AMES, Iowa (AP) — Brittney Griner scored 22 points, blocked six shots and dunked for the 11th time in her career in leading top-ranked Baylor past No. 24 Iowa State 66-51 on Wednesday night.
Baylor (17-1, 7-0 Big 12) took control early, running off 17 straight points in the first half while holding Iowa State scoreless for 11½ minutes. The Cyclones (13-4, 4-3) had taken a quick 6-4 lead on a pair of 3-pointers, but didn’t score again until Baylor was up 21-6.
Griner triggered the big run when she picked off a pass intended for Anna Prins, drove unimpeded to the other end and threw down a two-handed dunk. It was just one more slam for the most prolific dunker in women’s college basketball history.
Odyssey Sims added 12 points and Alexis Prince 11 for Baylor, which won its 29th straight regular season conference game.
The Lady Bears got it done typical fashion. They played harassing defense that created turnovers or forced the Cyclones into awkward shots and Griner dominated in the middle, hitting a variety of turnaround jumpers and intimidating shooters who ventured into the lane.
The 6-foot-8 Griner had four blocks in the game’s first 7:11 and ran her career total to 657. And those blocks didn’t all come near the basket. Late in the game, Griner ventured out to the perimeter to swat away Nikki Moody’s 3-point shot.
Grinner, who sat the final 6:50 after picking up her fourth foul, needs just seven more blocks to break the NCAA record of 663 by Louella Tomlinson of Saint Mary’s.
Baylor held Iowa State to 36 percent shooting and forced 18 turnovers, including three early shot clock violations that set the tone for the Lady Bears on the defensive end. Iowa State managed only three field goals in the first 16 1/2 minutes, but the Cyclones settled down after halftime and made a run at the Lady Bears.
Prins, a 6-7 senior who held her own against Griner, led Iowa State with 17 points and Brynn Williamson scored 11, all in the second half.
Iowa State did hold Baylor to a season-low point total by slowing the pace to shorten the game. But with the Cyclones struggling to score, it didn’t matter in the end.
And Baylor has a way of making plays that can break an opponent’s will.
Late in the first half, Sims swiped the ball from Moody, drove for a layup and missed. But she corralled the rebound and scored on the putback.
After Iowa State’s Hallie Christofferson hit a baseline jumper cut the lead to 28-16, Baylor called time with 2.4 seconds left in the first half. The Lady Bears inbounded to Griner at halfcourt, she turned and fired the ball to Sims on the left wing and the junior guard buried a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Down by as many as 18, Iowa State drew to 31-18 when Prins scored inside against Griner, and trailed just 43-31 when Chelsea Poppens got free for a layup with 11:05 remaining.
Baylor answered with a 23-11 to end any upset threat, finishing that burst with Griner on the bench.
The Lady Bears’ previous low for the season came in a 67-39 victory over Iowa State in Waco on Jan. 9.
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