WACO, Texas – Grambling State has to take whatever positives it can out of its season opener at 10th-ranked Baylor.
The Lady Tigers increased their scoring and lowered their turnovers after halftime. They had four players score in double figures.
In the end, they still got doubled up by the Lady Bears, who opened their first season without Brittney Griner with a 110-55 victory Saturday night.
"They played some really great defense on us, caused a lot of turnovers," assistant coach Lou Hamilton said. "We had 20 turnovers in the first half, the second half we were able to drop that to 14. ... We didn't lose the rebound war by a lot (51-47), so that's another positive that we can bring from this game."
But Grambling was down 16-0 before finally scoring its first basket nearly 5 minutes into the game.
Odyssey Sims, a preseason All-America guard and Baylor's only returning starter, had 28 points along with five steals and four rebounds.
"It was different. But I like the feel of the team," Sims said. "I felt like we came out and we were ready to go from the jump. ... Everybody came in and knew their role and they played it."
The Lady Bears extended their nation's-best home winning streak to 58 in a row. They haven't lost in the Ferrell Center since March 2010 to Texas, the final home game of Griner's freshman season.
Mariah Chandler, a returning post player now getting her chance to start, had 14 points. She scored eight in Baylor's game-opening 16-0 run.
All 12 Baylor players, including five freshmen in their college debuts, had rebounds in the game. All the freshmen were among the 11 Lady Bears who scored points. Freshman Nina Davis and Kristina Higgins each had 11 points, while Imani Wright, another freshman, had 10.
"It's a first game and it's a win and wins are going to be hard to come by when you're as young as we are," coach Kim Mulkey said. "And yet, at the same time, we did some good things."
Victoya Ricks had 14 points and 14 rebounds for Grambling, which trailed 56-19 at halftime before adding 36 points in the second half.
Grambling had five turnovers and missed its first three shots before Jessica Watkins scored on a layup with 15:11 left in the first half. Sims had a layup that put Baylor up 37-8 with 9:14 left in the first half before Dennisha Chambers' jumper got the Lady Tigers in double digits.
Chambers had 13 points, Watkins 12, SWAC preseason player of the year Joanna Miller scored 10 10.
"You want to keep morale going, when you get down, you're not out, there's 40 minutes in the game. Coach always expresses to our players don't give up until the game over," Hamilton said. "One of the things that we showed tonight was a lot of fight, we didn't give up. ... We want to grow from that."
In Baylor's first game since the 6-foot-8 Griner, the two-time AP Player of the Year, and four other seniors finished their careers with an unexpected loss to Louisville in the NCAA round of 16 last March, the Lady Bears scored their most points since 117 against Sam Houston State on Dec. 4, 2006. The school record is 129.
Baylor has won all 14 of its home openers for coach Mulkey.
Before the game, the Lady Bears unveiled three more banners in the rafters. They were for last season's Big 12 regular season and tournament titles, and the Sweet 16 banner. Then there was a lengthy preview video narrated by Dick Enberg.
The new banners hang on the opposite end of the arena from the 2012 national championship that Baylor won going undefeated with the NCAA's only 40-win season.
In less than a half-minute midway through the first half, Sims assisted on a 3-pointer and then had consecutive backcourt steals that she turned into layups. That put Baylor up 31-6.
"I didn't know that. I didn't pay attention to it. It's just instincts," Sims said. "I'm just happy to play with this team. We're new, we're young. It's different."