K-State loses 90-68 at No. 1 Baylor, Griner has 50
Posted at: 03/04/2013 10:09 PM
By STEPHEN HAWKINS
(AP) WACO, Texas - Kansas State did the only thing that would provide any chance for an upset at top-ranked Baylor.
The undersized and injury-plagued Wildcats kept shooting 3s, and made school record-tying 15 of them.
While they avoided the inside defensive presence of Brittney Griner, they couldn’t stop the Lady Bears’ 6-foot-8 two-time All American on the offensive end.
Griner scored a Big 12-record 50 points in her final regular season game, including her first dunk at home since her freshman season, as Baylor won 90-68 to wrap up its second undefeated Big 12 title in a row.
"You exploit your opponent’s weakness, and our biggest player is 5-11, so we can throw a double team at you, and if you’re on your game, you’re probably going to be successful," K-State coach Deb Patterson said. "It’s one of the better performances that I’ve seen. ... It’s a great, great performance, but you understand the undersized nature of your opponent."
Kansas State (14-16, 5-13) made four 3-pointers in the first 4 minutes of the second half to stay close despite Griner’s rim-rocking highlight.
Griner’s dunk with 16:56 left put Baylor (29-1, 18-0) up 54-45, but Chantay Caron responded with a 3-pointer for the Wildcats and then stole the ball from Griner, leading to a layup by Haley Texada that cut the gap to 54-50.
The Wildcats were within 63-60 with just under 12 minutes left when Brittany Chambers leaned in to make a tough layup. But they never got closer as Baylor responded with 23-2 run over the next 9 minutes that included 17 points in a row.
"The end results of this game, obviously, is a big margin of victory for Baylor," Patterson said. "I was really proud of how long our team was able to keep this game within reach. I think we competed hard tonight. ... Congratulations to Brittney. At the same time, I felt like all but about seven minutes of that game, we competed extremely well."
Baylor is the first team to twice go through Big 12 play without a loss. The Lady Bears have won a record 46 consecutive Big 12 games, including tournament games, and have won 55 in a row at home.
The defending national champions play their Big 12 tournament opener Saturday in Dallas, and host an NCAA regional in three weeks.
"Postseason, it’s here. It’s time," Griner said. "It’s time to bring it."
Chambers had 22 points to lead five K-State players in double figures _ all played at least 35 minutes with only two reserves in uniform. The Wildcats got 13 points from Texada, 12 from Brianna Craig, 11 from Caron and 10 from Mariah White.
Destiny Williams had 14 points for Baylor, and Odyssey Sims had 12 points. Hayden had nine points and eight assists.
Griner made 21 of 28 field goals and eight of 10 free throws, but her 50 points didn’t set a Baylor single-game record. Mary Lowry had a 54-point game for the Lady Bears in 1994, before the formation of the Big 12.
With her 3,123 career points, Griner moved into second place on the NCAA career scoring list behind Jackie Stiles, who had 3,393 points for Missouri State from 1997-2001.
Griner’s 14th career dunk was her first at the Ferrell Center since her freshman season.
She got a pass from fellow senior Kimetria Hayden, took a step around a defender along the baseline and went up for a one-handed slam that sent the record-tying crowd of 10,627 into a frenzy. It was her third career dunk against K-State.
"It means everything to just go out with a bang like that," Griner said. "Got a dunk finally at home, scored 50. I mean there’s not a better way to go out."
The 6-foot-8 Griner got her first career dunk as a freshman in November 2009, then had two in a game at home against Texas State on Jan. 2, 2010. The last 10 slams had been on the road, including six already this season.
"She’s been getting a lot of questions about when’s the next time you’re gonna dunk it at home," coach Kim Mulkey said. "I guess she saved it."
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)