By Stephen Hawkins
Associated Press Basketball Writer
WACO — Shanay Washington drove hard through two defenders, then tumbled to the floor while scoring and being fouled in her first Baylor home game in more than a year. Brittney Griner excitedly helped her teammate and friend to her feet.
Washington’s three-point play and her short bank shot less than a half-minute after that came during an 12-0 run that put the top-ranked Lady Bears ahead to stay in a 76-41 victory over No. 23 Kansas State on Saturday night.
“It was good having her back out there on the court,” Griner said. “When she drove and got the and-one and hit the floor, I grabbed the top of her head like I used to always do. It was like, ‘You’re back! Come on! Let’s go!’ I just told her to keep doing it.”
Griner had 22 points and 12 rebounds and the Lady Bears (19-0, 6-0 Big 12) extended their school-record home winning streak to 34 games. They are only of only two undefeated women’s teams in Division I.
The game was tied at 11 before Griner’s own three-point play started the game-turning spurt. Then came the two quick baskets by Washington, who scored six points while playing only six minutes — two more than in her season debut Wednesday night at No. 17 Texas Tech.
“I’m so proud that everybody played. Everybody scored and everybody did something good,” coach Kim Mulkey said. “I’m proudest of Shanay. Just to see her back on that floor, but to see what she does when she’s on the floor. Your heart just goes out to a kid who’s been through four ACL surgeries and she still has the heart to rehab and get back on the floor. … She took a couple of licks, but you hold your breath and realize, just let her play.”
Washington started 32 of 36 games as a freshman in 2009-10, then the guard started the first five games last season before tearing the ACL in her left knee during practice. She is still playing as a sophomore after getting a medical hardship.
All 12 Lady Bears who played scored points, and Washington was the only one who didn’t have a rebound. Baylor outrebounded K-State 60-32 and held the Lady Wildcats to 24.6 percent shooting (16 of 65).
“They just pummeled us in every aspect of the game,” Wildcats coach Deb Patterson said. “That was a dominant performance by Baylor relative to what we brought to the floor.”
Brittany Chambers had 16 points and Tasha Dickey 10 for Kansas State (13-5, 4-2).
Kimetria Hayden added 11 points for the Lady Bears. Destiny Williams had 13 rebounds, her fourth consecutive game and sixth of seven with at least 10 rebounds. Griner played 29 minutes for her 10th double-double this season and 36th in 91 career games.
“Our defense and our rebounding spoke for itself,” said Mulkey, who spent the day before her game watching losses by Syracuse, Baylor and Duke, three of the top four men’s teams.
“I got in that locker room and I think I exploded on them before the game started,” she said. “I said ‘You better defend and you better rebound.'”
Baylor has won all six of its games this season against Top 25 teams.
The other undefeated women’s team is Green Bay (17-0), which hasn’t lost since an 86-76 loss to Baylor in the NCAA round of 16 in Dallas last March.
After Chambers stopped and stepped around a defender for a short jumper in the lane just more than 6 minutes in the game, she already had nine points for K-State and the game was tied at 11.
Griner then missed a shot, but Williams grabbed the rebound and got the ball right back to Baylor’s 6-foot-8 All-American. Griner made the basket while being fouled.
Kansas State, coming off a loss against Oklahoma after a five-game winning streak, had an early 7-3 lead. All those points were scored by Chambers, the 5-8 guard who cut down the baseline for a layup and had another inside basket before hitting a 3-pointer.
Chambers made her first three shots, and was 3-of-19 shooting after that. The rest of the Wildcats combined to make 10 of 43 shots as they shot 24 percent (16 of 65) as a team.
Kansas State played a No. 1 team for the first time since losing 100-54 in 1990 at Louisiana Tech, when Mulkey was an assistant coach at her alma mater. K-State is 0-4 against top-ranked teams.
“The shots were tougher to get for us,” Patterson said. “We weren’t efficient or effective, so they just gobbled you up. If you weren’t going to play and match their toughness and intensity, they were just going to gobble you up.”