SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Rapper Lil Wayne showed up at Notre Dame to see Skylar Diggins play and watched as Brittney Griner and defending national champion Baylor put on a show.
Griner had 24 points and 14 rebounds, three other Baylor players scored in double figures and the third-ranked Lady Bears beat No. 5 Notre Dame 73-61 Wednesday night, just as they did in last season’s national championship game.
This time it was a little closer. The Lady Bears didn’t put the game away until a layup by Jordan Madden with seven minutes left sparked a 10-0 run.
“We just stayed in the flow, don’t change anything just because your shots aren’t falling,” the 6-8 Griner said. “They’re going to fall eventually.”
Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw knew the Irish were in trouble when Griner, who was 10 of 16 from the floor, started hitting a couple of shots from 15 feet.
“That’s what we wanted her to take,” she said.
Griner said she let the game come to her.
“Last year I guess I started getting even more patient. I couldn’t get my hands on the ball, keep moving. Whatever I can do, I will do. I took it a play at a time, post up strong when I had to. Did whatever I could to help my team out.”
The Lady Bears (7-1), with all five starters back from the team that went 40-0 last season, dominated inside, outscoring the Irish 36-26 in the paint and outrebounding them 44-35. Baylor also held the Irish to 36-percent shooting while making 49 percent of its shots.
The Irish (5-1), with just two starters back, were simply no match, especially with All-America senior Diggins struggling on 4-of-19 shooting. But McGraw was encouraged that her young team looked a lot better in losing Wednesday than her veteran squad did in the 80-61 defeat in the title game in April.