HARTFORD, Conn. — Brittney Griner scored 25 points, including the 3,000th of her career, to help No. 1 Baylor rally past third-ranked Connecticut 76-70 on Monday night, extending the Bears’ winning streak to 23 games.
Griner became the eighth player in Division I history to reach the milestone, doing it on two free throws with 1:05 left. She finished with 21 points in the second half.
The defending national champion Lady Bears’ only loss this season came in Hawaii against Stanford back in November. Baylor (25-1) went 40-0 last season en route to the school’s second national championship.
Baylor led 54-53 midway through the second half before Griner took over. She scored seven points during the burst, and her putback made it 67-61 with 5 minutes left.
UConn rallied behind Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis to make it a 67-65, but Griner answered with a putback. Then she hit the two free throws 1:30 later to make it 73-67 and seal the win.
Griner had missed key free throws down the stretch when she was a sophomore and her team lost at Connecticut by one point. She wasn’t going to let that happen again, beating the only team in the country that she didn’t have a winning record against.
The game, hyped up all season, lived up to its billing – even though neither coach wanted to put too much emphasis on this one, knowing there will be a lot more at stake if the schools meet again in the NCAA tournament.
Baylor has already clinched the Big 12 regular-season title.
No. 8 Kentucky 70, Texas A&M 66: DeNesha Stallworth had 12 points and 12 rebounds as No. 8 Kentucky held off 10th-ranked Texas A&M in College Station, Texas.
Courtney Walker scored four quick points, the last two when she drove hard to the basket for a layup, to trim Texas A&M’s deficit to 66-64 with about a minute remaining.
Kentucky (23-3, 11-2 SEC) missed a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired, but it bounced off the rim and Stallworth batted the rebound to Bria Goss for an easy layup that made it 68-64.
Walker was fouled on a made jump shot with 4 seconds left and purposely missed the ensuing free throw. But Goss grabbed the rebound and hit two free throws to seal it.
Walker’s 20 points led Texas A&M (20-6, 10-2), which lost for the first time since Jan. 10 at Kentucky.
Davidson 67, Wofford 54: The Wildcats (16-9, 13-2) shot 67percent from the field in the second half in the Southern Conference home win.
Davidson’s Sophia Aleksandravicius had 26 points – 20 in the second half – and made 11 of 13 from the field and all four of her free throw attempts. She also had nine rebounds and three blocked shots. Laura Murray added 11 points, and Sarah Davis had 10. Morgan Wrightson scored 21 for Wofford (7-16, 2-13).
Appalachian State 63, Western Carolina 32: Maryah Sydnor had 16 points, Anna Freeman had 12 points and 10 rebounds and Courtney Freeman added 11 points as the Mountaineers (17-6, 11-4 Southern) rolled at Western Carolina (7-18, 5-11). The Catamounts committed 32 turnovers.
Appalachian State led 27-11 at halftime.
S.C. State 40, N.C. Central 39: Trinese Fox scored 10 to lead S.C. State (15-7, 7-4 MEAC) at home. N.C. Central’s Chasidy Williams missed the front-end of a one-and-one free throw opportunity with 2.2 seconds to play. Aja Hoyle scored 11 and Tisha Dixon 10 for the Eagles (1-24, 1-11).
Staff and wire reports