Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

College Sports

March 3, 2013

Griner excels for Baylor in front of record WVU crowd

MORGANTOWN — Brittney Griner recorded her first triple-double in more than two years and top-ranked Baylor built a big early lead in defeating West Virginia 80-49 on Saturday night.

The largest crowd ever for a women’s game at West Virginia saw Griner finish with 28 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocked shots. It was her fifth career triple-double, but the first since November 2010.

In the earlier meeting this season in Waco, Texas, Griner finished one blocked shot shy of a triple-double.

Baylor (28-1, 17-0 Big 12) never trailed. The Lady Bears scored the first 14 points of the game and built a 38-22 halftime lead.

Odyssey Sims added 10 points for Baylor.

Christal Caldwell led West Virginia (17-11, 9-8) with 14 points.

Despite falling behind by as many as 20 points in the first half, West Virginia trimmed the deficit to single digits. A 10-2 run, capped by Alicia Caldwell’s basket, brought the Mountaineers within 42-34 with 17:27 left in the game. That’s as close as West Virginia got.

Just as quickly, Baylor pulled away. Griner’s jumper started a 15-3 run that put the Lady Bears ahead 57-37 with 12:27 remaining.

Griner’s rebound with 5:22 left gave her the triple double, and her ensuing basket gave Baylor a 70-44 lead.

West Virginia had hoped to get Griner into foul trouble, but she didn’t pick up her third foul until there was 5:38 left in the game and she went to the bench for good a short time later.

West Virginia tied its lowest point total of the season. The Mountaineers attempted 21 more field goals than Baylor but shot just 22.5 percent from the floor. West Virginia had hoped somehow to keep pace with the nation’s second-best scoring offense by moving center Ayana Dunning, who is 5 inches shorter than Griner, to the outside. But Dunning, in her final home game, made 2 of 7 3-point tries and finished with nine points.

Griner got off to a slow start by her standards, but Baylor didn’t.

While West Virginia missed its first seven shots, Baylor took control from the opening tip and raced to a 38-22 halftime lead.

Griner did score the game’s first basket, then didn’t score again until the 12:38 mark. She had 16 points, four rebounds and four blocks by halftime, then turned up the tempo on defense in the second half.

A record crowd of 13,447 watched the Mountaineers fall to 0-5 all-time against top-ranked teams at home. It broke the previous mark of 8,307 set against DePaul in 2008. West Virginia entered the game with the lowest average home attendance in the Big 12 at 1,894.

West Virginia saw its three-game winning streak snapped.

On Monday night, Baylor will try to become the first Big 12 school to finish undefeated in conference play twice, having done it last season. The Lady Bears will take a 26-game winning streak into their regular-season finale. The Big 12 tournament is next weekend.

*****

BAYLOR (28-1)

Pope 3-5 3-3 9, Griner 11-17 6-8 28, Sims 1-5 8-9 10,  Hayden 3-5 0-0 6, Madden 2-4 0-0 4, Johnson 1-2 5-6 7,  Williams 2-3 0-2 4, Chandler 0-0 0-0 0, Prince 3-7 0-0 6,  Fuqua’ 0-0 0-0 0, Robertson 1-1 0-0 3, Agbuke 0-0 1-2 1,  Higgins 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 28-50 23-30 80.

WEST VIRGINIA (17-11)

Fields 1-3 1-2 3, Dunning 3-15 1-1 9, Caldwell 4-16 5-6 14,  Palmer 2-8 0-0 5, Stepney 1-4 0-0 3, Hampton 0-0 0-0 0, Faulk 0-2 0-0 0,  Harlee 2-4 3-5 7, Holmes 3-16 0-0 6, Leary 0-3 2-3 2. Totals 16-71 12-17 49.

Halftime—Baylor 38-22. 3-Point Goals—Baylor 1-3 (Robertson 1-1, Sims  0-2), West Virginia 5-24 (Dunning 2-7, Stepney 1-1, Caldwell 1-4, Palmer  1-6, Harlee 0-1, Holmes 0-5). Fouled Out—Harlee. Rebounds—Baylor 48  (Griner 10), West Virginia 37 (Stepney 6). Assists—Baylor 17 (Sims 5),  West Virginia 4 (Dunning, Faulk, Holmes, Palmer 1). Total Fouls—Baylor  15, West Virginia 22. A—13,447.

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