15-12, 5-10 Conf
28-0, 15-0 Conf

No. 1 Baylor clinches Big 12 outright, loses Shanay Washington again

WACO, Texas -- There was no big celebration for top-ranked Baylor after claiming the outright Big 12 title in Brittney Griner's 100th career game.

The Lady Bears, who had a full-scale celebration after gaining at least a share of the title over the weekend, wrapped up the conference championship with an 80-59 victory over Texas on Tuesday night. The clincher was soured by another injury to guard Shanay Washington in the closing seconds.

"It's a big downer, a big downer," coach Kim Mulkey said. "You just won a conference championship outright, you clinched it, you played dominating, everybody played. And to have something like that happen in the last seconds of the game, life's not fair."

Washington, who returned just a month ago from a torn ACL in her left knee after playing only five games last season, crumbled to the floor with 16 seconds left after contesting a shot. The sophomore guard grabbed the bulky brace protecting her knee and could be heard crying as the home crowd went silent.

Mulkey said Washington heard a pop after coming down with most of her weight on that knee and that the player believed she re-injured the knee. Washington had a combined four ACL surgeries, two on each knee.

"I guess her prognosis is that she thinks it's torn again," Mulkey said. "Shanay knows what she feels."

Washington remained down for several minutes before getting up with help and walking gingerly off the court. She was taken to the hospital after the game.

Griner, who arrived at Baylor with Washington, had 18 points and 10 rebounds for her 40th career double-double.

After a pregame ceremony when the 6-foot-8 junior phenom was recognized for becoming Baylor's fourth 2,000-point career scorer earlier this season, Griner put the Lady Bears (28-0, 15-0 Big 12) ahead to stay with a layup only 31 seconds into the game.

The Lady Bears had clinched a share of the title with a win over Texas Tech on Saturday night, when they cut down the nets and got championship T-shirts for their second consecutive Big 12 regular season title, and third overall.

After beating Texas (15-12, 5-10) to ensure they wouldn't have to share the title, the reaction was much more subdued.

Baylor players had the customary postgame handshake with the opposing team, and then stood in front of the band for the usual playing of the alma mater. They slapped hands with a few fans lining the edge of the court, but nothing like the raucous celebration three nights earlier, especially with Washington already in the locker room.

"Just a loss of words. It was very hard to see her go down like that and crying and saying that it's over," Kimetria Hayden said. "After the game, we went back there and prayed for her, told her everything is going to be OK."

Hayden had 17 points in 21 minutes for the Lady Bears. Destiny Williams had 11 points and 10 rebounds for her 11th double-double in 52 career games.

Yvonne Anderson had 16 points to lead Texas. Chassidy Fussell had 13 points and 13 rebounds.

Baylor extended its school record with its 39th consecutive home victory, matching fifth-ranked Miami for the second-longest active streak. Second-ranked Stanford has won 76 in a row at home.

"I think they proved once again why they're the No. 1-ranked team in the country," Longhorns coach Gail Goestenkors said. "We did some things defensively that bothered them initially, but they did what they always do. They adjust."

The last home loss for the Lady Bears was in March 2010 against Texas.

With their poor shooting, the Longhorns never had a chance to repeat that feat.

Baylor jumped out to a 15-3 lead in the first 7 minutes.

The only points for the Longhorns in that opening spurt came on Fussell's 3-pointer from the right wing 2½ minutes into the game. They then missed eight shots in a row over the next five minutes before Fussell finally made a jumper.

After Brooklyn Pope's strong move inside for a layup with 10:35 left in the first half put the Lady Bears up 18-7, they maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the game.

Baylor built as much as a 28-point lead in the second half, when Griner played only sparingly before Mulkey had several little-used reserve players on the court together.

Baylor plays its next two games on the road, at Kansas and Texas A&M, before its regular season finale March 3 at home against Iowa State.

Three Texas starters were scoreless at halftime, when the Longhorns trailed 40-20 and were shooting only 21 percent (8 of 39), doing their best to avoid Griner. They finished shooting 34 percent (25 of 73).

"I feel like we came in timid," Fussell said. "And she's so tall and blocks so many shots."