NORMAN — They came.
They lost 86-64.
That was the tale at Lloyd Noble Center Monday night where the Oklahoma women may have proven their mettle, yet No. 1 Baylor proved its utter and total dominance — at least as long as reigning player of the year Brittney Griner remained on the floor.
Griner’s numbers — 15 points, 15 rebounds, seven blocks — were plenty good, but her effect on the game was mammoth.
Even when she wasn’t on the floor, she was the most important player in the building, for only then, as she rode the bench after two first-half fouls, did OU lift itself back into the game.
That the Sooners kept at it is what stuck with their coach.
“I am proud of our guys. I thought we played hard,” OU coach Sherri Coale said. “You have got to be able to make a few more shots than that against a team like Baylor. When you can’t get to the rim, you’ve got to make some 3s.”
OU shot 32.9 percent (23 of 70) overall and 31.6 percent (6 of 19) from 3-point land.
At one point, as Baylor led 47-30 after beginning the second half on a 10-0 run, the Lady Bears had outscored the Sooners 31-6 with their 6-foot-8 center on the floor, while the Sooners had the best of it, 24-16, with her off it.
Though Griner and her Lady Bear teammates had plenty to do with it, the Sooners hurt themselves by continuing a trend of starting halves terribly. Beginning at OSU three days ago, OU has suffered runs of 23-4, 10-2, 19-4 and 10-0 to begin each of their last four halves.
“We were just stuck,” said Sharane Cambell, who was picking herself off the floor the whole game, drawing a trio of Baylor offensive fouls while getting to the free-throw line for a game-high seven attempts.