David Zalubowski, Associated Press
DENVER — With Stanford playing stifling defense on Baylor star Brittney Griner, someone else needed to step up.
Enter Terran Condrey.
The senior guard who hadn't hit double figures in more than two months suddenly found her shooting touch, scoring 10 of her 13 points in the second half to lead Baylor to a 59-47 win over Stanford on Sunday night.
Condrey's performance has the Bears (39-0) in the championship game against Notre Dame on Tuesday night. Should they win, the Bears will become the first team to turn in a 40-win season in NCAA history.
Griner, for one, was thrilled to see Condrey rescue the squad.
"It's not the first time she had done this," said Griner, a finalist for the player of the year award. "She's silent, but you hear her on the court."
Baylor definitely needed her with the Cardinal (35-2) playing a smothering brand of defense on the 6-foot-8 Griner, who was held to 13 points.
That was all part of the Stanford scheme — make someone else beat them.
Not only did Condrey deliver, but so did Odyssey Sims. She had a strong second half as well, pouring in nine of her 11 points to help Baylor pull away.
This was simply proof the Bears are far from a one-person team.
"Brittney is the face of women's basketball but we have other players," coach Kim Mulkey said.
The very tall and extremely athletic Griner has been so dominant over her career that she's changed the way her coach goes about preparing for a game.
Mulkey is willing to take more risks, knowing the 6-foot-8 post player is constantly lurking nearby to save the day.
"Because we have Brittney back there to help, we can gamble more," said Mulkey, who was recently diagnosed with Bell's palsy, a form of facial paralysis. "I think she's made all of us change."
And because of Griner's extraordinary talent on the floor, the Bears have seen just about every kind of defense imaginable to stop her.
Very little seems to slow Griner down as she's averaging 23 points this season. But Stanford kept her well below that output.
"They're a great team without her. But with her they're spectacular," Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. "She's really a spectacular player, just someone that is really special in the women's game.
"We prepared really hard. But at the end of the day they outplayed us."
And Condrey helped lead the way, scoring in double figures for the first time since Jan. 26 at Oklahoma when she had 14.
"Most teams double Griner and leave people open," Condrey said. "We had to be ready to knock down shots."
SIGHTINGS: Former U.S. Secretary of State and Notre Dame alum Condoleezza Rice had a front-row seat for the game and was wearing a blue sweater embroidered with an Irish logo.
Then, for the second game, Rice donned a crimson sweater to support Stanford, a school she also has ties with.
Rice wasn't the only celebrity in attendance. Baylor's Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III showed up to support the Lady Bears. He gave coach Kim Mulkey a big hug as they walked off the court.
SIBLING REVELRY: Stanford's Chiney Ogwumike has long lived in the shadow of her older sister, often drawing comparisons to her and always trying to measure up.
And while Nnemkadi Ogwumike has set the bar high, little sis has done a pretty commendable job following in her footsteps.
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