By Andrew Gilman | SoonerSports.com
NORMAN, Okla. -- Nobody has beaten Baylor this year. And really, no one has been close.
So, Wednesday, the Sooners were going to need more than the Cheer Like a Champion effort from the crowd. They were going to need an all-time effort on the court.
There were flashes and there were numerous rallies, and the crowd of 8,103 at the Lloyd Noble Center was as loud and vibrant as its been all year. However, the Sooners never held more than a 1-point lead against the No. 1-ranked and still-undefeated Bears, as Baylor figured out OU in the second half before winning 89-58.
Baylor entered 19-0 with only three of its games decided by 10 or less points -- and two came against powerhouses Tennessee and Connecticut -- proving, at least on paper, the Sooners were going to have to be perfect.
Instead, the Sooners never did find much stability. Yet, there they were, starting the second half on a 12-3 run and pulling to within 46-40 with 17:12 to play while Baylor's Brittney Griner picked up a third foul.
From there, Baylor didn't take Griner out, didn't call a timeout and didn't let up either, countering 16-3 in the next six minutes. Griner, who had just five points when she picked up her third foul, finished with 18, seven blocks and six rebounds.
"I thought we did a good job early but we got worn down," OU coach Sherri Coale said. "It's a real challenge to try to defend them. It carries over and we got fatigued, and it snowballed. They are the No. 1 team in the country with athletes at every position."
And while the Sooners were shutting down Baylor's superstar, it was the Bears' role players who looked almost flawless.
From off the bench Terran Condrey hit 6-of-7, including two 3-pointers, for 14 points and point guard Odyssey Sims added 14 as well. Kimetria Hayden scored 10 and scooped eight rebounds, accounting for the low figures bouncing Griner's way.
"If you watch how they were guarding Griner," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said, "we didn’t stop trying to get touches, but they I guessed challenged us to have to have that kind of scoring. I felt that they left players open, because they were so concerned on defending Griner."
Griner was one of six players in double figures for the Bears, finally getting into double figures in the last 10 minutes, who shot 49 percent, outrebounded the Sooners 45-30 and missed just two of 18 free throws.
Meanwhile, only five players scored for the Sooners, led by Whitney Hand's 19 points. OU shot only 36.7 percent and only made 4-of-19 3-pointers.
"Half of those go down like they usually do, it's a different game,'' Hand said. "You punch and you come back and you fight, but we let it hit us, and one point turned into more. The next thing you know you're down by 20.''
The Sooners had matchup issues inside with Griner and are remarkably limited due to a number of injuries which put OU in an even tougher spot Wednesday. Guard Aaryn Ellenberg played 37 minutes. Guard Morgan Hook played 35 and Hand played 34.
Sharane Campbell came off the bench and scored 12 points. Ellenberg scored 11, putting on a show of strength near the basket, but missed all six of her 3-pointers.
"I thought our defense was special,'' Mulkey said. "We had a hand in their face every time they shot. I was most proud of our defense."