Griner, No. 1 Baylor women beat No. 2 UConn 66-61
WACO, Texas—Brittney Griner scored 12 of her 25 points during the closing run that pushed top-ranked Baylor past No. 2 Connecticut 66-61 on Sunday night.
The Lady Bears (11-0) overcame an 11-point deficit in the second half and won their second No. 1 vs. No. 2 game this season. Baylor also avenged a one-point loss at Connecticut early last season when the rankings were reversed.
Griner also had nine rebounds and nine blocked shots. She made all seven of her free throws, six of them coming in a game-ending 27-11 run as Baylor overcome its biggest deficit of the season. The 6-foot-8 Griner missed eight free throws in last year's game against the Huskies, including some key misses down the stretch.
Odyssey Sims had 23 points for the Lady Bears, whose 29-game home winning streak includes a 94-81 win over then-No. 2 Notre Dame in November.
Bria Hartley led Connecticut (9-1) with 25 points, while Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis had 15.
It was the most anticipated home game ever for the Lady Bears, the first time a men's or women's game sold out in advance at the Ferrell Center. The record crowd of 10,627 included Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, who flashed the pose and got a huge ovation when he was shown on the screen.
Griner, who previously played on the U.S. national women's basketball team coached by Connecticut's Geno Auriemma, and Sims came through big for the Lady Bears.
Connecticut, whose average margin of victory this season was nearly 42 points, was 13-2 in games matching 1 vs. 2, including eight wins in a row. Their last was the 65-64 victory over Baylor last season.
The Huskies had a 50-39 lead with just over 15 minutes left after hitting three consecutive 3-pointers in a 2-minute stretch. Mosqueda-Lewis hit two of those, starting and ending a string that also included Tiffany Hayes' 3.
Right after that, Griner got her fifth block of the game to break the Big 12 career record, and made some key free throws as well. She broke Courtney Paris' Big 12 career record of 446, and has 451 now.
Griner then swatted away a shot by Hayes and followed with two free throws. Sims had a steal and drove for a bank shot to wrap up 10 consecutive points by the Lady Bears to cut the gap to 50-49.
Hartley broke that streak with a basket that just beat the shot clock. After Griner was called for a charging foul, Stefanie Dolson hit a jumper for the Huskies.
Griner and Kelly Faris traded two free throws each around the 5-minute mark before the Lady Bears went ahead to stay on Terran Condrey's 3-pointer that made it 58-56 with 4 1/2 minutes left.
Sims made four free throws in the final 1:21 to seal the game for Baylor.
Auriemma got a nice ovation when he came on the court about 4 minutes before tipoff, and responded by returning the applause to the crowd. Baylor coach Kim Mulkey came out a couple of minutes later, and the cheers got really loud when the two coaches shook hands.
Griner made a short hook on the first shot of the game, and when she made another 6 minutes into the game, the Lady Bears had a 14-5 lead. That was the Huskies' biggest deficit of the season.
Baylor didn't trail until Connecticut made consecutive 3-pointers. Mosqueda-Lewis rattled one in from the right side with 5 minutes left and Hayes followed a Baylor miss with a shot from beyond the arc for a 27-26 lead.
Those long baskets came right after the Huskies had turnovers on three consecutive possessions, including a pair of steals by Sims, though the Bears got only two points out of that stretch. Sims had a breakaway layup after the first turnover, but got called for a charge when she tried it again and the Bears then turned it over themselves.