and watching.
"You try to do what she asks us to do, without her having to ask us to do it," Pope said. "It's kind of like a pop quiz, preparing us for the test of when we play someone a little bit tougher."
The best stretch for the Lady Tigers came when they had an 8-1 run over nearly 4 1/2 minutes in the first half. Crystal Anyiam's jumper cut the deficit to 27-12 before Baylor scored six points in a row in only a minute.
Anyiam had 10 points and eight rebounds in 21 minutes before fouling out with 9:23 left.
Texas Southern missed its first five shots before Kayla West had a steal and passed ahead to Morgan Simmons for a layup 4 1/2 minutes into the game.