Brittney Griner Came Alive In The Second Half And No. 1 Baylor Beats The No. 6 Tennessee On Sunday.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (Sporting Alert) — She was expected to score points, but Baylor and Brittney Grinerhad to be patient in the first half and then lift the intensity in the second and the Bears reward was 76-67 win against No. 6 Tennessee.
Coming out after the interval with her team trailing the hosts 33-31, Griner scored 17 of her 26 points in the second half and the top-ranked Baylor overcame the strong defense of the Lady Volunteers to seal the victory.
Griner also finished the game with six rebounds and seven block shots.
“I needed to help my team. I felt like I didn’t do what I needed to do in the first half, and I knew that in the second half I needed to step up and do whatever I could to help my team out,” Griner said.
“I was just listening to my coaches and getting on myself, `Get deep. Get deep. Get the ball, and go up strong.’ They were doing a great job on getting me the ball.”
Odyssey Sims also had an all-round performance of 23 points nine assists, eight rebounds and two steals in her outing, while Jordan Madden finished with 11 points and seven rebounds for Baylor (6-0).
“We took Tennessee best shot,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “How many games are you going to get outrebounded as much as we did, particularly on the offensive end, and win? In fact I think the last time we got outrebounded, we lost.”
Shekinna Stricklen finished with a double-double 25 points and 12 rebounds for Tennessee (2-2). Vicki Baugh had 17 points and 10 rebounds in the defeat.
Even with a defeat, head coach Pat Summitt was happy with the way her team performed against “a great” Baylor side.
“First, I`d like to say I was proud of how hard our team played today. We didn’t come out with a win, but I saw us do some really good things. This is a game we can certainly grow and learn from, and we will,” Summitt said.
“Baylor is a great team, and I don’t think we’ll see one any better. They present so many challenges with their inside-out game and a great back court. Baylor flat-out knocks down shots. That is such a great strength for them.”
Summitt also comment on the performance of Griner.
“Obviously Brittney Griner is a tremendous player. She has advanced her game and improved her skill set,” she said.
“I felt like we did a nice job on her in the first half limiting her to just nine points and nine shots. We had some really good box outs, and I think we affected her a little bit.
“We knew that Kim (Mulkey) would make sure she got more touches in the second half, and she went eight-for-10.”
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