No. 17 Kansas unable to stop Griner, No. 1 Baylor
- Article by: KATHLEEN GIER
- Associated Press
- January 13, 2013 - 4:46 PM
LAWRENCE, Kan. - Kansas coach Bonnie Henrickson debuted a new offense before Sunday's game against Baylor.
With the Lady Bears' Brittney Griner in the post and Odyssey Sims up top, the Jayhawks were facing a pick-your-poison scenario. They chose to focus on Sims, and even with the revamped game plan, the outcome was far too familiar.
Griner scored 33 points while playing all 40 minutes, Sims had 14 and top-ranked Baylor rolled over No. 17 Kansas 82-60 for the sixth straight win in the series.
With limited success in the first half, the Jayhawks focused on pulling the Lady Bears' defense out and shooting from the perimeter, abandoning their usual paint-driven offense.
By halftime, Griner already had 22 points.
So in the second half, Kansas reverted to its familiar game plan and tried to match up with her in the lane, and the Jayhawks didn't fare a whole lot better.
"She is a great player, she is going to score," said the Jayhawks' Carolyn Davis. "If you limit some of the other things then you have a chance against them."
CeCe Harper came off the bench to score a career-high 21 points for the Jayhawks (11-4, 2-2 Big 12), who had been unbeaten in nine home games. Angel Goodrich added 16 points and seven assists, and Davis finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Brooklyn Pope finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Lady Bears (14-1, 4-0), who also won their 26th consecutive conference game.
"We had some shots as a ready shooter," Henrickson said. "You have to knock down uncontested shots against these guys, and we all have that challenge, to manufacture points against them."
Griner started her 128th game for Baylor, breaking Sophia Young's school record set from 2002-06. She also surpassed Oklahoma's Courtney Paris for second in Big 12 history with 2,741 points, and now trails only Oklahoma State's Andrea Riley with 2,835 points.
The Lady Bears dominated the first 10 minutes, working the ball around the perimeter and then finding Griner in the post. The 6-foot-8 forward, with at least 5 inches on anybody guarding her, had little trouble turning around and using a soft touch to repeatedly score.
"I like playing here," said Griner, who had a big game at Allen Fieldhouse last year.
She had 14 points as the Lady Bears raced to a 29-13 lead, the team at one point hitting seven consecutive shots. They wound up shooting 55.6 percent from the field in the first half.
Henrickson eventually called a timeout, and the Jayhawks started to do a better job of denying Griner the ball. Davis spent most of the day guarding her, but Kansas would usually collapse a second — and sometimes a third — player to defend the entry pass.
The Jayhawks responded by slowly trimming into the lead.
Harper hit a pair of 3-pointers, Davis scored a couple baskets around the rim and Goodrich hit her second 3 of the half as Kansas whittled the lead to 38-28 with 4:06 left in the half.
Sims answered with two quick baskets, and Griner added two more to end the half.
Griner picked up where she left off after the break, getting an entry pass on the block and turning around for an easy basket. Kimetria Hayden added a layup and Sims hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give Baylor a 53-30 lead and force another Kansas timeout.
Later in the half, tempers flared during an inbound play under the Baylor basket.
The Lady Bears were putting a player directly in front of Griner, trying to give her extra room to catch the inbound pass. But every time they lined up, the Jayhawks tried to wedge Davis between them, creating enough separation to keep Baylor's star from putting up an easy shot.
Baylor coach Kim Mulkey yelled at the officials that the Lady Bears didn't need to give up the real estate on the floor, while Henrickson insisted that Kansas had the right to line up on defense.
"We were trying to get in the stack. One official told us we could, one official told us we couldn't," Henrickson said. "We were just trying to figure it out."
Davis eventually was granted the space, one of the Jayhawks' few victories in the game.
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