LAWRENCE, Kan. —
“She’s a game-changer,” Harper said.
She certainly changed the game in the first half, when Baylor kept working the ball around the perimeter and finding Griner in the post. With at least 5 inches on anybody guarding her, all Griner had to do was turn around and use her soft touch to repeatedly score.
She had 14 points as the Lady Bears raced to a 29-13 lead.
Henrickson eventually called a timeout, and the Jayhawks started to do a better job denying Griner the ball. Davis spent most of the day guarding her, but Kansas would usually collapse a second — and sometimes a third — player to defend the entry pass.
The Jayhawks responded by slowly trimming into the lead.
Harper hit a pair of 3-pointers, Davis scored a couple baskets around the rim and Goodrich hit her second 3 of the half as Kansas whittled the lead to 38-28 with 4:06 left in the half.
Sims answered with two quick baskets, and Griner added two more to end the half.
“We had some shots as a ready shooter,” Henrickson said. “You have to knock down uncontested shots against these guys, and we all have that challenge, to manufacture points against them.”
Griner picked up where she left off after the break, getting an entry pass on the block and turning around for an easy basket. Kimetria Hayden added a layup and Sims hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give Baylor a 53-30 lead and force another Kansas timeout.
Later in the half, tempers flared during an inbound play under the Baylor basket.
The Lady Bears were putting a player directly in front of Griner, trying to give her extra room to catch the inbound pass. But every time they lined up, the Jayhawks tried to wedge Davis between them, creating enough separation to keep Baylor’s star from putting up an easy shot.