Griner looks to shoot as Kansas State's Branshea Brown defends
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Offense is a given for No. 3 Baylor, so coach Kim Mulkey was especially pleased with the defense and rebounding effort that advanced the Lady Bears to the Big 12 tournament final.
"Those kids come to your program as some of the best players in the country, but those kids have never had to guard anybody," Mulkey said. "That's the biggest adjustment and where you see the most improvement."
Baylor will meet Texas A&M on Saturday.
Point guard Odyssey Sims added 14 while holding Kansas State's top scorer Brittany Chambers to 3-of-11 shooting and eight points. Kelsey Hill led the fourth-seeded Wildcats (21-10) with 14 points.
Williams finished 7-for-9 from the field. The offensive emergence of Williams gives opponents more to think about as they try to contain Griner inside.
"I just feel comfortable out there," Williams said. "Shooters just have to keep shooting."
The 6-foot-8 Griner scored all her points in just 29 minutes, and her intimidating presence left Kansas State mainly shooting from the perimeter.
"She's a phenom and she's only going to get better," Mulkey said.
Griner and Williams left the game midway through the second half with Baylor up by 30 points.
The inside-outside combination of Griner and Sims sustained Baylor throughout the first half. Griner set the tone by posting up and hitting two short jumpers for the opening four points.
Baylor rolled to a 22-5 lead midway through the first half, but the Wildcats rallied from long range. Kansas State was 7-of-13 from behind the arc in the first half and received a big boost from Hill, who was 3-of-4 from 3-point range. One 3-pointer by Hill brought the Wildcats within 28-19 before consecutive 3s by Sims quickly pushed Baylor's lead to 15.
When Kansas State relied on its zone defense to limit Griner's touches around the basket, Sims hit four 3-pointers. She finished the half with all 14 of her points, while Griner added 12 for a 41-26 lead at the break.
"The first half, we might not have been our best, but I think we were keeping the game competitive," Kansas State coach Deb Patterson said. "The second 20 minutes, we just failed in our ability to do that."
Baylor had 22 offensive rebounds, tying for the fourth-most in Big 12 tournament history.
Kansas State's Jalana Childs played just three minutes because of a hip flexor strain. Patterson is hopeful Childs will be healthy for the NCAA tournament.
Baylor's lead swelled to 38 points with 4:20 remaining.
"We knew we had to defend them all 30 seconds of the shot clock, and that's what we did," Sims said.