HONOLULU (AP) — Stanford snapped defending national champion Baylor’s 42-game winning streak Friday, winning 71-69 when player of the year Brittney Griner missed a short turnaround at the buzzer.
Griner scored 18 of her 22 points in the second half, helping the Lady Bears rally from a 14-point deficit in the first half. Her shot at the buzzer bounced off the rim and Stanford celebrated the victory. It was the Lady Bears’ first defeat since losing to Texas A&M in the regional finals of the 2011 NCAA tournament. Baylor went 40-0 last year.
Chiney Ogwumike scored 18 points to lead the fourth-ranked Cardinal (3-0), who lost to Baylor in the national semifinals last season by 12 points. Her reverse layup gave Stanford a four-point lead with 22 seconds left, after Joslyn Tinkle broke the tie with a layup with just under 1 minute.
Destiny Williams responded with the first 3-pointer of her career to pull Baylor (2-1) within one.
Toni Kokenis made one of two free throws. Baylor got the rebound and advanced the ball to halfcourt before calling timeout to set up the final play.
Griner caught the ball in the low block and with three players draped on her, the 6-foot-8 star’s shot fell harmlessly off the rim setting off a wild celebration by the Cardinal at midcourt.
Baylor’s run was the fifth-longest winning streak in NCAA women’s history. Stanford also ended UConn’s NCAA record 90-game run in 2010.
Baylor was the heavy favorite to repeat as champion with their entire starting lineup back from last season. The Lady Bears cruised to an easy 89-51 victory over No. 6 Kentucky on Tuesday before heading to Hawaii for the three-game Rainbow Wahine tournament.
While the Lady Bears returned so much, Stanford was without graduated All-American center Nnemkadi Ogwumike.
The untelevised, afternoon game in Honolulu was played in a mostly empty Stan Sheriff Center, an arena modeled after Baylor’s home floor in Waco, Texas.
Baylor had to play the last 35 minutes of the game without preseason All-America guard Odyssey Sims, who strained her hamstring early in the first half.
Without their playmaker, the Lady Bears fell down by 14 points before rallying to 31-29 at the break. Stanford focused on Griner on defense and took advantages of missteps by Baylor on the other end to get second chances and open looks.
Griner was dominant in the second half, scoring 10 of Baylor’s first 12 points and just under half its points for the final half. The Lady Bears gave up on 3-pointers while allowing Griner to carry them, attempting only three after ending the first half 1-for-11.
Baylor took a 55-54 lead with 7:11 left in the game on a layup from Destiny Williams. It was the Lady Bears first since early in the first half. They extended it to 4 points before Stanford rallied back behind Kokenis, who made two free throws and a jumper to tie it at 60.
The game was back and forth until the final minute when Tinkle and Chiney Ogwumike gave Stanford the lead for good.
Chiney Ogwumike was one of four Stanford players to score in double digits. Taylor Greenfield had 16 points, Kokenis had 15 and Tinkle had 11.
Oskar Garcia can be reached on Twitter at http://twitter.com/oskargarcia .