No. 1 Baylor 78, TCU 45

Decked out in pink from head to toe, stylish Baylor coach Kim

Mulkey mostly just watched from her signature crouch on the

sideline while Brittney Griner and plenty of reserves put the Lady

Bears on the brink of another Big 12 title.

Griner had 22 points and 10 rebounds in just 23 minutes, No. 1

Baylor held TCU to 26-percent shooting and the Lady Bears clinched

at least a share of the league’s regular season championship with a

78-45 victory on Saturday.

Mulkey didn’t have to say much once Baylor went on a 17-2 run

for a 27-10 lead, which allowed the coach to get at least eight

minutes for every player on the roster with Baylor visiting No. 3

Connecticut on Monday night.

”Was it a game plan to do it because we have a quick turnaround

with Connecticut?” Mulkey said. ”I guess it’s a game plan in

every game, but not every game allows you to do it.”

This one did.

The Lady Bears extended their nation-leading streaks to 53 home

wins, 36 league victories and 22 straight this year while keeping

TCU (7-17, 0-13) without a league win in its first Big 12

season.

Nobody scored in double figures for the Horned Frogs, who were

17 of 65 from the field and 6 of 27 from 3-pointer range. Kamy Cole

led TCU with nine on 3-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc.

”We just had trouble getting off any open looks,” TCU coach

Jeff Mittie said. ”They have a protector at the rim and they guard

the arc very well, and we struggled all day with that.”

Griner spent almost half the game on the bench near Mulkey’s

bright pink pants and high heels on Baylor’s ”Play 4Kay” day in

honor of late N.C. State coach Kay Yow, who died of breast cancer

in 2009.

The Big 12’s career scoring leader had four points on the 17-2

run that included six points from Destiny Williams, who punctuated

the spurt by poking the ball away from Ashley Colbert for a

breakaway layup and a 27-10 lead midway through the first half.

Take away Griner’s 22 points, and the Baylor bench had 32 points

to 24 for the rest of the Baylor starters. Alexis Prince led the

backups with 10.

”Any time the bench can get on the court early and the young

players and freshmen can get valuable minutes in a game, it’s just

going to make us better,” Griner said. ”It’s just good to see

them out there playing.”

Griner extended her double-figure scoring streak to 105 games,

and her block against Donielle Breaux early in the second half gave

her at least one rejection in 74 consecutive games. She had her

55th career double-double and was 11 of 14 from the field as Baylor

(24-1, 14-0) outscored TCU 56-10 in the paint.

Baylor’s lead hovered around 20 early in the second half, and a

crowd anxious for entertainment got excited when Griner, who has an

NCAA-record 13 dunks, ended up with the ball alone under the basket

but had to settle for dropping the ball over the rim for a 45-27

lead.

Many in the crowd were laughing a few minutes later when the

6-foot-8 Griner ended up defending 5-foot TCU guard Meagan Henson

at the top of the key. Henson opted to pass before immediately

getting the ball back and hitting a 3-pointer with Griner a safer

distance away.

”She’s working on her perimeter defense,” Mulkey joked.

”It wasn’t too good,” Griner answered. ”She shot a 3 and made

it.”

Griner started and finished a 14-5 Baylor run in the second half

with a pair of baskets, the latter putting Baylor ahead 65-37 with

8 1/2 minutes to go. Griner went to the bench for good a short time

later.

TCU, playing in pink uniforms with purple letters and numbers,

stayed close for the first 5 minutes thanks to 3-pointers from

freshman Zahna Medley, who was coming off a career-best 35-point

game, and Delisa Gross.

The Horned Frogs were coming off a one-point loss to Kansas in

which they led by as many as 23 before Kansas scored with 14

seconds left in a 76-75 victory.

TCU’s top three scorers – Medley, Cole and Natalie Ventress –

were a combined 6 of 32 from the field against Baylor.

”You could tell there was a lingering effect to that,” Mittie

said. ”I kind of chewed on them pretty good because I felt like we

were still lingering a little bit. I felt like there were times in

this game when we competed better, but we were obviously

overmatched in some spots.”