Brittney Griner has Baylor off to the best start in school history.
On both the offensive and defensive ends, Griner has been making a huge impact all season long.
The 6-foot-8 phenom scored 28 points and had five blocks, moving into second place on the NCAA career list, to help No. 1 Baylor's 74-46 rout of Kansas on Saturday night.
Griner has been the centerpiece of the Lady Bears' stellar defense that held the Jayhawks to just 29 percent shooting.
“I don't know how many games it is now that we've held our opponent field goal percentage pretty darn low,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “I just think right now, we're playing well. And I think it's very obvious on the defensive end of the floor what we're doing.”
Griner passed Michigan State's Alyssa DeHaan midway through the first half to move into second place on the blocks list. The junior center has 506 blocks in her career and now only trails Saint Mary's star Louella Tomlinson, who had 663.
“Griner's tough to guard. We talked about that,” Kansas coach Bonnie Henrickson said. “As good as she is on the offensive end, she certainly impacts the game as much or more on the defensive end.”
Kimetria Hayden added 10 points and Destiny Williams had 11 rebounds for Baylor (21-0, 8-0 Big 12), which is one of two unbeatens left. Wisconsin-Green Bay improved to 19-0 on Saturday by routing Valparaiso.
Carolyn Davis scored 12 and Angel Goodrich and CeCe Harper had 10 points each for Kansas (16-4, 5-3). Aishah Sutherland had 10 rebounds.
Davis came into the game averaging 20 points in conference play for Kansas. She had 34 in the Jayhawks win over Texas Tech on Wednesday night.
Griner got the Lady Bears going early with two two-handed blocks. Those came during a 14-4 run to open the game and led to 3-pointers.
“It was just the first five minutes,” Hayden said. “We just play hard. We just had a lot of energy and were ready to play, because our families were here.”
The Baylor players and their families were introduced at halftime, keeping the team on the court for nearly the entire break. They headed to the locker room as the Kansas team was returning to the court.
Baylor was up 37-17 at the half after holding Kansas scoreless for the final 6:45 of the period. The Lady Bears then opened the second half on a 10-4 run and never let Kansas get closer than 21 the rest of the way.
“You worry about family night and not being focused,” Mulkey said. “But I thought we handled everything great today. It was an atmosphere today where our kids got to see our men play at noon, which is unusual, and it takes you out of your routine. But we handled that.”
Baylor men's team beat Texas 76-71 earlier in the day.
Midway through the second half, Sutherland had a short jumper in the lane and Harper followed with a 3 for Kansas' biggest scoring run of the game. Baylor answered with jumpers by Griner and Shanay Washington that put the Bears up 61-36 with 8:44 to play.
Kansas was coming off a 62-43 win over No. 21 Texas Tech on Wednesday, and had previously beaten then-No. 23 Texas by five points on Jan. 4.
Baylor won at Oklahoma on Thursday night, beating the Sooners 89-58, and taking a bus back to Waco right after the game. Mulkey had been worried about playing again two days later.
“It was a game that you're concerned about the quick turnaround, having played at OU on the road,” she said. “We were a little sluggish. Maybe not to where people could see it, but just knowing how quick we can do things. And I thought we were sluggish. But I thought we did enough early in the game to have spurts where the crowd got into it, and we extended the lead.”