<
>

Oklahoma overcomes Griner's 10 blocks as Stevenson's late push dooms Baylor

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Nyeshia Stevenson showed up just in time for Oklahoma.

Danielle Robinson scored 26 points to lead the Sooners, but Stevenson had 10 of her 12 points in the last five minutes as No. 12 Oklahoma spoiled Brittney Griner's return from suspension with a 59-54 victory over No. 16 Baylor in the Big 12 tournament quarterfinals Friday night.

"Nyeshia joined us for the party a little later than I would have liked," OU coach Sherri Coale said, "but she did, and she did a great job."

The Sooners (22-9) will play archrival Oklahoma State in a semifinal on Saturday.

Stevenson's 3-pointer with 4:16 left to put the Sooners up 50-49, and she hit another 3 and made a layup to keep her team ahead in the final minutes.

Robinson said Stevenson announced in team huddles that it was just a matter of time before she broke through.

"Even if she's not hitting shots the first 35 minutes, we know she's going to knock 'em down," Robinson said. "That's just her mind set. She's going to keep shooting."

Griner, suspended two games for punching a Texas Tech player March 3, had 13 points and set a tournament record with 10 blocks for defending champion Baylor (23-9).

"I missed being out there with my team," Griner said. "It really felt good to be back and playing with everybody."

Morghan Medlock led Baylor with 18 points and Shanay Washington had 12.

Amanda Thompson had 15 points, eight rebounds and four steals for the Sooners.

Baylor's Melissa Jones missed a 3-pointer that would have tied it with 6 seconds left, and Oklahoma's Abi Olajuwon came down with her 10th rebound, got fouled and made the free throws.

Griner missed 3 of her first 4 shots and had just five points and two rebounds the first half. She finished 4-of-10 from the field, had six rebounds and passed for two assists.

"I wouldn't say I was holding back," she said.

Mulkey said she wasn't surprised Griner struggled a bit.

"It's her first time back in two games, and it's not exactly a team that isn't very good," Mulkey said. "They're very good, they have big bodies in there and have Final Four experience. She's got to work her way back into the flow."

The Sooners and Bears split two regular-season meetings, but Mulkey said she thought Oklahoma exploited Baylor's youth. The Bears start three freshmen.

"They're babies, and they're just really playing hard and they're playing off of energy and enthusiasm," Mulkey said. "They're winning games because they're talented. They're losing down the stretch against an Oklahoma team that has a senior in Nyeshia Stevenson who had four points in the game and I have a freshman guarding her. You know she's going to explode at some point."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.