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Griner, Baylor living up to high expectations

WACO, Texas — Brittney Griner and Baylor have clearly established themselves as the No. 1 team — for now.

Though the Bears can't reach their stated goal of a national championship for more than four more months, they are already proving they may be very capable of doing that.

Griner had 32 points and 14 rebounds, sophomore point guard Odyssey Sims had one of her best overall games after not starting and Baylor defeated second-ranked Notre Dame 94-81 in the preseason WNIT championship game Sunday.

"Just motivated altogether," said Sims, who had 25 points, six assists, six steals and two turnovers. "Playing against (Skylar Diggins), playing against the team, playing in front of the crowd, No. 1 vs. No. 2. All of that put together."

Sims played 38 minutes even though she wasn't in the starting lineup for a reason coach Kim Mulkey wouldn't specify or allow Sims to address.

The Bears (4-0) put it away with a 14-3 run, capped when Sims had a steal that she turned into a breakaway layup for a 70-58 lead with 9½ minutes left.

There was then a feisty play with 1:40 left after Diggins, a preseason AP All-America pick like Griner, lost her dribble.

When Diggins tried to recover the ball from the floor, she had her arm unintentionally around Sims' neck. Sims jumped up clearly angry, then went to the sideline where Mulkey gave her a quick hug to try to settle her down. But Sims was assessed a technical foul.

Cavs surprise Vols

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Tennessee learned the hard way that it can't wait until the second half to buckle down.

The third-ranked Vols (2-1) fell behind Virginia early in the second half, took the lead only briefly late and never managed to get control in a 69-64 overtime loss to the Cavaliers.

"What we do in the second half we have to do in the first half," forward Shekinna Stricklen said. "We have to really bring the energy from the start. We have to go to the boards from the start. We've got to bring our defense from the start of the game and not just for the second half."

The Vols turned a 47-40 deficit into a 48-47 lead with seven minutes left. But the Cavaliers, playing their fourth game under coach Joanne Boyle, steadied themselves with five straight points.

NO. 6 TEXAS A&M 93, MISS. ST. 47: Kelsey Bone had 20 points and 13 rebounds for the host Aggies (4-0), who gave coach Gary Blair his 600th victory. He has won 192 with A&M.

NO. 8 DUKE 80, W. KY. 54: Reserve Tricia Liston scored a career-high 22 after going scoreless in the first two games, and the visiting Blue Devils (3-0) forced 35 turnovers.

NO. 9 L'VILLE 62, XAVIER 44: Becky Burke scored 13, including three 3-pointers, and the host Cardinals (3-1) used a swarming defense to cruise.

NO. 11 PENN ST. 55, South Carolina 50: Maggie Lucas scored the final six of a game-closing 13-0 run as the visiting Nittany Lions (3-1) escaped.

NO. 12 GEORGIA 67, NO. 23 USC 60: Senior Meredith Mitchell scored a career-high 21 for the host Bulldogs (4-0), who took a 21-7 lead and held off the Trojans (1-2).

NO. 16 PURDUE 65, UT-MARTIN 39: The host Boilermakers (3-0) held the Skyhawks, who went in averaging 80 points, to 28.3 percent shooting.

Griner, Baylor living up to high expectations 11/20/11 [Last modified: Sunday, November 20, 2011 8:51pm]
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