No. 1 Baylor 90, Kansas St. 69

Brittney Griner took a pass from Niya Johnson in the paint,

turned around and with one hand stuffed it through the rim to bring

a road crowd roaring to its feet.

Her 10th career dunk capped off another impressive performance

from the Baylor star.

Griner finished with 29 points as the top-ranked Lady Bears

rolled to a 90-69 victory over undersized Kansas State on Wednesday

night. Baylor won its 13th straight since an early loss to then-No.

4 Stanford, and has now won 27 consecutive regular-season Big 12

games.

”I thought Brittney was aggressive,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey

said afterward.

Griner pushed her career scoring total to 2,770, and needs just

66 points to break former Oklahoma State star Andrea Riley’s Big 12

record. Griner also had three blocks to give her 642, trailing only

Saint Mary’s Louella Tomlinson by 21 for the career NCAA

record.

As for the dunk, well, she’s done it before.

It never fails to draw a gasp, though.

”When Niya threw it to me, she was on my hip and I was

turning,” Griner said. ”I just jumped up and there was the rim,

and I was coming down and grabbed it. Dunked it.”

Brooklyn Pope added 12 points and Kimetria Hayden had 11 for the

Lady Bears (15-1, 5-0), who now own the nation’s longest conference

winning streak after Stanford’s loss last week.

The Wildcats managed to stay close in the first half by making

eight 3-pointers, but they went cold after the break and the Lady

Bears answered with a 21-3 run to put the game away.

Kansas State wound up hitting 13 of a school-record 44 3-point

attempts.

Brittany Chambers had four of them and finished with 23 points

for the Wildcats (10-7, 1-4), whose only victory since December

came by a point to Big 12 bottom-dweller TCU.

”We had streaks where we made some mistakes and we weren’t

getting to rotations for that segment in the second half,” Kansas

State coach Deb Patterson said. ”But all in all, for a 40-minute

mentality, I think we were better tonight.”

The Wildcats rarely tested Griner all night.

They lost 6-foot-1 junior Katya Leick for the season with a knee

injury, which means their tallest regulars are 5-11 forwards Ashia

Woods and Ashlynn Knoll. So rather than tangle with the 6-8 Griner

in the paint, they used penetration to open up perimeter shots.

It was the fifth time Kansas State hit at least 10 3s in a game

this season, and the 44 attempts shattered the school record of 36

set against UTEP on Dec. 16.

Kansas State’s first seven attempts were from deep, and that

allowed the Wildcats to keep pace with a Baylor offense that

converted its first six field goals – all inside the arc.

Griner was content to get the ball anywhere within 10 feet of

the basket, turn around and pop a flat-footed shot over the

swarming but smaller Kansas State defenders.

The All-American forward had 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting in

the first half.

The Lady Bears looked as if they’d pull away from Kansas State

when Griner’s two baskets midway through the first half gave them a

27-17 lead. The Wildcats only scored on one of their next nine

possessions – a 3-pointer, naturally – as Baylor opened up a 34-20

lead with 7:52 left.

But the Wildcats started to get to the foul line, and then

little-used Heidi Brown hit a 3-pointer and Chambers added her

second of the night. Kansas State had scratched and clawed within

42-37 before baskets by Hayden and Destiny Williams gave Baylor a

46-37 halftime cushion.

”We were on a run, feeling it,” Chambers said. ”You can’t get

a ton of easy baskets around the rim when you have someone like

Griner in the game.”

The 3-pointers stopped falling in the second half, though, and

that allowed the Lady Bears to score 10 straight points and stretch

their lead to 56-37 with 17 minutes to go.

Chambers’ 3-pointer finally ended Kansas State’s drought, but

Sims answered with a three-point play for Baylor to start another

11-0 run. Williams’ basket and two foul shots by Odyssey Sims made

it 67-40, and the Lady Bears coasted the rest of the way.

”Give Kansas State credit,” Mulkey said. ”They spread the

floor on you. They wanted to bring Brittney away from the basket,

and they made a lot of shots. Give them credit. In the second half

we made a few adjustments.”