No. 1 Baylor 76, No. 6 Tennessee 67
With Tennessee playing strong defense, Brittney Griner realized
just her presence on the court wouldn’t be enough for Baylor to win
So the preseason All-America focused just a little harder, and
Griner scored 17 of her 26 points in the second half as the
top-ranked Lady Bears pulled out a 76-67 win against the No. 6 Lady
”I was just listening to my coaches and getting on myself, `Get
deep, get deep, get the ball and go up strong,”’ Griner said.
Baylor entered the game averaging 53.8 rebounds per contest, but
Tennessee outmanned the Lady Bears on the glass 55-42. The second
chances weren’t enough with the Lady Vols shooting just 29.3
Baylor has beaten Tennessee in three consecutive seasons now,
despite the Lady Vols holding the rebounding advantage in each of
”We took their 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?”
Tennessee took a 39-31 lead on Glory Johnson’s free throw with
17:39 left, but Griner had a pair of layups in an 11-2 run for the
Lady Bears. The second gave Baylor a 42-41 lead with 15 minutes
Baylor (6-0) shot just 34.5 percent in the first half but hit
48.4 percent after the break as Griner fought her way to the basket
more. With every made layup, Griner seemed to relax a little more,
and a layup by Griner with 8:32 to play gave Baylor its ultimate
The Lady Vols tried doubling up on Griner at times, which only
opened up opportunities for Sims and Madden. Sims hit a 3-pointer
with 7:30 to go, and Madden had a trey of her own with 6:21 to play
that gave Baylor a 59-55 lead.
Tennessee (2-2) pulled within four points off a pair of free
throws by Johnson with 2:03 left but would get no closer. On
Baylor’s next possession, Griner took an in-bound pass with 2
seconds on the shot clock and cleanly sank a jumper from the free
throw line at the buzzer for a 67-61 lead with 1:32 left.
Odyssey Sims added 23 points and Jordan Madden had 11 points for
the Lady Bears, who also beat then-No. 2 Notre Dame on Nov. 20.
They’ve got a Dec. 18 meeting with current No. 2 Connecticut.
”Baylor is a great team, and I don’t think we’ll see one any
better,” Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said.
Shekinna Stricklen, Griner’s fellow All-America, led the Lady
Vols with 25 points and 12 rebounds and Baugh added 17 points and
10 rebounds. Taber Spani added 10 points, and Glory Johnson grabbed
The loss was the Lady Vols’ 21st on their home court since
moving to Thompson-Boling Arena in 1987. It ended a 38-game home
winning streak – their third longest – dating back to a Feb. 16,
2009, loss to Duke.
Baylor led by as many as eight points in the first half thanks
to 10 of 11 shooting from the free-throw line. Tennessee found its
way to the charity stripe too while fighting for points in the
lane, and a pair of free throws and a 3-point shot by Stricklen
helped erase the Lady Bears’ lead.
Another 3-pointer by Stricklen with 5:51 in the first half
knotted the score at 22 points, and Tennessee controlled the game
through the rest of the half by taking charge of the boards.
”I tried to challenge myself in the past three games and come
out with energy,” Stricklen said. ”That’s something that I think
I can bring for the team. We just came out strong, and we just had
a good first half.”
The matchup was dubbed a ”We Back Pat” game in support of
Summitt, who announced in August she had been diagnosed with early
onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type.
Both teams wore purple shirts that said ”We Back Pat” while
warming up, and Tennessee presented $75,000 checks from the
proceeds of T-shirt sales to Alzheimer’s Tennessee and the UT
Medical Center for Alzheimer’s research, treatment and education
Summitt and son Tyler Summitt also announced at halftime they
had created the Pat Summitt Foundation to further raise money for