Griner leads No. 1 Bears past K-State

By The Mercury

WACO, Texas — Kansas State made a run at Baylor, but it wasn’t enough to knock off the top-ranked Bears on senior night at the Ferrell Center.

Brittney Griner set a Big 12 single-game record with 50 points, as the 6-foot-8 superstar led the Bears past K-State 90-68 Monday night.

The Wildcats used four straight 3-pointers from four different players to open the second half and cut Baylor’s lead to four at 54-50 with 15:27 to play. 

K-State was within 63-60 when Brittany Chambers leaned in to make a tough layup with just under 12 minutes left. But the Wildcats 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,” K-State coach Deb Patterson said. “I was really proud of how long our team was able to keep this game within reach. Congratulations to Brittney… At the same time, I felt like all but about seven minutes of that game, we competed extremely well.”

Griner made 21 of 28 field goals and 8 of 10 free throws. With 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 1997-01. Baylor would play nine games if it advances to the Big 12 and NCAA tournament championships, meaning Griner would have to average 30 points in those match Stiles.

The Bears shot 70 percent from the field, as two other players reached double figures. Destiny Williams scored 14 points, while Odyssey Sims finished with 12.

Five players scored in double figures for K-State, led by Chambers’ 22 points and seven rebounds. The injury-plagued and undersized Wildcats — whose tallest players are 5-11 — got 13 points from Haley Texada, 12 from Bri Craig, 11 from Chantay Caron and 10 from Mariah White.

K-State (14-16, 5-13 Big 12) dashed out to an 11-6 lead with 15:55 to play in the first half, with the Wildcats knocking down 3 of 4 from 3-point range to register the early lead.

The Bears (29-1, 18-0) answered with an 8-0 run to secure a 14-11 lead with 13:11 to go in the opening half. But the Wildcats answered back, going ahead 17-16 on a Chambers 3-pointer with 11:40 to play.

Baylor would then use a 19-6 run to secure a 35-23 lead with 3:28 to play in the first half.

The Bears led 45-34 at halftime, as Baylor shot a season-high 75 percent (18 of 24) from the field in the opening 20 minutes.

K-State was 8 of 21 from beyond the arc in the first half and finished 15 of 35 for the game. The 35 attempts pushed K-State’s season total and school record to 852 and set a new Big 12 record for attempts, blowing past the previous mark of 835 by Iowa State in the 2008-09 season.

K-State will return to the state of Texas later this week, as the Wildcats open the Big 12 Championships Friday night at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. The Wildcats will face Texas at 6 p.m. in the first round.

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