After picking up two fouls that she considered silly, Brittney Griner waited for her chance to make an impact again. Once she was back in the game, the reigning national player of the year made her presence felt all over the floor.
Immediately after returning, Griner blocked a shot. Then she got a pair of rebounds, hit two jumpers, made the pass to set up teammate Kimetria Hayden's 3-pointer and suddenly top-ranked Baylor was right back in control and on its way to an 86-64 win at Oklahoma on Monday night.
"I sat out most of the first half, so I knew I had to come in in the second half and start off strong and attacking and just doing something to give my team a spark," Griner said.
Griner ended up with 15 points, tied her season-high with 15 rebounds, blocked seven shots and distributed five assists despite sitting out the last 11½ minutes of the first half with two fouls.
She returned and hit the first two baskets in a 10-0 run that pushed the Lady Bears' lead out to 47-30, and Baylor (27-1, 16-0 Big 12) led by at least 12 the rest of the way. Oklahoma (19-9, 9-7) cut a 16-point deficit down to four while Griner was out.
"We didn't panic," coach Kim Mulkey said. "We shouldn't panic. We have too much experience on that floor, and we're just trying to finish this thing off the right way."
Griner moved past Connecticut's Maya Moore into fourth in career scoring in women's basketball. Only Jackie Stiles of Missouri State, Patricia Hoskins of Mississippi Valley State and Lorri Bauman of Drake have more than Griner's 3,045 points.
Aaryn Ellenberg had 19 points to lead Oklahoma. Morgan Hook had 15 points and nine turnovers. The Sooners' two post players, Nicole Griffin and Joanna McFarland, combined to go 4 for 23 from the field.
Campbell had a pair of baskets during a string of eight straight Oklahoma points that got the deficit down to 57-45 midway through the second half, but Griner stopped the surge with a turnaround jumper in the lane. She also had a layup to start an 8-0 response by the Bears that restored the lead to 69-48.
The Sooners shot just 33 percent, and 32 percent from 3-point range, while getting outscored 54-16 in the paint. It was Oklahoma's fourth loss in the past five games.
"You've got to be able to make a few more shots than that against a team like Baylor, where you can't get to the rim. You've got to make some 3s," coach Sherri Coale said. "We had some good looks that we missed. We missed some layups that were pretty good looks, too.
"But that's what all that speed and athleticism can do to you."
Oklahoma has lost all 16 games it has played against teams ranked No. 1.
Destiny Williams chipped in 16 points and Odyssey Sims had 13 points and six assists for Baylor.
The Lady Bears stumbled with six turnovers in the first 5 minutes, then cleaned up their act to put together a 13-0 run that included a 3-pointer, a fast-break layup and a jumper from the left block by Jordan Madden for a 19-4 edge with 13:25 to go in the first half. But Griner picked up her second foul about 2 minutes later, and Mulkey put her on the bench for the rest of the half.
Griner fouled out for just the second time in her college career in the first meeting between the teams this season, even though the Bears were already firmly in control by then, and Mulkey took no chances putting her back in.
About 30 seconds after Griner's second foul, frontcourt partner Brooklyn Pope was called for charging for the second time and also came out.
"I never felt the sense that I needed to put Griner back in," Mulkey said. "I felt like we were just going to need to weather the storm, and it allowed some other players to gain some valuable experience on the road,"
Baylor didn't make a basket for the first 5 minutes after Griner exited, and Oklahoma took advantage of seldom-used substitutes Kristina Higgins and Sune Agbuke to go on a 14-2 run to get the deficit down to 24-20. Even then, Mulkey didn't make a move to bring Griner back in, and instead it was freshman Alexis Prince that scored eight points over the final 4 minutes of the half to keep the Bears in front 37-30 at halftime.
"It's always frustrating when you have to sit on the bench and you can't help the team out. But when they cut it to four, I didn't get too revved up because I know my team," Griner said. "I know that they'll respond."