No. 15 Baylor 65, Kansas St. 47

Pulling her chair away from the table, Baylor coach Kim Mulkey

started to stand up, then bent back down to the microphone.

“How many of y’all have seen a girl dunk in game?” Mulkey

said. “First time? My god, tell your buddies what they missed,

huh.”

Even watching it for the fourth time this season, Brittney

Griner’s coach is impressed with her ability to make dunking so

look easy.

Griner added to her growing dunk dossier with a one-handed slam

on the way to 26 points and blocked eight shots to singlehandedly

overwhelm Kansas State defensively, lifting No. 15 Baylor to a

65-47 victory over the Wildcats Wednesday night.

“Everything we expected, she brought to the floor,” Kansas

State coach Deb Patterson said.

With Griner, it always starts with the dunks.

The 6-foot-8 freshman with the 88-inch wingspan became the

seventh woman ever to dunk in a game in November, when she threw

one down against Jacksonsville. She joined Tennessee’s Candace

Parker as the only one to do it twice in the same game against

Texas State last month.

Griner needed two tries to flush against Kansas State.

The first came with about 7 minutes left in the game. She missed

and was quickly admonished by Mulkey, who told her to make sure to

make it if she’s going to try to dunk.

Griner shook her head in acknowledgment and did make sure two

minutes later, grabbing an offensive rebound, drop-stepping, then

throwing it down with the nonchalance basketball fans are used to

seeing from the men. The crowd, including several Kansas State’s

men’s players, let out an “ooohhh!” after it went through, proof

that it’s still an accomplishment no matter how easy Griner makes

it seem.

“The first one, I didn’t really go up as strong as I should,”

said Griner, who was 9 of 18 from the floor and had seven rebounds.

“The second one, I knew I had for sure.”

The dunk was the highlight, but Griner changed the game

defensively.

She dominated inside by swatting shots and forcing Kansas State

(11-10, 3-4) away from the basket to give Baylor (16-5, 3-4 Big 12)

its first true road win since beating California on Nov. 22.

First the blocks. She swatted one into Baylor’s bench early,

another over the photographers on the baseline. One in the second

half against Brittany Chambers nearly bounced back up to the rim

off the floor and Griner also got Ashley Sweat without leaving her

feet.

Griner broke the Big 12 single-season record for blocks in a

season with 122, blowing past the Big 12 record of 119 set by

Oklahoma’s Courtney Paris in 36 games during the 2005-06 season.

Griner also broke the Bramlage Coliseum record with her seventh

block midway through the second half and had at least eight blocks

for the ninth time this season.

Of course, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise; Griner has more

blocked shots per game than all but 11 of the 332 Division I

teams.

“Her presence in there gives our perimeter players confidence

if they should get beat off the dribble,” Mulkey said. “Because

when you go by one player for Baylor, there she stands and you have

to make decisions.”

More than the swats, though, she took Kansas State out of its

offense. The Wildcats spent most of the night swinging the ball

around the perimeter, unable and sometimes unwilling to get to ball

inside against the long-armed center.

Sweat was the only one to have much success, using quick shots

and fadeaways against Griner on her way to 22 points. She was the

only one double figures for Kansas State, which shot 30

percent.

“As the game wore on, I think we got more and more tentative

and kind of lost our personality on offense,” Patterson said.

Griner made it look easy at times on offense, often shooting

over the smaller Wildcats, who had no chance of blocking her shots.

She scored six straight points to key a short run early in the

second half, then hit a jumper and powered through for a

three-point play that put the Bears 56-41 with 8 minutes left.

That was just the preamble to what everyone came to see: the

dunk.

“I’ve never seen a female, in a live game, able to execute a

one-dribble, drop-step dunk,” Patterson said. “You just realize

that she’s a phenom with respect to bringing those elements to our

game. I think it goes without saying that she’s just a very special

young talent.”