Brittney Griner excitedly pounded her chest so hard with both fists that she pulled a teammate to the side and joked that she almost hurt herself.
Griner and top-ranked Baylor have plenty of reason to be excited about after completing its first undefeated regular season in school history.
That chest-pounding moment for Griner came during a game-clinching run after halftime for the Lady Bears, who got a career-high 41 points from their 6-foot-8-inch junior phenom and took control with some tenacious defense in a 77-53 win over Iowa State yesterday in Waco, Texas.
“I don’t know, I guess I was just feeling it,’’ Griner said of the reaction after her putback basket when Baylor started pulling away.
The Lady Bears (31-0, 18-0 Big 12), who have won their games by an average of nearly 28 points, also stretched their home-court winning streak to 40.
But Iowa State (18-11, 9-9) didn’t make it easy for them, leading, 40-38, with 17:24 left.
Baylor then went with a full-court pressure defense, something Kim Mulkey’s assistant coaches had been bugging her to do. It worked with the Lady Bears forcing three turnovers in less than a minute, putting the game away with a 26-4 run.
Griner’s previous career high was 40 points, against Green Bay in last year’s NCAA Tournament. She made 15 of 18 field goals and 11 of 13 free throws against Iowa State, plus had eight rebounds. The 15 field goals matched her career high.
Green Bay 77, Ill.-Chicago 64 - Julie Wojta tied a school record with her 32d double-double (27 points, 10 rebounds) to pace the No. 11 Phoenix (27-1, 17-1 Horizon) to their seventh straight victory with a win over the Flames (17-12, 10-8).
Harvard 65, Cornell 59 - The host Crimson (16-11, 9-4) clinched second place in the Ivy League, securing the league’s automatic WNIT berth for the third time in four years. Emma Golen led the way with a career-high 15 points.
Princeton 77, Brown 60 - Devona Allgood scored 21 points to lead the Ivy League champion Tigers (23-4, 13-0) to an easy victory over the host Bears (16-12, 7-7).
Dartmouth 87, Columbia 52 - Milica Toskovic had 17 points and 13 rebounds for the host Big Green (6-21, 4-9 Ivy).
Atlantic 10 quarterfinals - Megan Van Tatenhove led five players in double figures with 13 points and St. Bonaventure (28-2) beat La Salle, 68-53, in Philadelphia.
ACC semifinals - In Greensboro, N.C., Alyssa Thomas had 18 points and 12 rebounds to help sixth-ranked Maryland (27-4) beat Wake Forest, 73-58 . . . Tyaunna Marshall scored 16 of her 20 points in the first half and No. 15 Georgia Tech (24-7) routed N.C. State, 87-61, to reach its first title game since 1992 and just its second in school history.
Atlantic Sun final - Florida Gulf Coast dropped Stetson, 67-39, completing an undefeated run through the conference and clinching an NCAA Tournament berth in its first year of eligibility. Courtney Chihil scored 15 points to push her career total over 1,000 for the Eagles (29-2), the second team to run the table in the league.
Big East second round - Shoni Schimmel scored 15 of her 20 points in the first half and No. 20 Louisville (22-8) beat Villanova, 63-47, in Hartford . . . Monique Oliver had 18 of her 23 points in the second half to help No. 23 Rutgers (22-8) rally past Marquette, 52-43, and into the quarterfinals for a date with Connecticut tonight.
Big Ten semifinals - In Indianapolis, Brittany Rayburn’s driving layup with 1.4 seconds left gave No. 21 Purdue a 68-66 win over No. 9 Penn State (24-8). Antionette Howard had 13 points and a career-high 13 rebounds for the Boilermakers (23-8) . . . Jordan Hooper had 21 points and 10 rebounds as No. 24 Nebraska (24-7) knocked off No. 14 Ohio State, 77-62. Samantha Prahalis scored 23 points for the second-seeded Buckeyes (25-6), who were denied a chance to win their fourth straight tournament title.
Northeast Conference quarterfinals - In Fairfield, Conn., top-seeded Sacred Heart (23-7) got 16 points and a go-ahead basket late from Callan Taylor, avoiding an upset in a 62-58 win over Fairleigh Dickinson . . . Junior Felicia Barron scored 15 points, surpassing 1,000 for her career, and Quinnipiac (22-8) outlasted Mount St. Mary’s, 65-61, in Hamden, Conn.
Ohio Valley final - Heather Butler scored 35 points and Tennessee-Martin (23-8) won a second straight tournament championship and automatic berth in the NCAAs by beating Tennessee Tech, 82-65, in Nashville.
SEC semifinals - Courtney Jones scored 18 points and LSU (22-9) beat No. 10 Kentucky, 72-61, in Nashville to advance to its ninth conference tournament championship game. The Wildcats (25-6) had the first seed in the tournament for the first time since 1982, the last time they won the SEC . . . Glory Johnson had 23 points and 10 rebounds as No. 13 Tennessee beat No. 25 South Carolina, 74-58, to advance to its 21st conference championship game.
West Coast semifinals - Kayla Standish scored 31 points as No. 22 Gonzaga (26-4) held off Saint Mary’s, 83-78, in Las Vegas.
ECAC Division 3 semifinals - Courtney Cirillo scored a game-high 15 points, and host Keene State beat Colby-Sawyer, 56-48 . . . Smith (22-6) had a 25-0 first-half run en route to beating Endicott, 79-57, in Keene, N.H.