Griner dunk sets off Baylor 74-35 rout of TCU in Big 12 opener
FORT WORTH, Texas – In their first meeting in 17 years, No. 2 Baylor and TCU started out their matchup with a few ties and the appearance that the Horned Frogs would be able to prove their mettle in their first outing as a member of the Big 12. However, about seven minutes into the game, with Baylor leading 9-7, Brittney Griner dunked, hyping her team and deflating TCU in the 74-35 loss in front of a sold out crowd.
Griner said when she caught the ball she knew the slam was on the way.
“Oh yeah, here it comes,” she said. “ I knew that one was coming. I don’t think I was moving around enough before the dunk. This was probably my second ranked dunk in my career. I am used to dunking, so I don’t really think about it, but tonight I did.”
It was the senior center’s ninth career dunk. In her mind though, it ranks second to her all-time best dunks behind one during her sophomore year from a pass thrown by former Lady Bear Melissa Jones. That dunk occurred on this day three years ago in Waco against Texas State. She dunked twice in that game and became only the second player to dunk more than once in a women’s college game.
Tonight’s dunk began a 16-0 run that culminated in TCU matching their second lowest halftime outpoint in program history. At the break the Lady Bears led 40-11.
“We struggled to score and get any offensive flow whatsoever,” said TCU head coach Jeff Mittie. “It was really tough. (Odyssey) Sims obviously controlled us from the beginning of the game. She gave our point guards a hard time and if our point guards are struggling you are going to have games like this.”
He praised Baylor’s players and cohesiveness
“I think when you look at their basketball team you can see why they went 40-0 last year,” said Mittie. “They have all the pieces. They are all veterans, have the best player in the country, have arguably the best point guard in the country and they are very disciplined with what they do. I knew our young group had not faced anything like that. We knew were going to have to hit some three’s, but you’re going to have to make a few.”
During the second half TCU did not fare any better and did not score until four minutes into the period when freshman guard Kamy Cole drained a trey.
Griner finished with 24 points plus 12 rebounds. Sims scored 14 points and dished out five assists. Brooklyn Pope contributed 12 points plus nine rebounds.
Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said her team will learn from this game even though it was a rout.
“We don’t look at the scoreboard,” she said. “You get better by continuing to teach. It’s really it’s not about the offense. I’m looking at things on the defensive end of the floor….I never leave a game and think that there’s not a teaching moment.”
Baylor fans packed the house Wednesday as the majority of attendees wore green and gold.
“I thought the crowd was outstanding and I think TCU will find this to be true in this league,” said Mulkey. “You don’t lead the country in fan attendance in women’s basketball as good as you do in the Big 12. I thought our fans turned out. I thought we did fine and I thought we saw more zone tonight than other games. You are always worried when you go on the road. I thought the environment and crowd was good and our kids responded.”
The 7,394 in attendance marked the largest crowd in Daniel-Meyer history for either a men’s or women’s game. It also 7,394 broke the previous school record of 7,262, which was set against Tennessee in 2000.