Baylor center Brittney Griner reacts to being fouled on a shot attempt
WACO, Texas (AP) - That quickly, the Baylor Lady Bears put behind them the loss that ended their 21-game winning streak and knocked them out of the No. 1 spot in the polls.
They also got a step closer to their most immediate goal of winning the Big 12 regular season title.
Brittney Griner scored 21 of her 26 points before halftime, and the third-ranked Lady Bears led the entire game in a 75-48 victory over Kansas State on Wednesday night.
"Baylor obviously established Brittney early in the game. And I feel badly that I don't think we matched the intensity that they brought to the floor and certainly not the focus and the intelligence that I think we're capable of bringing," Wildcats coach Deb Patterson said. "But it pretty much was a dominating performance by Baylor."
The Lady Bears (25-2, 12-1 Big 12), coming off the 56-45 loss Saturday at Texas Tech that ended their 21-game winning streak, scored the game's first seven points against Kansas State. They led 22-6 only 8 minutes in after Kimetria Hayden's layup.
"We were ready to come in and play our kind of basketball," Griner said. "My first few times down the court, I was trying to move around, get open and demand the ball. ... You definitely don't want to lose, but it opened our eyes. We knew we could rebound from it."
Griner's 21 points at halftime were only two less than Kansas State had as a team, when Baylor led 41-23. The only reason the Wildcats managed to outscored the 6-foot-8 sophomore sensation is because Jalana Childs hit a jumper in the closing seconds.
"You've just got to make sure you bounce back after a tough loss, and I thought we did," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said.
Baylor is 18-0 at home this season and has a one-game lead over fifth-ranked Texas A&M (23-3, 11-2) in the Big 12 standings with three league games left. The Lady Bears own the tiebreaker over the Aggies after sweeping both games in the regular season series.
"I won't feel good about (the Big 12 race) until we're done in Colorado," Mulkey said. "It doesn't take a genius to figure that we're still in the lead, and a loss is not going to lose the conference race. It may share it with A&M, but we've just got to keep winning. ... If you can win three (games), you don't have to share."
The Lady Bears play at No. 16 Oklahoma on Sunday, then play their regular season home finale against Missouri before playing at Colorado.
Baylor opened the second half with a 16-3 run during which six different players scored for them to stretch the lead to 57-26.
Childs led the Wildcats with 22 points while Brittany Chambers scored 15.
Melissa Jones finished with 11 points and nine rebounds for Baylor, which made quite a turnaround in four days.
"We certainly understood that with a team of this quality and a program of this quality, that wasn't going to last," Patterson said. "I'm just disappointed that our ebb game came right after their ebb game, and unfortunately we ran into what you might call a buzzsaw and we weren't even remotely prepared to answer it on either end of the floor."
Several times early, Kansas State was forced to throw up difficult shots with the 30-second clock winding down -- and made a couple of them. Brianna Kulas banged in a jumper off the glass for the Wildcats' second basket. Stephanie Wittman's desperation jumper fell to get K-State within 17-6.
Baylor came in the game leading the nation by holding opponents to only 31 percent shooting from the field. The Wildcats shot 33 percent (10 of 30) in the first half and finished 37 percent overall (18 of 49).
After Hayden's layup for the early 16-point lead, Chambers hit consecutive 3-pointers to pull the Wildcats within 10 points. They never got closer.