DALLAS — Kansas State’s women’s basketball season might have ended with a whimper.
By ANDY FRIEDLANDER
Special to The Star
Facing the nation’s best team and most formidable player, the Wildcats were thrashed from the opening tipoff, reduced mostly to watching in awe as No. 1 Baylor rolled to an 80-47 victory in the Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals at American Airlines Center.
Baylor, 30-1, seemed to barely notice K-State’s defense, making 15 of its first 17 shots while taking a 31-6 lead.
Less than a week after Brittney Griner scored 50 points against K-State in a 90-68 Baylor win, the Wildcats decided to collapse their defense around the 6-foot-8 Baylor star, double-and triple-teaming her on every possession. So Griner became a distributor, handing out nine assists to go with 19 points and 13 rebounds, and Destiny Williams struck for 20 points on nine of 11 shooting.
For the game, Baylor shot 58 percent, outrebounded K-State 39-27 and had 29 assists on 36 baskets.
“It was kind of like being in the middle of a buzzsaw,” K-State coach Deb Patterson said.
The eighth-seeded Wildcats, 15-17, meanwhile, couldn’t solve the intimidating inside defensive presence of Griner, who was awarded the Big 12 player of the year award before the game.
Griner blocked three shots but altered and prevented countless more. As a result, K-State made a mere five of 24 shots (20.8 percent) in the first half and 16 of 55 (29.1 percent) for the game. Twelve of the Wildcats’ 16 field goals were three-pointers and the Wildcats’ first points from inside the arc other than free throws came almost four minutes into the second half on Brittany Chambers’ driving layup.
After a scoreless first half in which she was zero for six, Chambers managed to score 21 in the second. But by then the game was long since over — K-State never got closer than 25 after halftime.
Despite its sub-.500 finish, K-State hopes to earn an invitation to the Women’s NIT.