HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) It had been a while since Brittney Griner and Baylor faced a true test on the court.
The top-ranked Lady Bears and their 6-foot-8 star passed a tough one Monday night, rallying to beat No. 3 Connecticut 76-70 in a women's basketball showdown that certainly lived up to its billing.
Griner scored 21 of her 25 points in the second half, including the 3,000th of her career, to extend Baylor's winning streak to 23 games. The reigning AP player of the year became the eighth women's player in Division I history to reach the milestone, doing it on two free throws with 1:05 left.
``Just got more aggressive,'' Griner said. ``Coach told me I need to be more aggressive in the paint, go to the goal, so that's what I did.''
Baylor (25-1) went 40-0 last season en route to the school's second national championship, and its only loss this season came in Hawaii against Stanford back in November. Griner and her talented teammates hadn't really been challenged since, with no opponent coming within single digits.
But when UConn built a seven-point lead in the second half, the Lady Bears were ready.
``It's always good to give yourself a gauge of what you need to work on,'' Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. ``I told them at halftime, it's been a long time since we've had to execute on offense. We're so athletic and so good and so talented, we just go play basketball. But against good teams who play great defensively, you must execute. And we needed to do some things better in the second half.''
Griner and fellow preseason All-America Odyssey Sims had a tough first half, combining to go 3 for 19 from the field. They responded after halftime, though.
Baylor, which has already clinched the Big 12 regular-season title, led 54-53 midway through the second half before Griner took over. She scored seven points during a quick burst, and her putback made it 67-61 with 5 minutes left.
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