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Brittney Griner Becomes NCAA Shot Block Leader
January 26, 2013
By Wendell Barnhouse | Correspondent

WACO, Texas - A sellout crowd on Family Day hoped to see two records for the price of one admission. For now, one milestone will have to do.

Baylor senior Brittney Griner became the NCAA Division I leader in blocked shots with 665 Saturday as the top-ranked Lady Bears (18-1, 8-0) defeated Oklahoma, 82-65. The Sooners (15-4, 5-2) dropped into a second-place tie with Texas Tech.

Griner needs three points to pass Oklahoma State's Andrea Riley as the Big 12's career scoring leader. Griner has scored 2,833 points. Her bid to take down that record ended with 5:14 remaining when she fouled out for the first time since her second game as a freshman. At the 8:51 mark the announcement was made to the crowd of 10,419.

"The perfect scenario would have been to get both records at home," said Baylor coach Kim Mulkey, whose team plays at Texas Tech Wednesday.

"I definitely heard the crowd and I was happy to get (the record) here at home and with my family here," said Griner, who has played in 131 games. "Going into the game I didn't go in trying to get the scoring record. The main thing that was disappointing was that I fouled out."

Oklahoma's collapsing zone defense limited Griner to nine shots; she made six and finished with 15. But that double-team attention allowed Baylor to have balanced scoring. Six were in double figures. Odyssey Sims had 12 points and 10 assists while Destiny Williams came off the bench to score 11 with 10 rebounds.

The 6-8 Griner, who recorded her 11th dunk - another NCAA record - earlier in the week, says she enjoys blocking shots more than scoring, dunking or rebounding. She enjoyed herself on eight occasions against the Sooners, who were persistent and pesky for 40 minutes.

OU's Aaryn Ellenberg finished with a season-high 33 and made 6-of-11 3-pointers. But two of her 24 shots helped Griner make history.

With 12:54 remaining, Ellenberg's drive down the left side was rejected for Griner's 663rd block (equaling Louella Tominlson of Saint Mary's). Earlier in the possession, Ellenberg had freed herself on a back door cut but fumbled the ball when confronted by Griner; the Sooners maintained possession with five seconds on the shot clock.

Griner's record-setting block No. 664 came with 10:25 on the clock when the 5-7 Ellenberg again drove the left side of the lane and had her shot rejected.

"I can't remember the first shot I blocked but if I go back and look I can find a couple that might be my favorites," said Griner.

Baylor won its 50th consecutive home game and has won five consecutive games against Oklahoma. The Lady Bears and the Sooners are the top two winning programs in Big 12 history.

"We shot a high percentage, had six players in double figures and only won by 17," said Mulkey, whose team extended its Big 12 record with its 30th consecutive league victory. "That goes to two things - we missed 14 free throws; that's unacceptable. And they made a lot of threes.

"Our transition game was outstanding."

Mulkey says this team is better than last year's 40-0 national championship team. A reason for that opinion was evident when the Lady Bears removed all doubt. Ellenberg's jumper off the dribble cut Baylor's lead to 57-48 with 12 minutes remaining.

Freshman Alexis Prince, who averages 3.0 points per game, made three consecutive mid-range jumpers to spark an 11-0 run.

"We can score a lot of points in a short period of time," Mulkey said. "We can have a 10-point lead and you can look up it's a 20-point lead. ... You're finally seeing Alexis play, she's comfortable, she's healthy and she's hard to defend."

In the first half, Baylor three times ran a baseline out of bounds play that resulted in a wide open layup. Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said each time a different player was guarding the player who scored.

And while Baylor built a 12-point lead 12 minutes into the game, Oklahoma surged back. Ellenberg, though, failed to convert a breakaway layup after a turnover that would have cut the Lady Bears' lead to 33-27. It was a four-point swing when Destiny Williams converted a layup.

"The difference in the game was layups, we gave them a lot of layups," Coale said. "It's easy to say, 'Don't give up layups.' It's a lot harder to do.

"Those are little things, mistakes, you can't make against Baylor. But you have to do the big things against Baylor in order for the little things to matter. (Ellenberg) was dribbling down the floor looking over her shoulder for Griner."

The Sooners were 11-of-26 from 3-point range but was 9-of-46 (19.5 percent) on 2-point field goals. That inefficiency didn't counter Baylor's 60.3 percent accuracy.

"It makes you think twice when you're driving to the basket,"Ellenberg said of Griner "Are you going to take the shot or pass off? She makes you change your shot. You've got to be aggressive and she's gonna block shots."

665 and counting.

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