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Griner, Baylor easily beat Kansas State

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- It's a familiar scene after Baylor games, even those in "enemy" territory. Little voices crying out, "Brittney, Brittney, Brittney!" Little hands frantically working cell phone cameras. Little faces creased by huge smiles.

"You should have seen it at TCU," one of Baylor's traveling party said of the lengthy gauntlet of young fans who awaited senior center Brittney Griner earlier this month as she tried to make her way to the team bus in Fort Worth, Texas. "But it's like this everywhere."

At Bramlage Coliseum on Wednesday, Griner gave the audience what it wanted. OK, well, not the upset Kansas State folks hoped for. Baylor (15-1 overall, 5-0 Big 12) has now won 14 in a row against the Wildcats.

But Griner did have a one-handed dunk -- the 10th slam of her college career -- late in No. 1 Baylor’s 90-69 victory over the Wildcats. And the K-State fans applauded that.

Griner finished with 29 points, seven rebounds and three assists against a K-State squad that is practically all guards. The undersized Wildcats have to try to beat teams from behind the arc, and they gave it their best Wednesday. K-State was 13 of 44 from long range.

"They spread the floor on you, and they wanted to bring Brittney away from the basket,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “They made a lot of shots. In the second half, we made a few adjustments on the defensive end. I don't like the fact that we gave up 69 points, but I guess you’re going to give up points when they shoot that many 3's.

"I thought we pretty much scored well. When you shoot almost 60 percent from the field, you're shooting pretty well. But they run a style of offense that is kind of out of the ordinary, because they're small and all shoot the 3-ball."

You might assume teams such as K-State stretch Griner a bit out of her comfort zone defensively … but the truth is, she looked pretty comfortable handling it. This isn't new, of course, but it's still something to truly appreciate about Griner. Defensively, she does everything most great post players do, but also a lot more.

Mulkey talked about how Griner's length and athleticism help her both pressure the ball but also recover well if someone gets around her. The Wildcats didn't shoot that many 3-pointers just because that's their style, but also because they got so few looks anywhere inside the arc. The Griner-led defense saw to that.

"It’s just knowing how to help my team out on help side, but also knowing where my man is," Griner said. "In case they kick it to her, I can get out in time to block the shot or at least have a hand up."

Mulkey said, "I thought Brittney was aggressive. And you guys got to see the dunk. It happens quickly, don’t blink."

What doesn't happen quickly, though, is a Griner getaway after games. Initially headed up the ramp at Bramlage on the way to the bus after exiting the locker room, Griner couldn't ignore the little voices.

She came back to pose for pictures with kids, even one boy who was wearing a burnt-orange Texas shirt here in Wildcat country. Two grinning youngsters were swept up effortlessly by Griner for a photo, one in each arm.

You could call that her last power move of the night.