LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) —The sad and scary part for Kansas is this was more or less an average night for Brittney Griner.
No. 1 Baylor’s 6-foot-8 star had 22 points — her season average. She blocked five shots, a shade better than her 4.9 average. Only her 15 rebounds were significantly above her norm in a thorough and decisive 76-37 humbling Wednesday night of the overmatched Jayhawks.
“She’s a once-in-a-lifetime kind of player,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said.
The Bears (17-1, 4-0 Big 12) dominated start to finish on a cold, snowy night, scoring the game’s first 11 points and racing to a 30-7 lead with about 9 minutes remaining in a lopsided first half. Freshman Odyssey Sims had 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting for the Lady Bears, whose only loss remains to then-No. 1 Connecticut.
Baylor, running its winning streak to 14 straight, had 55 rebounds to just 25 for Kansas (14-4, 1-3). In its 17 previous outings, the Jayhawks had outrebounded opponents by an average of 8.2 per game.
Carolyn Davis, who came into the game averaging 19.5 points for Kansas, was guarded most of the night by Griner and managed only two points. Her shooting percentage of 67.5 percent had been second in the nation but the 6-3 post player was only 1 for 6.
“When you’re going to the paint and you see 6-8 standing there, wingspan out — it distracts you, it sways you away from the goal,” she said. “Even the baskets where she wasn’t there, it alters your shot and that’s the way she gets people defensively.”
Griner was looking forward to facing Davis.
“I always love going up against a big-time post,” Griner said. “Sometimes that means it’s a lot of one-on-one, so I definitely like the challenge.”
Holding a 76-30 lead with more than 5 minutes left, the Lady Bears pulled their starters.
Keena Mays came off the bench and led Kansas with nine points.
Griner said she’s been working to improve her all-around game.
“The coaching staff has been working with me and just telling me to settle down and think of the move I’m going to make before I get the ball,” said Griner. “Tonight I just did what they said and stopped and thought about where the defense was before I made the move.”
The Bears, led by Griner, outrebounded the shorter Jayhawks 30-10 while seizing a 40-14 halftime lead.
Griner, fouled by Davis, completed a 3-point play for a 28-7 lead. Then Griner blocked a shot and Brooklyn Pope converted a bucket on the other end to cap a 14-0 surge.
The outmanned Jayhawks had only one brief flurry, outscoring Baylor 7-6 in the opening minutes of the second half before the rout resumed. Griner got a layup over Davis, then hit another bucket. Sims scored on a fast break, Melissa Jones got inside for a hoop, then Sims blocked a shot and fed Destiny Williams for another layup and a 52-21 lead with about 14 minutes left. Williams wound up with 12 points.
Griner’s putback made it 54-21 and the Jayhawks were helpless to stop the nation’s No. 1 team. At that point, the rebounds were 38-11 in favor of the Lady Bears. Jones went around Davis for a layup, and Griner made it 60-21 when she jumped above the rim for a layup, capping an intimidating 14-0 spree.
Mays finally scored for Kansas, but Sims came right back with a 3-point bucket.
In their previous game, the Lady Bears mashed Oklahoma State 70-39.
With Griner’s intimidating presence blocking and altering shots, the Lady Bears held Oklahoma State to 25 percent shooting and choked off the Jayhawks on 27 percent.
“People want to say Brittney’s going to change the game, and I take that as a compliment,” said Mulkey, 12-1 lifetime against Kansas.
“But I’m not sure what they mean because there’s not going to be a lot of girls that come along who are built like Brittney that can play above the rim. She dominates the game on the defensive end of the floor as much as she does on the offensive end.”
Monica Engelman had seven points for the Jayhawks, whose previous low score this year was a 56-41 victory over UMKC. The Jayhawks dropped to 0-6 against No. 1 teams.
Updated January 19, 2011
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