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Griner leads No. 1 Baylor women past K-State 90-69

AP - Sports
Griner leads No. 1 Baylor women past K-State 90-69
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Kansas State guard Mariah White (22) tries to steal the ball from Baylor guard Kimetria Hayden (1) during …

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) -- 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.''

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