By Stephen Hawkins
The Associated Press
WACO, Texas — Odyssey Sims had 28 points to lead five Baylor players in double-figure scoring and the 10th-ranked Lady Bears cruised to a 110-55 season-opening victory over Grambling State on Saturday night in their first game without Brittney Griner.
Mariah Chandler added 14 points while freshman Nina Davis and Kristina Higgins both had 11 for Baylor, which had the game’s first 16 points before Grambling (0-1) finally scored nearly 5 minutes into the game.
The Lady Bears extended their nation’s-best home winning streak to 58 in a row.
They haven’t lost in the Ferrell Center since March 2010 to Texas, the final home game of Griner’s freshman season.
Baylor has won all 14 of its home openers for coach Kim Mulkey.
Victoya Ricks had 14 points to lead four players in double figures for Grambling. Dennisha Chambers had 13, Jessica Watkins 12, SWAC preseason player of the year Joanna Miller scored 10 10.
All 12 Baylor players, including five freshmen in their college debuts, had rebounds in the game. All the freshmen were among the 11 Lady Bears who scored points.
Baylor scored its most points since 117 against Sam Houston State on Dec. 4, 2006. The school record is 129.
This is clearly Sims’ team without the 6-foot-8 Griner, the two-time AP Player of the Year, and four other seniors who finished their Baylor careers with an unexpected loss to Louisville in the NCAA round of 16 last March.
Before the game, the Lady Bears unveiled three more banners in the rafters. They were for last season’s Big 12 regular season and tournament titles, and the Sweet 16 banner. Then there was a lengthy preview video narrated by Dick Enberg.
The new banners hang on the opposite end of the arena from the 2012 national championship that Baylor won going undefeated with the NCAA’s only 40-win season.
Griner had plenty of highlight dunks, a record-shattering 748 blocked shots (men or women) and 3,283 points (2nd all-time on the NCAA women’s career list) during her four seasons.
Without her dominating presence in the post, the Lady Bears will highlight their impressive guard play led by Sims, who can now be the primary scorer.
In Baylor’s game-opening run of 16 points in a row, Chandler had eight points and Sune Agbuke had six.
Grambling had five turnovers and missed its first three shots before Watkins scored on a layup with 15:11 left in the first half. Sims had a layup that put Baylor up 37-8 with 9:14 left in the first half before Chambers’ jumper got the Lady Tigers in double digits.
Baylor is 15-0 against SWAC teams under Mulkey, those wins by an average margin of more than 45 points.
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