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Women's hoops off to strong start

Nov. 2, 2010

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Daniel Cernero | Photo Editor
No. 42 center Brittney Griner is fouled while attempting a shot in an exhibition game against St. Edward Monday at the Ferrell Center. Griner scored 28 points and led the Lady Bears to a 89-46 win over the Hilltoppers.

By Matt Larsen
Sports Writer

Though not quite as highly anticipated as a year ago, just about all of the 5,467 present at the Ferrell Center for the Lady Bears' 89-46 basketball exhibition game win over St. Edward's University Monday night knew it was coming.

It was just a question of how long before sophomore post Brittney Griner either dropped her first dunk or rejected her first Hilltopper.

The latter came first as Griner sent guard Stephanie Dekker's layup back to the floor with just under two minutes left in the first half.

She had two more swats in the second half, but Griner's dunk never came as she passed up an opportunity for the flush in the second half.

"I thought about just going up, but then I was like, no, I'm just going to lay it in off the glass," she said. "So, I could have done it but I wanted to make sure we got the points."

The 6-foot-8 Houston native finished with a double-double, posting 28 points and 12 rebounds as the Lady Bears scored all but 12 of their points from inside the arc.

Junior post Ashley Field and sophomore post/forward Brooklyn Pope also notched big numbers from the paint.

Field finished with 14 points and four rebounds while Pope put up nine points and 15 rebounds in her first game as a Bear despite feeling a little rusty.

The Lady Bears took control from the opening tip as Griner put her first two short jumpers away to put the Bears up 4-0.

The Hilltoppers answered with a three-pointer to bring it to 4-3, but that would be all the closer they came as the Bears put up four straight buckets from down low to go ahead 12-3.

The Lady Bears hit another streak in the second part of the first half, notching 12 unanswered points to extend the lead to 32-10 with five minutes left in the half.

Eight of those 12 points came from the line, where the team was 21-29 and Griner hit 8-8.

Many of the trips to the line came thanks to chemistry and passing from Griner, Field and Pope that kept the Hilltoppers on their heels.

"They are too talented not to be able to work together there," head coach Kim Mulkey said. "So we're going to be able to do some more things this year because of Brooklyn's strength down there, then you add Destiny [Williams] and Ashley [Field's] ability to shoot that shot as well as [Griner]."

Outside the arc, Mulkey saw a new, yet very familiar face find a rhythm in the second half as her daughter, freshman Makenzie Robertson, dropped three three-pointers in her first game in green and gold.

The Lady Bears host Texas A&M International at 7 p.m. this Friday for the final exhibition game.