WACO, Texas – Brittney Griner scored 25 points, including the basket that started Baylor's game-clinching run after halftime, and the Lady Bears beat No. 17 Iowa State 70-58 on Saturday in their first-ever game as the nation's No. 1 team.
Griner's jumper with 15:38 left pushed Baylor (14-1) ahead 40-31 and sparked a 17-3 run that the 6-foot-8 preseason AP All-American watched most of from the bench. That came after the Cyclones (12-3) had cut the gap to seven points, the closest since the Lady Bears started both teams' Big 12 opener by scoring the first 16 points.
When teammate Melissa Jones drove for a layup and was fouled less than a minute later, Griner took a breather with three fouls before Jones hit her free throw. The Lady Bears were up 55-34 before Griner returned 4½ minutes later, a span during which freshman Odyssey Sims scored eight of her 15 points.
Baylor rose to No. 1 this week, ending two-time defending national champion Connecticut's record 51-week run at the top. The Huskies won an NCAA-record 90 games in a row until losing to Stanford. The Lady Bears' only loss this season was by one point at UConn in November.
Lady Bears coach Kim Mulkey became the first person to coach a No. 1 team after having played for a top-ranked team (Louisiana Tech).
In their first game in nine days, the Lady Bears missed their first six shots before Griner's short jumper gave Baylor a 5-0 lead nearly 5 minutes into the game — she had already made three free throws.
Griner's three-point play 7½ minutes into the game made it 16-0 before the Cyclones, after missing their first eight shots and committing five turnovers, finally got a jumper from Lauren Mansfield.
Last season, Iowa State hit 16 3-pointers in a 69-45 victory that is still the Lady Bears' largest loss since the 2008-09 season. The Cyclones had only seven 3s Saturday.
Kelsey Bolte had 21 points and Anna Prins 15 for the Cyclones, who had won six consecutive games and hadn't allowed more than 64 points all season.
Destiny Williams scored 11 points for Baylor, which has won 12 in a row at home. Sims had a game-high eight rebounds.
Jones, the senior captain, had a steal that led to a 3-pointer by Kimetria Hayden during the second-half run with Griner sitting on the bench. Sims then hit two 3-pointers in less than a minute.
Prins had two fouls guarding Griner in the first 3½ minutes and was limited to only 10 minutes in the first half, though she had 11 points with three 3-pointers by halftime.