McFarland, No. 20 Oklahoma women get physical, but not enough in 82-65 loss at No. 1 Baylor
WACO, Texas – Oklahoma's Joanna McFarland twice stepped right in the path of 6-foot-8 Brittney Griner and drew charging fouls.
The second time came right before Griner drew her fifth foul, after Baylor's two-time All-American had already broken the NCAA career blocks record and scored 15 points for the top-ranked Lady Bears in an 82-65 victory Saturday.
"It's not like a fear. You've just got to go in and bow up, like if she goes hard at me, I've got to go hard back," the 6-3 McFarland said about the physical matchup. "It's a mutual thing."
McFarland had 12 points and 16 rebounds while Aaryn Ellenberg scored 33 points with six of the Sooners' 11 3-pointers.
And that still wasn't nearly enough for Oklahoma (18-1, 8-9 Big 12) against Griner and the Lady Bears, who won their 50th in a row at home.
The Sooners (15-4, 5-2) made 11 of 26 3-pointers, but were just 9 of 46 inside the arc. They never got closer than five points after a half-minute span in the first half when McFarland drew two charging fouls and made a 3-pointer.
"I'm really proud of our guys, I thought we competed and fought every step of the way, and did some really, really good things and attacked them, and went after them, and shot pretty well from 3," coach Sherri Coale said. "Obviously did not shoot well from 2, but there's a big reason for that. Her number's 42 (Griner)."
Griner, who already holds the NCAA women's record with 11 dunks and is a three-point play from becoming the Big 12's career scoring leader, got the record she has always wanted at Baylor.
Her record-tying and record-setting blocks came by swatting away a pair of shots by Ellenberger.
"Definitely happy I got that. Now I'm going to try to set it higher," Griner said. "Blocked shots keep the other team from scoring, that's just how I look at it. Blocked shots kind of remind me when I played volleyball, I used to love to spike. ... That's why I like (blocks) the most."
With eight in the game, Griner has 665 career blocks, two more than Louella Tomlinson had for St. Mary's in California (2007-11).
"As good as she is on the offensive end, where she really changes games is on the defensive end," Coale said. "She obviously has the wingspan and the athleticism, but she also has that ornate sense that I think all great shot blockers have knowing when to go get it."
By fouling out for only the second time in her 131 career games, Griner missed a chance to also break the Big 12 scoring record before the Lady Bears play their next two games on the road. Her 2,833 career points are two shy of matching Oklahoma State's Andrea Riley's (2007-10).
Odyssey Sims had 12 points and 10 assists while Destiny Williams had 11 points and 10 rebounds for Baylor, which has won 36 consecutive Big 12 regular-season and tournament games since a loss to Oklahoma in the conference tournament three years ago.
Griner got her 663rd career block with just under 13 minutes left. A similar play with 10:25 remaining was Griner's seventh of the game and broke Tomlinson's record.
With 5:14 to go, Griner was called for a foul on another shot by Ellenberg. It was the first time she fouled out since the second game of her freshman season.
"Disappointed I fouled out at the end of the game," Griner said.
That came less than a minute after Griner was called for a charge against McFarland for the second time in the game.
In a 30-second span of the first half, McFarland drew charges against Griner and Jordan Madden. She hit a 3-pointer in between to get the Sooners within 26-21, but they never got closer.
Oklahoma won the opening tip and Ellenberg immediately hit a 3-pointer. The Sooners were up 10-8 when Ellenberg hit another 3 from the top left of the key 4 minutes later.
Baylor then scored 14 points in a row over the next 5 minutes and took the lead for good.
"The difference in the game was layups, we gave them a lot of layups," Coale said. "They're fast, and they're athletic and you get to worrying about how to keep the ball out of Griner's hands and forget to just guard when it comes back out to the other side."