LAWRENCE, Kan. — Baylor coach Kim Mulkey had a simple reason for keeping Brittney Griner, the reigning player of the year, on the floor in the waning minutes of a blowout win over Kansas.
“I didn’t recruit her to sit,” Mulkey said matter-of-factly.
Besides, it wasn’t like the Jayhawks were doing much to slow her down.
Griner finished with 33 points while playing all 40 minutes, and the top-ranked Lady Bears had little trouble beating the No. 17 Jayhawks 82-60 on Sunday for their 12th straight win.
“There was no need to rest Brittney,” Mulkey said. “She was pretty much dominating the game. She didn’t seem to be fatigued, she’s healthy and you just go with what you feel.”
Griner was certainly feeling it in the first half, when she scored 22 points to help Baylor (14-1, 4-0 Big 12) seize control of the game. Odyssey Sims added 14 points and Brooklyn Pope had 13 points and 11 rebounds to help the Lady Bears win their 26th straight conference game.
“I like playing here,” said Griner, who had a big game at Allen Fieldhouse last year.
CeCe Harper came off the bench to score a career-high 21 points for the Jayhawks (11-4, 2-2), who switched up their offense in an attempt to keep Griner from dominating on defense.
It worked to some extent.
Angel Goodrich had 16 points and seven assists, and Carolyn Davis finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds as Kansas shot 37 percent from the field.
But the Jayhawks were out-rebounded 52-35, and that led to a massive disparity in points in the paint. 46-26.
“Really proud of our effort,” Kansas coach Bonnie Henrickson said. “There are days you may lose a game but you gain some things, but give Baylor credit. Griner can change what you do.”
Griner started her 128th game for Baylor, breaking Sophia Young’s school record set from 2002-06. She also surpassed Oklahoma’s Courtney Paris for second in Big 12 history with 2,741 points, and now trails only Oklahoma State’s Andrea Riley with 2,835 points.