Streaking Lady Bears wrap up nonconference schedule

WACO, Texas -- Bring on the Big 12. Brittney Griner and Baylor are ready for conference play -- and poised to be the No. 1 team in the country.

Griner scored 21 points to lead five players in double figures and the second-ranked Lady Bears wrapped up their nonconference schedule with their 10th consecutive victory, 101-55 over Texas-Pan American on Thursday night.

Not long after the Lady Bears (13-1) finished, top-ranked Connecticut's record 90-game winning streak ended, putting Baylor in position to move up to the top spot for the first time in school history when the next poll comes out Monday.

"What does that mean? Somebody's got to be No. 1, why not us?" coach Kim Mulkey said. "But it really doesn't mean that much to us. No. 1, No. 5, No. 10, you're playing for that national championship at the end of the year."

Baylor's only loss this season was by one point in November at Connecticut, which lost 71-59 at Stanford (No. 8 ESPN/USA Today, No. 9 AP) for its first loss since the 2008 NCAA tournament.

The Lady Bears don't play again until their Big 12 opener Jan. 8 at home against Iowa State (No. 19 ESPN/USA Today, No. 20 AP), which beat Baylor by 24 points last season.

Baylor is 41-0 in December home games in Mulkey's 11 seasons and won its 11 nonconference home games this season by an average margin of 39 points. That stretch included victories over Tennessee, Michigan State and Notre Dame -- all currently ranked in the top 16.

"We kind of know we can play with those guys now," Mulkey said. "Give yourself a B-plus. An A would have been 14-0. So we did pretty good. ... Now let's see what we can do for 16 [Big 12] games. And then after that, we'll go to the conference tournament and hopefully the NCAAs."

Griner also had seven rebounds and two blocked shots while playing only 16 minutes.

Jordan Madden scored 13 points for Baylor and Destiny Williams had 12 while Melissa Jones and Brooklyn Pope had 11 each. All 12 Lady Bears scored and had at least one rebound though none played more than 20 minutes after an extended Christmas break.

Mulkey had the Lady Bears running full-court press to "get something out of this game" -- mainly for conditioning reasons.

"Coming off this break, just trying to get a lot of conditioning in," said Jones, the senior captain. "I think that helps getting up and down the floor, using that press, and so I think that was a good game to do that."

Bianca Torre and Maria Erlingsdottir had 15 points each for Pan Am (8-8). CeMonay Newell had 11 points.

With 6-foot-8 sophomore Griner dominating the lane, Baylor jumped out to a 22-1 lead in the first 7½ minutes. She scored eight points, including a pair of three-point plays, in that opening spurt. A 3-pointer by Jones was the only basket for the Lady Bears outside the paint in that span.

The closest Pan Am got after that was 40-19 when Torre made three consecutive 3-pointers. Baylor led 50-26 by halftime.

"We try to get better," Pan Am coach Denny Downing said when asked what he hoped to get out of games like Baylor. "Something else that's a factor is we want to be able to entice people to come to Pan American. And I think who you play sometimes helps you."