The 36 points by the 6-2 senior forward from Eagle River, Alaska, tied for the ninth-highest total in Nebraska history and allowed NU to continue its record-breaking season, while dropping Kansas State to 13-17 overall and 5-11 in the Big 12.
Fellow senior forward Cory Montgomery added 13 points and a 2010 Big 12 personal-best nine rebounds to push her past 1,300 points and 600 career rebounds - just the eighth player in NU history to accomplish the lofty numbers.
Freshman point guard Lindsey Moore added 10 points, four rebounds and two steals in another strong effort, while senior guard Yvonne Turner scored all nine of her points in the second half while adding four steals to fuel NU's second-half comeback.
Trailing for just the second time all season at halftime, Nebraska exploded out of the locker room on an 18-3 run in the first five minutes of the second half. Turner sparked NU's 11-0 run to open the half in the first 2:45 by scoring six points in the stretch. She added a three-pointer less than two minutes later, before Griffin got a steal and a layup to give the Huskers a 56-48 lead with 15:29 left while forcing KSU's second timeout of the half.
K-State got no closer than six the rest of the way, as Nebraska notched its 24th double-digit victory of the season.
"I think you have to credit Kansas State for playing a great first half and hitting shots on Senior Day," Griffin said. "They played some great basketball and we knew they were capable of doing that. We didn't have any sense of panic in the locker room, we just knew we had to do some things better defensively to slow them down in the second half."
In Nebraska's opening surge in the first five minutes of the second half, the Huskers forced six KSU turnovers after the Wildcats committed just five the entire first half.
"Our team has continued to show great mental toughness and composure all season, and that showed again today," Nebraska Coach Connie Yori said. "They really brought it in the second half and it started with Kelsey, Cory and Vonnie. Kelsey has the strongest will and the most mental toughness of any player I have ever coached. She was not going to let us lose that game today."
Nebraska finished the game at 53.2 percent (33-62) fromt he field, including 4-of-14 from three-point range. The Huskers also hit 12-of-15 free throws, while matching KSU on the glass, 33-33. NU won the turnover battle, 16-12, including a plus-seven margin in the second half.
In a high-scoring first half, Kansas State sizzled from the floor on Senior Day, hitting 17-of-33 shots, including 8-of-12 three-pointers to carry a 45-38 halftime lead. Senior forward Ashley Sweat led KSU with 12 points, including a pair of first-half three-pointers, while Brittany Chambers added 11 with a trio of three-pointers. Taelor Karr added 10 first-half points, included two threes.
The 45 points scored were the most by a Husker opponent in the first half this season, while the halftime deficit was just the second in 29 games this season for NU.
Nebraska trailed by their biggest halftime margin of the year despite hitting 50 percent (15-30) of its shots from the field, including 2-of-6 three-pointers. Griffin led NU with 16 points in the first half, while Moore added eight first-half points. NU also outrebounded KSU, 16-15, in the first half, but committed eight turnovers compared to just five for the Wildcats.
Nebraska will be back in action at the quarterfinals of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship on Friday, March 12. The top-seeded Huskers will take on either Texas Tech, Kansas State or Kansas pending the outcome of the rest of this weekend's Big 12 games and the first round of the league tournament on Thursday, March 11.
NU will tip-off at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo., at 11 a.m., with a live national telecast by Fox Sports Net. The game will also be carried live on radio by the Husker Sports Network, including free live audio on Huskers.com.