Baylor center Brittney Griner returned to her hometown of Houston, Texas tonight to take on the Rice Owls. And she made her presence known.
From a crowd predominantly comprised of Baylor supporters, Griner received a standing ovation when she was announced as she prepared for her first college basketball game in her hometown.
In the Lady Bears’ 89-49 takeover of the Owls, Griner recorded a season-high 35 points, nine rebounds, and four blocks. She was benched with 12 minutes remaining in the game. At that point, she had seven more points than the entire Rice team.
With the 35 points scored tonight, Griner has scored in double-figures in 87 straight games and in 117 of 119 games in her career. This is the first time this season Griner has recorded 30 points in a game. Griner now holds a Big 12 record of 614 career blocks, just 49 shy of Louella Tomlinson’s (Saint Mary’s [Calif.]) NCAA DI record of 663.
In addition to Griner reaching season-high marks, forward Brooklyn Pope tallied a season-high 15 points. This marks her third double-figure scoring performance of the year. Guard Niya Johnson broke a season/career high with 11 assists, becoming only the tenth Lady Bear to dish out 11 or more assists in a game – and she’s only a freshman.
The Owls were unable to recover from missing 15 of their first 16 shots from the field and shooting under 25 percent against the Lady Bears. Rice forward Jessica Kuster led in scoring with a total of 18 points for the Owls.
In its win over Rice, Baylor shot a season-high 62.5 percent from the floor, destroying the previous high of 55.2 percent against Liberty, blocked a season-high 10 shots, and recorded a season-high 29 assists.
The Lady Bears sit 6-1 as they prepare for their next matchup, a rematch of last year’s national championship game as they take on Notre Dame on Dec. 5. -- Savannah Pullin