Playing a college basketball game in her hometown of Houston for the first time, Griner received a standing ovation from the predominantly Baylor-backing crowd when she was announced before the game.
The 6-foot-8 senior added nine rebounds and four blocks as Baylor (6-1) raced to a 46-17 halftime lead and never looked back.
When Griner was benched with more than 12 minutes remaining in the game, she had seven more points than Rice’s entire team.
Jessica Kuster scored 18 points for Rice (2-4) in the loss. The Owls missed 15 of their first 16 shots from the field and shot under 25 percent against Baylor’s stellar defense.
Baylor All-American point guard Odyssey Sims missed her fourth straight game since sustaining a strained hamstring in the Lady Bears’ loss to Stanford.
NO. 24 IOWA STATE 87, DRAKE 45
In Ames, Iowa, Hallie Christofferson had 20 points and 10 rebounds and Nicole Blaskowsky and Anna Prins added 17 points each as Iowa State defeated Drake.
Nikki Moody had 15 points and 10 assists for the Cyclones (5-0), who have won eight of their past nine games.