Griner’s 24 points power Bears’ win

Bay­lor

Austin American-Statesman - - C SPORTS - C

This time it was a lit­tle closer. The Lady Bears didn’t put the game away un­til a layup by Jor­dan Mad­den with seven min­utes left sparked a 10-0 run.

“We just stayed in the flow, don’t change any­thing just be­cause your shots aren’t fall­ing,” the 6-8 Griner said. “They’re go­ing to fall even­tu­ally.”

Notre Dame coach Muf­fet McGraw knew the Ir­ish were in trou­ble when Griner, who was 10 of 16 from the floor, started hit­ting a cou­ple of shots from 15 feet.

Griner said she let the game come to her.

“Last year I guess I started get­ting even more pa­tient. I couldn’t get my hands on the ball, keep mov­ing. What­ever I can do, I will do. I took it a play at a time, post up strong when I had to. Did what­ever I could to help my team out.”

The Lady Bears (7-1), with all five starters back from the team that went 40-0 last sea­son, dom­i­nated in­side, outscor­ing the Ir­ish 36-26 in the paint and out­re­bound­ing them 44-35. Bay­lor held the Ir­ish to 36-per­cent shoot­ing while mak­ing 49 per­cent of its shots.

The Ir­ish (5-1), with just two starters back, were sim­ply no match, es­pe­cially with All-Amer­ica se­nior Dig­gins strug­gling on 4-of-19 shoot­ing. But McGraw was en­cour­aged that her young team looked a lot bet­ter in los­ing Wed­nes­day than her veteran squad did in the 80-61 de­feat in the ti­tle game in April.

Odyssey Sims re­turned af­ter miss­ing four games with a ham­string in­jury and added 16 points for Bay­lor. Coach Kim Mulkey said she thought Sims’ play proved she’s the best point guard in the coun­try.

“She’s played Sky­lar four times and won ev­ery ball game. She’s won a na­tional cham­pi­onship,” Mulkey said. “Odyssey didn’t have one of her best games, ei­ther, but she never stopped be­ing tough on the floor and she never stopped guard­ing peo­ple.”

McGraw said Sims makes Bay­lor tougher to play.

“When she’s not in the game you don’t really have to guard them very much from the perime­ter. So just hav­ing her on the court stretches the de­fense to her side a lit­tle bit more,” she said.

Brook­lyn Pope added 14 points for Bay­lor and Jor­dan Mad­den had 12.

Dig­gins was frus­trated by her bad shoot­ing.

“I don’t think I hes­i­tated on my shot. It just wasn’t go­ing in,” she said.

Fresh­man Jewell Loyd led Notre Dame with a sea­son-high 24 points, Kayla McBride had 16 and Natalie Achonwa 11. No one else scored for the Ir­ish. Mulkey said she was im­pressed by Loyd.

“She’s a tremen­dous jump shooter. Not many can take it off the drib­ble and shoot a jump shot. She’s a spe­cial tal­ent,” she said.

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