Griner, No. 1 Baylor women top Miss Valley, 93-55Friday, Dec 30, 2011
WACO, Texas (AP)—Baylor’s strong start put coach Kim Mulkey in an unusual position Friday night—in her seat instead of prowling the sideline.
Top-ranked Baylor applied full-court pressure from the start and opened the game with a 12-0 run—keeping the usually active Mulkey in her seat for more than seven minutes in the first period of the Bears’ 93-55 win over Mississippi Valley State.
Brittney Griner scored 20 points in 27 minutes and Destiny Williams had 11 points and 14 rebounds for the Bears, who reached 13-0 for the second time in the program’s history.
“I thought Destiny Williams gave us a spark. She had a double-double, with 14 rebounds, and I thought just she did some really good things,” Mulkey said.
De’Kisha Fondon scored 23 for Mississippi Valley (2-8). Alia Frank had 10 points and Ka’Neshia Smith added 10 rebounds.
Brooklyn Pope scored 14 points for Baylor, and Odyssey Sims had 11 points and Ashley Field scored 10.
Williams’ rebounding total was a career high, topping the 13 she had against Notre Dame on Nov. 20. In Baylor’s previous games before Friday’s contest - against Connecticut and McNeese State - Williams recorded just seven total boards.
“I haven’t been rebounding good at all,” she said. “It’s a new semester, and I wanted to start off right, coming off Christmas break, and try to rebound to the best of my ability. And I just so happened to have 14 rebounds.”
Griner and Mississippi Valley’s Alia Frank were each assessed a technical foul with 2:42 left in the first half. They became tangled after falling to the floor under Baylor’s basket. The technicals were called as they attempted to get back to their feet.
“I really didn’t see enough to take her out of the game and reprimand her,” Mulkey said. “I felt like I trusted my coaches there, and they felt like (Frank) was trying to take charges all night and kind of undercut Brittney, and they got tangled up and Brittney kind of kicked her off of her or something like that. I’m going to trust that because I didn’t see it that it wasn’t anything dirty. It was a reaction to something she did that probably wasn’t dirty either.”
Griner wasn’t sure exactly what happened.
“I was going to try to just run off, but got tied up,” she said. “I don’t know, I just looked down and had somebody on my legs. It’s just part of the game. It got hot for a moment, but I cooled down a little bit.”
Griner was suspended two games last March after throwing a punch that broke the nose of Texas Tech’s Jordan Barncastle.
Baylor didn’t make a basket in the final 5:22 of the first half, but did make six of 10 free throws down the stretch. Mississippi Valley’s Olivia Kennedy banked in a 3-pointer just before the buzzer, and Baylor led 45-29 at the break. Kennedy’s basket, however, accounted for the lone Mississippi Valley points in a 13-minute stretch that carried over until midway through the second half. Brittney Lakes made a turnaround jumper off the glass with 11:34 left in the game for the Devilettes’ first points of the second half.
Baylor put the game away by opening the second period on a 30-2 run, with seven Bears scoring during the stretch.
“I thought the first five minutes of the second half was probably the brightest spot as a group in the entire game,” Mulkey said. “I thought all five had a lot of energy, all five were running the floor.”
Mississippi Valley shot its first free throws of the game with 5:28 left in the second half, as Aspen Clemons made one of her two attempts. For the game, Baylor made 23 of its 44 free throw shots (52 percent), while Mississippi Valley was 2 of 4 from the line.
“Usually the first place you notice fatigue is with missed shots, and free throws are nothing more than missed shots,” Mulkey said. “I think that you saw the eight-day, nine-day layoff, whatever it was, surface. But I can’t fuss at them, because they did get to the foul line, and I gave them those eight days off. And 44 times to the foul line is getting a lot of rebounds and putbacks, but we’ll get better.”
Mississippi Valley coach Nate Kilbert wasn’t down about the free throw discrepancy.
“Look at the way the fouls were called,” Kilbert said. “And I’m not saying they weren’t fouls, because they were. Their inside just wore us down to the point where we were fouling and they were scoring baskets. Everything we did was from the perimeter. That was the big difference in the game.”