Team's performance pleases Mulkey in win over No. 25 Michigan StateNov. 19, 2010
Rody Aydelotte | Waco Tribune Herald/Associated Press
No. 42 power forward Brittney Griner shoots over Michigan State's No. 32 forward Kalisha Keane during the first half of the game Friday in Waco, Texas. Griner had four blocks, pushing her career total to 248, one less than Danielle Wilson's total over three seasons with the Lady Bears. As a freshman last year, she broke the Division I single-season record for blocks with 223 in 35 games.
By Matt Larsen
The Lady Bears showed no ill effects of their 1-point loss to No. 1 Connecticut three days earlier as they rolled to a 78-52 win over No. 25 Michigan State University Friday night in the Ferrell Center.
"I needed to see a basketball team respond after a difficult loss and they did," head coach Kim Mulkey said.
Sophomore post Brittney Griner established her dominance in the paint early and often, putting up 29 points while collecting seven rebounds. She had 13 points at the half.
After a rough game from the foul line against the Huskies, Griner proved she could hit free throws, going 11-13.
In order to get to the line, she needed the ball though, and felt she had more opportunities early on than she did against UConn.
"I felt like it wasn't real strong doubling on me, so it allowed me to do a little bit more in the paint," Griner said.
Two more Baylor players had double-digit evenings, as senior Melissa Jones and freshman Odyssey Sims contributed 16 and 10 respectively.
A boost of offensive boards and steals fueled the Lady Bear's first run of the game, as they went from being out-rebounded 4-7 by the Spartans to winning the battle on the offensive glass 8-7 in a four minute period. The Bears also managed four steals in that same window.
Sophomore Jordan Madden played a big role in this effort that sparked a 20-6 run during the middle of the first half. The 6-foot guard led all rebounders with six on the night.
Beyond Madden's efforts that showed up in the stats, the entry of Sims to the game in the 13th minute helped ignite the run that created a gap the Spartans would never quite close. Sims added a steal and pair of baskets to sophomore Kimetria Hayden's two steals during that stretch.
"Our point guards did a really good job of pressuring the ball, causing some havoc there," Jones said. "[They] got some steals, and it was just kind of a snowball effect from there."
Mulkey noticed a few key improvements from her guards on the offensive end as well that helped to keep the turnovers to five in the first half and 12 on the night.
"We tried to do some things in a half-court offense to feed the post at the right time and learn to read where the double-team is flying to Griner from," she said.
Defensively, Mulkey also voiced her pleasure at holding Michigan State to just one three-pointer in the first half and four total when MSU is known for shooting the three.
Led by senior Kalisha Keane who finished with 28 points, MSU did mount an 11-0 run in the second half that brought the score to 68-49.
But Griner and Jones put a stop to the Spartans streak when they reentered the game with a little over five minutes to play and led the Lady Bears on a 10-3 sprint to end the game.