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Baylor Bounces Connecticut

Hartford, Conn. — Brittney Griner scored 25 points, including the 3,000th of her career, to help No. 1 Baylor rally past third-ranked Connecticut 76-70 last night, extending the Lady Bears’ winning streak to 23 games.

Griner became the eighth player in Division I history to reach the milestone, doing it on two free throws with 1:05 left. She finished with 21 points in the second half.

The defending national champion Lady Bears’ only loss this season came in Hawaii against Stanford back in November. Baylor (25-1) went 40-0 last season en route to the school’s second national championship.

Baylor led 54-53 midway through the second half before Griner took over. She scored seven points during the burst, and her putback made it 67-61 with 5 minutes left.

UConn (24-2) rallied behind Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis to make it a 67-65, but Griner answered with a putback. Then she hit the two milestone free throws 1:30 later to make it 73-67 and seal the win.

Griner had missed key free throws down the stretch when she was a sophomore and her team lost at Connecticut by one point. She wasn’t going to let that happen again, beating the only team in the country that she didn’t have a winning record against.

No. 8 Kentucky 70
No. 10 Texas A&M 66

College Station, Texas — DeNesha Stallworth had 12 points and 12 rebounds as No. 8 Kentucky held off 10th-ranked Texas A&M.

Courtney Walker scored four quick points, the last two when she drove hard to the basket for a layup, to trim Texas A&M’s deficit to 66-64 with about a minute remaining.

Kentucky (23-3, 11-2 SEC) missed a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired, but it bounced off the rim and Stallworth batted the rebound to Bria Goss for an easy layup that made it 68-64.

Walker was fouled on a made jump shot with 4 seconds left and purposely missed the ensuing free throw. But Goss grabbed the rebound and hit two free throws to seal it.

Top 25 Men

No. 25 Notre Dame 51
No. 20 Pittsburgh 42

Pittsburgh — Jerian Grant and Jack Cooley scored 13 points each and No. 25 Notre Dame overcome a horrendous shooting start and beat No. 20 Pittsburgh.

The Irish missed 18 of their first 19 shots and trailed 19-3 as late as 13:54 into the game. However, they rallied to take the lead in the second half and won going away.

Eric Atkins added 10 points and seven assists for Notre Dame (21-6, 9-5 Big East), which has won five in a row over Pittsburgh (20-7, 8-6) and snapped a tie with the Panthers for fourth place in the conference. The top four teams get a double-bye in next month’s league tournament.

Cal Coach Reprimanded

Berkeley, Calif. — California coach Mike Montgomery was reprimanded by the Pac-12 yesterday for shoving one of his own players in the chest during a game.

The conference did not announce what specific punishment Montgomery received for his actions Sunday night, although he will not be suspended.

“While emotions can run high in competitive environments, Pac-12 coaches are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that will reflect credit on the institution and the conference,” commissioner Larry Scott said. “Each Pac-12 coach must be aware that they are an example to student-athletes and other students, and consistent with this influence and visibility, must meet a particularly high standard.”

The confrontation happened during a timeout early in the second half of Cal’s 76-68 win over Southern California on Sunday night when Montgomery yelled at star guard Allen Crabbe for nonchalant play and then shoved him in the chest with both hands.

Crabbe had to be forcibly restrained by teammates and briefly left the court before coming back and leading a comeback victory for the Golden Bears (16-9, 8-5 Pac-12).

Montgomery downplayed the controversy during a postgame news conference when he smiled and said the move motivated Crabbe. He also said he would do it again.

“Worked, didn’t it?” Montgomery said of the exchange with Crabbe.

Crabbe, the leading scorer in the Pac-12 with an average of 19.8 points, scored 14 points after the shove and led the Bears back from a 15-point deficit to win.

Montgomery later apologized in a statement released by the school.