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Wildcats Have No Answer for Bears, Griner

By Mark Janssen

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - With 6-foot-8 Brittney Griner dominating, but with a cast of all-stars around her, the Baylor Lady Bears demonstrated quickly why they are the No. 3-ranked team in the nation Friday in handing K-State an 86-53 semi-final loss here in the Big 12 Championship.

"We knew we would have to bring something special into this game and we didn't really do that," said K-State senior Kelsey Hill. "We didn't come out with that fire and intensity."

Before the first media timeout, the Lady Bears had opened a 10-3 lead with Griner netting six points, plus anchoring a swarming defense that limited K-State to 1-of-6 from the field, plus two turnovers.

The count would quickly up to 22-5.

Intimidated?

"I don't think so," said Hill. "We've played them, and they put their shorts on the same way we do. We've beaten the No. 5 team in the nation in A&M, so I don't think it was intimidation. We just didn't do what was characteristic for this team. We didn't fight, we didn't go after loose balls, and we didn't box out. Those are things we have to have."

After falling behind by 17 in the first nine minutes of the game, K-State engaged its 22- to 25-foot game during one stretch late in the first half when Hill drained three 3-pointers, and fellow reserve Alina Voronenko another in a 14-6 Purple flurry that cut a 22-5 margin to 28-19, but that's where the fun would stop.

"I felt it was a game of two halves," said K-State coach Deb Patterson. "The first half we might not have been at our best, but it was still a competition. In the second 20 minutes we failed to get the job done and were not competitive."

The Wildcats trailed at the half 41-26, and at the end of the day Baylor had scored 86 points, which included 7-of-10 from 3-point range and out-rebounded K-State by 28, 52-24, with 22 of the Lady Bear rebounds coming on offense leading to 18 second-chance points.

"They just killed us on the boards, and that's on the shoulders of all of us that played," said K-State guard Taelor Karr. "We all have to get a body on somebody, box out and be more physical."

Agreeing was Hill: "It came down to the work phases. You've got to box out. You've got to hustle and scramble. We didn't bring it."

Baylor did bring it with three sophomores, a freshman and a senior in the starting lineup. Griner scored 21 points, while Destiny Williams added 18.

STARS OF THE GAME: Senior Kelsey Hill had her career-high scoring game of 14 points, which included 4-of-8 shooting from 3-point range. Hill's previous high had been 12 at Colorado earlier this year.

Alina Voronenko came off the bench to play 21 minutes and scored nine points with a team-high six rebounds. She also had two assists and a blocked shot. Entering the game, Voronenko had been averaging 3.5 points per game, and Hill 2.6 points.

STAT OF THE GAME: K-State went 11-of-25 from 3-point range in the game, but inside against the 6-8 Griner, could muster only 9-of-32 shooting from two-point range.

In the first half, the Wildcats swished seven 3-pointers (7-of-13), but only two shots (2-of-13) from two-range with the second half being much more of the same.

"If you don't establish some pressure on the rim and some post touches against Baylor, your life is just going to be so difficult on every offensive possession because Baylor is so athletic, so strong and they have big bodies and great athletes."

And Baylor has Griner, which led Baylor coach Kim Mulkey to say, "I don't care what post players you have, she makes you change your game plan because she's just so big in there. She alters shots."

Five Wildcats hit 3-balls with Hill scoring four, Karr three, Voronenko two, plus one each from Brittany Chambers and Mariah White. It was White's first 3-point attempt since Dec. 20, and first made trey since the second game of the season on Nov. 13.

"K-State is hard to guard. They shoot it all over the floor," said Mulkey. "Just when you think you're in the range where they won't shoot, they will shoot it."

CHILDS CAN'T GO: K-State's Jalana Childs continues to be hampered by a hip flexor injury suffered 10 days ago. After playing nearly the entire game on Wednesday, Childs started, but could only play three minutes against Baylor.

Heading into next week's NCAA Tournament, Patterson said, "I think she should be OK. Today she didn't feel she could go, so we didn't utilize her, but I expect to have her for the NCAA Tournament."

TRIVIA: Ironically, the three best games in terms of assists at the Big 12 Championship happened to come from K-Staters. Can you name them?

GAME NOTES:
K-State reserves scored 25 points while the starters scored 28.
The 86 points were the highest scored against K-State this year, and the most since Wyoming scored 89 in an 89-79 triple-overtime loss to the Cowgirls in the 2007 WNIT.
Baylor's first foul of the game didn't come until the 3:35 mark of the first half on a charging call. The Lady Bears were called for only five fouls the entire game. BU out-scored K-State at the line 15-of-23 to 2-of-4.
Thirteen Lady Bears played with 10 of those scoring and 12 of the 13 snaring at least one rebound.

TRIVIA ANSWER: The top three assist games at the Big 12 Championship events have come from Megan Mahoney with 12 in 2004, Jenny Coalson with 11 in 1998, and Brit Jacobson with 10 in 1997.

UP NEXT: The NCAA pairings will be announced Monday evening at 6 p.m. on ESPN. The most recent ever changing bracket posted by ESPN bracketologist Charlie Creme had K-State as a No. 8 seed and playing West Virginia on the Stanford campus.

As to where the Wildcats might be sent, or with what seeding, Patterson said, "You might not believe this, but I can't even tell you where all of the regionals are. I'm focused in on our team. I might be the only coach on the planet that way."

MARTIN INTO HALL OF FAME: Kansas State University men's basketball coach Frank Martin and Philadelphia Eagles center Jamaal Jackson head the 2011 Class of the Miami High Hall of Fame.

A 1983 Miami High graduate, Martin is in his fourth year leading the Wildcats basketball program. Last season, Kansas State reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament and expect to earn another tournament bid this season. Before beginning his collegiate coaching career, Martin guided Miami High to three consecutive state championships between 1995 and 1998.

Martin's assistant coach, Doug Edwards, was inducted into the Miami High Hall of Fame in 2009.

The new inductees will be recognized in the Hall of Fame induction ceremony April 16 at the Miami High Auditorium.

We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact either Mark Janssen at mjanssen7@cox.net, or Kansas State Director of Athletic Communications/SID Kenny Lannou at klannou@kstatesports.com. For those who would like to share Sports Extra with a friend or family member, or change your current email address, click here.