WACO, TEXAS — The Yale University women's basketball team actually created a little bit of a stir in its opening game of the three-game trip to Texas. Few expected much of a challenge out of the Bulldogs when they took on the nation's top-ranked team, but for the first 12 minutes of the game, Yale proved to be the better team on the floor. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the nation's best player took control of the game and proved why she and her Baylor teammates are receiving so many accolades this season.
Baylor's Brittney Griner, the consensus preseason national player of the year, recorded 31 points on 13-of-16 shooting, 10 rebounds and five blocks to lead Baylor to a 109-59 win over Yale Tuesday night in front of 7,681 fans at the Ferrell Center.
It was Yale's second-ever meeting with Baylor, but it was the Bulldogs' first-ever encounter with a team that was ranked No. 1 in the nation.
However, despite the 50-point margin, the Bulldogs came out of the gates and challenged the Bears in every aspect of the game. By the first media timeout with 14:34 remaining in the opening half, Yale held a 15-11 lead thanks in large part to a flurry of big plays from sophomore center Zenab Keita against Griner. Keita scored Yale's first seven points of the game, passing her previous career high of six points just 3:57 into the game, and she made big plays on both ends of the court. And when the game reached its third media timeout with 7:51 left in the half, Yale was still on top, 26-25.
That's when Griner took charge. She scored 13 points in a 32-7 run over the final over the final 7:17 of the half to propel the Bears into a 57-33 halftime lead. At the halftime break, Griner had 21 points on 9-of-10 shooting and five rebounds.
Yale had trouble regaining the control that it had in the opening 12 minutes of the game, but there were some shining stars in the Yale Blue uniforms.
Keita finished the game with 13 points to go along with two assists, two steals and two blocks, reaching new career-high marks with all of those statistics. Freshman guard Sarah Halejian also had a career-high 13 points.
The Bulldogs still have four more days in Texas before they return home to New Haven. The trip ends with a pair of games in the David Jones Classic holiday tournament, which opens with Yale facing the tournament host University of Houston on Friday in junior guard Allie Messimer's hometown of Houston, Texas. Yale closes out the tournament against Texas-Pan American on Saturday.
Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity