FORT WORTH (AP) – Baylor coach Kim Mulkey knows how intimidating Brittney Griner can be — particularly when Baylor’s center throws down a dunk.
Griner scored 24 points — including a one-handed slam about six minutes in — and added 12 rebounds to lead the No. 2 Lady Bears to a 74-35 win over Big 12 newcomer TCU on Wednesday night in the conference opener for both teams.
“How many times is a fan going to go to a women’s basketball game and get to see a dunk?” Mulkey asked. “She pretty much dunked it … it wasn’t just over the front of the rim. She took one step and, bam, it went down. It just happens so quick with Brittney, sometimes you don’t see it coming.
“It can be intimidating . but you have to have a short-term memory.”
The preseason NCAA player of the year’s dunk energized a team that trailed 7-5 nearly five minutes into the game.
“When I caught it and I saw them both slide over, I was like, `Oh yeah, here it comes,”‘ Griner said. “So I knew I was going to dunk that one.”
Odyssey Sims scored 14 points and Brooklyn Pope added 12 for the Lady Bears (11-1, 1-0), who took control with a 20-0 run in the first half to win their eighth straight game.
Donielle Breaux and Natalie Ventress each scored seven points to lead the Horned Frogs (7-5, 0-1).
TCU shot just 21 percent from the field before 7,394 fans, the largest crowd to see a TCU basketball game — men’s or women’s — in school history.
The Horned Frogs had a 7-5 lead before the Lady Bears rattled off 20 straight points, with all but six of them — including Griner’s dunk with 13:51 to go in the half — coming off turnovers.
“That play gave them a lot of energy,” TCU coach Jeff Mittie said. “Griner’s the only player in the college game that can make that play. . It did snowball from there and it gave Baylor a lot of energy.”
By the time TCU scored again on two free throws by Ventress, Baylor was up 25-7. The Lady Bears built that to 31-9 with Griner’s personal 6-0 run that included a nice putback jumper from the free throw line.
Baylor held TCU without a field goal for nearly 13 minutes, from Ventress’ one-arm toss in the paint to Breaux’s fast-break layup with 2:48 to play before halftime. The Lady Bears led 40-11 at the break and the Frogs couldn’t recover from their poor shooting and turnovers. The Frogs made just 4 of 31 field goals (12.9 percent) in the first half, while Baylor shot 48.5 percent (16-of-33).
TCU’s 11 first-half points tied for their second-fewest in school history.
“This was a kicking; this was a painful lesson,” Mittie said. “We struggled to score and struggled to get any offensive flow whatsoever. Sims controlled us from the start of the game, and our point guards had a really rough night.”
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