Baylor, Griner roll by Lady Wildcats
MANHATTAN (AP) — Brittney Griner scored 29 points and top-ranked Baylor routed undersized Kansas State 90-69 on Wednesday night for its 27th consecutive regular season Big 12 victory.
Brooklyn Pope added 12 points and Kimetria Hayden had 11 for the Lady Bears (15-1, 5-0), who have won 13 straight overall since losing to then-No. 4 Stanford early in the year. With the Cardinal’s loss to California last week the Lady Bears now own the longest conference winning streak.
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.
Griner pushed her career scoring total to 2,770 points, and needs just 66 to break former Oklahoma State star Andrea Riley’s Big 12 record. Griner also had three blocks against the Wildcats to give her 642, trailing only Saint Mary’s Louella Tomlinson by 21 for the career NCAA record.
Griner even brought the crowd to its feet with a one-handed dunk late in the game.
The Wildcats were going nowhere near her all game, though that was hardly a surprise.
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.
The Wildcats’ 3-point barrage finally backfired in the second half.
They missed four straight, and Bri Craig blew a pair of layups before a shot-clock violation turned the ball over. That allowed the Lady Bears to score 10 straight points, including a couple of easy buckets inside by Griner, 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.