STILLWATER, Okla. -- Oklahoma State coach Kurt Budke considered his game plan dangerous. Andrea Riley made it work.
Riley scored 43 points and led the way on an overpowering second-half surge by Oklahoma State (No. 23 AP) as the Cowgirls snapped No. 5 Baylor's 13-game winning streak with a 78-65 victory Saturday in the Big 12 opener for both teams.
"When Andrea Riley's out there, she gives you a chance to win every night," Cowgirls coach Kurt Budke said. "I've said it for a long time: I think Andrea's, if not the best player, one of best players in this country and one of the best players in the Big 12 if not the best."
Budke sent his team out with a strategy to avoid freshman Brittney Griner, who blocks more shots per game (6.3) than all but eight teams in the country, and thinking the Cowgirls would need to hit double-digits in 3-pointers just to win.
Riley made it look like pure genius with her second 40-point outing this season and the third of her career, closing the door by outscoring the Bears 10-2 over one stretch in the final 5 minutes.
"I think that everything starts with me -- the energy, everything like that," said Riley, a senior and one of only four players back from last year's team. "I can't make the kind of faces that I did a couple years ago because this team is young and they're watching my every move. So, I can't really mess up."
The Cowgirls took 17 of their first 22 shots from 3-point range and had tried a school record 37 by the end of the game, making 12.
"When you go to the basket on a 6-9 post, you don't want to get it thrown to the 10th row," said Riley, who was 15-for-36 from the field and 6-for-18 on 3-pointers.
The Cowgirls (13-2, 1-0 Big 12) returned to the Top 25 this week for the first time in nearly a year and proved they belong by knocking off a top 5 Bears team for the second time in three years at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
Griner finished her Big 12 debut with 16 points and 10 rebounds, but also a team-high five of Baylor's 17 turnovers. Shanay Washington and Ashley Field had 10 points apiece. The Bears played without third-leading scorer Melissa Jones due to a stress reaction that coach Kim Mulkey said she wanted to keep from getting worse.
"I think a lot of what you saw today is you saw a lot of inexperience, you saw 'Welcome to the Big 12' to our freshmen," Mulkey said. "They're going to have to understand it's more physical. They're going to have to understand good shots. They're going to have to understand ball reversal. They're going to have to understand fighting through fatigue. They're going to have to understand guarding great players.
"You can tell them but they have to experience it, and they experienced it today."
Riley contributed 13 points, including a three-point play and two 3-pointers, during a 24-4 surge by OSU to start the second half as Baylor (13-2, 0-1) hit just one basket in the first 8 minutes after halftime.
Tegan Cunningham's two free throws pushed the lead to 60-42 with 11:44 remaining before the Bears finally broke through and responded with seven points in a row. Baylor could never get closer than 11 despite holding OSU without a basket for more than 6 minutes.
Riley ended that stretch with a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 4:29 remaining and also scored the Cowgirls' next seven points to push the lead to 78-59.
Cunningham added 14 points for Oklahoma State, which entered the game with the fewest turnovers in the Big 12 and continued taking care of the ball by committing only six.
"I think we just wanted it more. We had nothing to lose," Cunningham said. "They were the fifth team in the nation and we just wanted to prove to everyone that we could play with them, and clearly we won."
Baylor capitalized on a brief OSU drought to reel off 10 straight points for a 36-26 lead, but Griner got her second foul going for a rebound with 2:18 left before halftime and Oklahoma State rallied back within 38-36 on Riley's buzzer-beating jumper from the left side.
Combined with the big run in the second half, Oklahoma State outscored Baylor 34-6 over a span of just under 12 minutes. After the game, Riley and her teammates headed into the stands and hugged supporters in celebration.
After following two wins in the 2008 NCAA tournament by going 4-12 in conference play a season ago, the Cowgirls had sent a statement.
"We're dangerous is what it is," Budke said. "We're a team that we felt even that way last year, that if you come in our gym that we have a chance to beat anybody that can come in here. We've been ranked three straight years now so I don't think that it's back. I just think it's that we're not going anywhere."