The Norman Transcript

Sports

March 12, 2013

Overbearing champs

DALLAS — The celebrations are always fun for top-ranked Baylor.

Brittney Griner and the Lady Bears have had plenty of practice.

Now the defending national champions can turn their focus toward trying to win the biggest prize one more time with their 6-foot-8 senior star.

The Lady Bears have another trophy to show for their dominating run through the Big 12, clinching their third straight conference tournament championship with a 75-47 victory over No. 23 Iowa State on Monday night.

“Winning never gets old, especially this one,” said Griner, one of five Baylor seniors. “We wanted to celebrate this, everybody did. This is our last go-around with the Big 12. Meant everything to us.”

Along with their three tournament titles in row, the Lady Bears (32-1) have won the last three Big 12 regular-season championships as well — going undefeated through the league for the last two.

They have won 49 consecutive regular-season and tournament games in the Big 12, though that streak doesn’t include the NCAA regional final loss to then-conference foe Texas A&M two years ago in the American Airlines Center, where they won their latest tournament title.

“We had that epic disappointment along the way. I’m never going to forget that,” coach Kim Mulkey said. “Those kinds of things motivate us.”

Griner, already a two-time All-American, had 23 of her 31 points by halftime — outscoring Iowa State by 10 points on her own by then in a title game matchup of the Big 12’s top two seeds.

It was Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly who said after a 28-point loss at Baylor early in conference play that the Big 12 race was basically to determine who finished second behind Baylor.

The Cyclones wound up the runner-up both in the regular season and the tournament.

“They are different than anyone in the country,” Fennelly said. “They’ve proven that over the last two years.”

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