No. 1 Baylor women avenge last loss, 71-48 vs A&M

STEPHEN HAWKINS AP Basketball Writer Published:

WACO, Texas (AP) -- Brittney Griner scored right away and top-ranked Baylor was quickly on the way to avenging its last loss, beating No. 15 Texas A&M 71-48 Saturday night in their first meeting since last year's NCAA tournament.

Griner, who finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds, put the Lady Bears (25-0, 12-0 Big 12) ahead to stay with her inside basket and free throw only a half-minute into the game.

After Tyra White scored on the first shot by Texas A&M, Baylor scored 14 consecutive points over a four-minute span.

Texas A&M (17-6, 8-4) had lost eight in a row against Baylor, including three last season before that NCAA regional final victory last March. That sent the Aggies to their first Final Four on way to winning the national championship.

For the long-awaited rematch, which Lady Bears coach Kim Mulkey has repeatedly said will be SEC-bound Texas A&M's last visit to Waco, there was a record-tying sellout crowd of 10,627. The fans got worked into a frenzy by Baylor's opening flurry, and the Lady Bears kept them cheering all night.

Odyssey Sims had 19 points while Brooklyn Pope had 10 points and nine rebounds for the Lady Bears. Griner, their 6-foot-8 junior phenom, also blocked six shots.

White had 18 points to lead Texas A&M, which had won four in a row and seven of eight before shooting 28 percent (18 of 64).

The Lady Bears extended their school-record home winning streak to 37 games. Texas A&M last won there in 2007.

With six games left in the round-robin Big 12 schedule, including a Feb. 27 game at College Station, the Lady Bears have a four-game lead in the conference standings over second-place A&M.

Mulkey was already pumping her right fist when Griner scored that opening basket. The Lady Bears made their first five shots.

Kimetria Hayden's layup started the 14-0 spurt. Sims then had a layup before hitting two 3-pointers from the left corner in front of the A&M bench.

Baylor had a 17-2 lead, and Aggies coach Gary Blair had already called two timeouts, when Sims made her second long-range shot.

Karla Gilbert, A&M's 6-foot-5 center, could only turn her head in frustration toward the Aggies' bench after Griner drove and had a layup against her about 5 minutes into the game. Then Griner blocked her on consecutive shots taken in rapid-fire motion.

Texas A&M missed 10 shots in a row before White finally had a putback of her own miss. That was the Aggies' first score in more than 6 minutes since she scored in the game's opening minute.

The Aggies are the only Big 12 team to hold any opponent under 40 points in a game this season, including a 67-36 victory over Kansas State on Wednesday. They trailed Baylor 40-21 at halftime.

After not scoring consecutive baskets in the first half, Texas A&M scored the first six points after halftime.

White had a jumper that gave Blair something to clap about, before Kelsey Bone blocked a layup attempt by Griner that led to a jumper by Adaora Elonu. Then Elonu had a steal she converted into a layup to cut the gap to 40-27.

Texas A&M never got closer, and Baylor finally scored again when Hayden penetrated for a short baseline jumper to start a 15-5 run.