Baylor announced two hours before tip-off of an exhibition game against Texas A&M-International Friday night that starting point guard Kelli Griffin was no longer on the team. According to a press release, the senior quit the squad. After the game head coach Kim Mulkey addressed Griffin’s departure.
“Kelli just didn’t show up at practice this week and just doesn’t want to play basketball anymore,” said Mulkey.
Griffin is no longer listed on the Baylor roster on the team’s website. Sophomore Kimetria Hayden started in Griffin’s place. Sophomore Shanay Washington and freshman Odyssey Sims also put in minutes at the point guard position.
“I am just looking at different people. [Kimetria] Hayden was in there for Kelli Griffin,” said Mulkey, “and [Shanay]…is getting healthy, so she is back in the lineup.”
Mulkey discusssed the experience of her young guards. Sims, who was nation’s top-ranked high school point guard this year, is coming back from an ACL injury suffered in March. She was unable to participate in the McDonald’s All-American game last spring.
“What they don’t have that Kelli had is just experience at that position,” she said. “Kelli’s a senior, [Sims] is a freshman and [Hayden] is a sophomore.”
Preseason All-American and Baylor center Brittney Griner had 25 points, six rebounds and five blocked shots in 21 minutes, as No. 2 Baylor beat TAMI, 107-26 in front of a crowd of 6,711.
“Brittney has played strong in practice and she has got to do that to elevate her game,” said Mulkey. “I don’t look necessarily at the score or who we are playing, I look at things she is doing when she is being fouled. There were a couple of times there tonight when she had a couple of them hanging on her and she went up strong regardless of the score or how small the girls were. I just think that Brittney is playing good basketball right now.”
All of Baylor’s players entered the game.
“We got to play everybody,” said Mulkey. “When you play everybody, everybody is happy, and when you win by a big margin, everybody is happy.”
The Lady Bears jumped out to a 22-0 lead before the Dust Devils’ put a free throw on the board at the 12:34 mark of the first half. Baylor held a 55-11 lead at the break.
Ashley Field and Brooklyn Pope scored 13 each for Baylor and Whitney Zachariason had 12 points.
The Lady Bears will open regular-season play on Friday, Nov. 12 at 6:30 p.m. against Florida International.