Kansas City, Mo. The ticker-tape fell from the ceiling of old Municipal Auditorium, and Brittney Griner and the rest of her Baylor teammates hoisted another trophy as Big 12 tournament champions. Then they filed out of the arena and right back to the locker room.
This wasn’t a party, after all.
This was business.
The top-ranked Lady Bears used a season-high 26 points from Odyssey Sims to offset a quiet game by Griner, her All-American teammate, and Baylor cruised to a 73-50 victory over No. 23 Texas A&M to wrap up its second straight championship and fourth overall.
Now, it’s on to bigger things.
“We’ve been winning all season. We’ve been successful. This is great,” Sims said, “but now we’re focused on six games. That’s what we’re striving for.”
That’s how many games it will take to win the program’s second national title, and the number it will take to become the first men’s or women’s team in major college basketball to go 40-0.
“These next six games, you know — we enjoy the celebration. We love the hats and everything,” Griner said, “but we have six more games.”
Griner finished with a season-low 11 points and three rebounds, while Destiny Williams had 12 points and 11 boards. Jordan Madden contributed 10 points.
Still, Baylor (34-0) beat the Aggies for the third time this year, and also beat them to win the conference tournament in 2009 and last season. Of course, Texas A&M managed to flip the script and beat the Lady Bears in the NCAA Tournament en route to the title.
“We played the best team in the country, and if they get an opportunity to win a national championship, we’ll congratulate them and pat them on the back,” he said.
Sydney Carter had 12 points to lead Texas A&M (22-10), which played its third straight game without top scorer Tyra White. She has been hampered by her left foot and Blair elected to rest her for the NCAA Tournament rather than risk any more damage against Baylor.
“We tried it this morning after breakfast,” Blair said. “She went back to the trainer and there was too much pain, and then the game got out of hand.”