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K-State's 3s come up short in loss to No. 1 Baylor

  • Article by: DAVE SKRETTA
  • Associated Press
  • January 16, 2013 - 9:51 PM

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The only problem that Kansas State coach Deb Patterson had with her team hoisting up a school-record 44 3-pointers Wednesday night is that the Wildcats didn't make more of them.

The undersized Wildcats, with no regulars standing over 5-foot-11, figured it was better to camp outside than tussle with 6-8 Baylor star Brittney Griner in the paint. So they kept chucking up 3s, most of them wide open, and for a while that kept them in the game.

But a cold streak early in the second half allowed the top-ranked Lady Bears to go on a 21-3 run, and Kansas State never could recover in a 90-69 loss.

"We put ourselves in position to put some pressure on them, if you make those shots," Patterson said. "I thought our shot selection was good. We got a little penetration here and there along the way, but you only get x-number of opportunities to penetrate with Brittney and Brooklyn (Pope) and Destiny (Williams) in there. I was OK with the 3-point number."

The attempts. Not so much the makes.

The Wildcats (10-7, 1-4 Big 12) hit 13 for the game, and Brittany Chambers had four of them on her way to a team-high 23 points. Ashia Woods finished with 11.

"Although the margin was big tonight," Chambers said, "I thought it was a huge confidence boost to play Baylor pretty close for 35 minutes."

Griner scored 29 points, including her 10th career dunk, as the Lady Bears (15-1, 4-0 Big 12) won their 13th straight overall and their 27th consecutive regular-season Big 12 game. Pope added 12 points and Kimetria Hayden had 11 as Baylor shot 58.3 percent from the field.

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.

"Give Kansas State credit," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. "They spread the floor on you. They wanted to bring Brittney away from the basket, and they made a lot of shots."

The Wildcats went 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 Griner in the post, 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 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.

"We had streaks where we made some mistakes and we weren't getting to rotations for that segment in the second half," Patterson said. "But all in all, for a 40-minute mentality, I think we were better tonight."

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