Scores

Final

(2) Notre Dame 81

(3-1, 0-1 away)

(1) Baylor 94

(4-0, 4-0 home)

    2:00 PM ET, November 20, 2011

    1 2 T
    #2ND 36 4581
    #1BAY 47 4794

    Brittney Griner, Baylor put away Notre Dame using a 14-3 spurt

    Associated Press

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

    While the Lady Bears can't reach their very 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 only two turnovers. "Playing against (Notre Dame's Skylar Diggins), playing against the team, playing in front of the crowd, No. 1 versus No. 2. All of that put together."

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

    The Lady Bears (4-0) put the game away with a 14-3 run that was 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.

    Diggins and Sims were teammates on USA Basketball World University Games gold medal-winning team in China this summer. Notre Dame's Natalie Novosel and Devereaux Peters were also on that team.

    "Odyssey is a very competitive player just like I am, and she was a teammate of mine. I don't think it was anything personal," Diggins said. "I think it's just both of us playing hard. ... Just a loose ball, you try to get it."

    Sims agreed, and said she wished Diggins "the best the rest of the season."

    But they could meet again in March -- or April.

    The Lady Bears still have two more huge tests before Christmas and their always tough Big 12 schedule after that. They play at No. 3 Tennessee next Sunday and host No. 4 UConn on Dec. 18.

    It was Baylor's second 1 vs. 2 game, but its first as the No. 1 team after losing 65-64 at top-ranked UConn last November. The Irish were in their third such game, the previous two coming against the Huskies in 2001, when Notre Dame lost as the No. 1 team and then won as the No. 2 team.

    "No. 1 vs. No. 2, who wouldn't be pumped up to go out there and play?" Griner said.

    This was the 47th women's basketball 1 vs. 2 game. UConn had played in 14 of the past 19 since 1999, winning 12 of them. The Huskies were the No. 1 team, and the winner, in each of the previous five.

    Griner made 14 of 18 field goals and had her 29th career double-double, and third this season, and also had five blocks. Destiny Williams had 15 points and 13 rebounds for the Lady Bears.

    "The game was particularly disappointing because defensively we really played poorly, and they are just so difficult to guard," Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. "Griner, of course, we expected coming in that she was really going to be able to have her way inside. ... I was disappointed with the way we guarded the other players.

    Kayla McBride, who had 11 points for the Irish, made two free throws with 15:48 left to cap a 15-6 run that cut the deficit to 53-51. Baylor's game-clinching spurt came a couple of minutes later.

    Notre Dame had an early 10-6 lead after Brittany Mallory went around Griner for a reverse layup.

    After Griner and Diggins traded baskets, Sims hit a 3-pointer and Griner had a defensive rebound and the Lady Bears got the first lead when Sims passed to Williams for a 13-12 lead with 12:53 left in the first half.

    That was during a furious pace when the game's first stop in action didn't come until McGraw finally called a timeout with 11:33 left after a putback by Williams for a 17-14 Baylor lead. The first two media timeouts were caught up over the next 30 seconds.

    The Irish were within 19-18 when Diggins passed to Novosel for a reverse layup before the Lady Bears went on an 11-2 run capped by a layup and two free throws by Sims.

    Baylor led 47-36 at halftime, that close only after Novosel hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer after the Irish had missed their first 11 shots from long range.

    "It was a great test for us," Novosel said about the matchup. "We know now we're not where we need to be, and we're going to move forward and learn some things."

    Remember, Notre Dame also lost to Baylor early last season. The Irish ended up going all the way to the NCAA championship game.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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