AUSTIN, Texas — For most of the night, Brittney Griner was having a forgettable game.
Then one quick dribble, a step through the lane and Griner went up for a two-handed dunk. And just like that, No. 1 Baylor was on its way to another rout, 75-48 over Texas on Saturday night.
Griner’s dunk came early in a 21-4 second half run that put the game away on a night that the Lady Bears’ All-American struggled with foul trouble and finding the basket.
And for the record, Griner said the dunks — this was the 13th of her career — never get old in the women’s game where they remain so rare.
“It gave us some energy,” Griner said. “It got us pumped up to keep making a run.”
The dunk was the lone offensive highlight for Griner, who was a force defensively with eight blocks but had just two points in the first half and finished with 14 points and just three rebounds. Griner didn’t grab her first rebound until midway through the second half.
Odyssey Sims scored 18 points and Jordan Madden scored 14 to carry the load for the Lady Bears (22-1, 12-0 Big 12) against a Texas team that has struggled badly in coach Karen Aston’s first season.
Freshman forward Imani McGee-Stafford had 13 points and 18 rebounds to lead Texas (9-13, 2-9), which also got 13 points from freshman guard Empress Davenport.
Texas threw everything it had at the 6-foot-8 Griner, namely the 6-7 frame of McGee-Stafford, in an effort to stop her.
McGee-Stafford helped alter Griner’s first shot and Griner helped Texas stay in it early with first-half foul trouble. Griner played just nine minutes in the first half and was just 1 of 4 shooting two turnovers. McGee-Stafford nearly had her double-double by halftime with 8 points and 11 rebounds.
“Brittney Griner for me is like a human measuring stick. In high school I got compared to her a lot,” McGee-Stafford said. “I outrebounded her … She didn’t just murder me.”
Baylor turned to guards Sims and Madden to take over. Those two led a defensive effort that forced 15 Texas turnovers in the first half and Baylor led 34-25 at halftime.
Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said she left Griner on the bench for most of the first half to force her team to play without her. When asked to compare this year’s team to the one that went undefeated and won last season’s national championship, Mulkey said, “more depth.”
“When she goes out, it shows we can go on without her,” Sims said.
Griner finally shook things up with her dunk in the second half.
Baylor led 46-37 when Griner took an inbound pass near the free throw line, dribbled once around McGee-Stafford and easily went to the basket unchecked for a casual two-handed slam. Madden finished a fast break layup on the next Baylor possession. The run pushed the Lady Bears’ lead to 62-41 with 8:18 left to play.
Texas simply couldn’t match Baylor’s talent and depth throughout the lineup. Sims and the Lady Bear guards routinely picked the ball from the Longhorns, backtracked to shut down Texas fast breaks and seemed to grab every loose ball.
“I have two freshmen guards who ran the point tonight against a seasoned veteran (Sims) who is the best point guard in the country,” Aston said. “It was a chore for use to get the ball down the court.”
NO. 2 NOTRE DAME 69, SETON HALL 49
SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. — Ariel Braker matched her career high with 15 points and Natalie Achonwa added 11 points and nine rebounds as Notre Dame beat Seton for its 17th straight victory.
Notre Dame (22-1, 10-0 Big East) trailed 2-0 before scoring 17 of the next 19 points. Achonwa had seven points during the run, including back-to-back layups.
Seton Hall trailed by 14 before going on a 13-4 spurt to close to 33-28 on Tabatha Richardson-Smith’s 3-pointer with 2:29 left in the first half. The Irish led 35-28 at the break.
The Pirates (8-15, 3-7) got within eight in the second half before a 12-2 Notre Dame run.
Brittany Morris scored 16 points to lead Seton Hall.
NO. 11 LOUISVILLE 78, PITTSBURGH 45
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Shoni Schimmel led five players in double figures with 22 points and reserve Megan Deines added 17 to help Louisville rout Pittsburgh for its sixth straight win.
Deines made 7 of 11 shots in just 22 minutes, Bria Smith had 11 points, and Antonita Slaughter and Sara Hammond chipped in 10 apiece for the Cardinals (20-4, 8-2 Big East).
Brianna Kiesel scored 14 points to lead Pitt (9-14, 0-10), which made just 7 of 24 shots in the first half and trailed 39-20 at the break. The Panthers committed 26 turnovers.
The Cardinals opened the second half with a 14-3 run to stretch their lead to 53-23.
The Panthers held a 34-32 rebounding edge but got just 11 points from their reserves.
NO. 25 IOWA ST. 87, KANSAS ST. 71
AMES, Iowa — Hallie Christofferson scored 25 points and Chelsea Poppens had 22 points and 18 rebounds to lead Iowa State over Kansas State.
Kidd Blaskowsky added 12 points and Anna Prins had 10 for the Cyclones (17-5, 8-4 Big 12). Nikki Moody had nine points and 13 assists for Iowa State, which has won three in a row.
Brittany Chambers scored a season-high 34 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for Kansas State, which never led en route to its fourth straight loss. Mariah White added 25 points for the Wildcats (12-11, 3-8). The 59 combined points was the most for two players in a game in K-State women’s history.
Iowa State shot 61 percent in the first half and built a 51-29 halftime lead.