If one is going to break a meaningful record, doing it in style adds to the moment. Wednesday night in Lubbock, Brittney Griner was so stylish she belonged on a runway at a fashion show.
Needing three points to surpass Oklahoma State's Andrea Riley as the Big 12's career scoring leader, Griner needed 59 seconds. Two free throws at the 19:01 mark gave her four points to eliminate any waiting or drama.
And Griner continued to dominate. She finished with 40 points on 17-of-25 shooting. She also had 15 rebounds, seven blocks and four assists. Her final points came on a two-hand dunk with 2:36 remaining – the 12th throw down of her career, extending her NCAA record. Griner became the NCAA career leader in blocked shots in her previous game and has blocked 30 shots in the last four games. She had 43 blocks in the first 16 games.
"Any time you get a win is good," Griner said. "But it felt good getting a dunk in, too."
With Griner chalking up her fourth 40-point game, top-ranked Baylor rolled to a 90-60 victory over second-place Texas Tech. It was the 31st consecutive Big 12 victory for the Lady Bears.
The Lady Raiders are the last team to defeat Baylor in league play, winning in Lubbock in February 2011. Last season's two games were decided by eight and five points as Baylor went 40-0 and won the national championship.
Considering recent history, the trip to West Texas could have been a challenging game for the Lady Bears. Instead, thanks to Griner, it was another blowout victory.
"I've always thought records are made to be broken," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. "But whoever comes along and breaks hers is going to be a phenom too. She's still got a lot left to the season."
"When Brittney came four years ago I told everybody, 'You better buy tickets. You'll never see anything like her again,' and at the time you didn't talk about the records that she would break. But after you saw her play it was pretty obvious she's going to be a phenom and it's not surprising that she's broken those records."
Riley, a 5-5 guard for the Cowgirls, had 911 field goals in her career and 238 of those were from 3-point range. Griner has made two 3-pointers in her career. Needing three points to surpass Riley, perhaps the only disappointment Wednesday night was that Griner didn't become the Big 12 career scoring leader by stepping behind the line and making a three.
"I think it's amazing Brittney is the Big 12's career scoring leader," FSN analyst Brenda VanLengen said. "Andrea had the benefit of shooting threes and Brittney has had to make up for that with volume of shots and free throws. And think about how many different ways other teams have tried to defend her. It's remarkable.
"Brittney Griner has changed the game of women's basketball. She impacts every aspect of the game. She's so consistent that you almost take for granted and you expect these incredible numbers. We might not ever see a player like her again or at least not for a very long time."
Mulkey has won championships at all levels and is a hall of fame coach. She's glad she has Brittney Griner in a Baylor uniform because being an opposing coach trying to stop Griner is not a pleasant consideration.
"If you asked me how to attack her," Mulkey said, "I wouldn't know what to tell you."
Big 12 Women's Top Five Career Scoring Leaders
|Brittney Griner, 2009-Present||Baylor||2,873|
|Andrea Riley, 2007-10||Oklahoma State||2,835|
|Courtney Paris, 2006-09||Oklahoma||2,729|
|Sophia Young, 2003-06||Baylor||2,480|
|Kendra Wecker, 2002-05||Kansas State||2,333|