No. 4 Baylor women roll to 89-38 win over Rice
WACO, Texas (AP) — Baylor coach Kim Mulkey was frustrated by the 41 turnovers the No. 4 Lady Bears had in their last two games, and that was emphasized in practice since that Thanksgiving tournament in the Bahamas.
“Every time we turned the ball over, we had to run a lap,” Niya Johnson said after Baylor’s 89-38 victory over winless Rice on Wednesday night. “We just took that to the court and just really focused on not turning the ball over.”
The Lady Bears (7-0), who have gone more than 12 years since losing at home against a non-ranked opponent, scored the game’s first 17 points. They opened the third quarter with a 19-0 run.
What stood out to Mulkey instead were the season-low six turnovers — none of them after halftime. Along with 28 offensive rebounds.
“We’ve had two or three pretty hard days of practice, and the emphasis has been offensive rebounding and taking care of the basketball,” Mulkey said. “When you look at a stat sheet and you see what you’ve been emphasizing all week and they listen and tried, you can live with whatever the scoreboard says.”
When Johnson was asked how many laps they had to run in practice, Mulkey started laughing and responded for her senior point guard.
“We quit counting,” Mulkey said. “But we’re getting in shape. I guess that’s a positive to it, they’re getting in shape.”
Khadijiah Cave had 19 points with 10 rebounds while playing 20 minutes — the equivalent of one half. Alexis Jones added 15 points, Nina Davis 12 and freshman Kalani Brown 11 in the first of three games in a five-day span for the Lady Bears.
“Usually when you do a scouting report you put maybe five players on there and talk a little bit more about the depth after that,” said first-year Rice coach Tina Langley, a Maryland assistant the previous seven seasons. “I felt like we had coach’s whole roster on our scouting report. They are very deep and very talented.”
Jasmine Goodwine had 12 points for Rice (0-6).
Cave had six points in the game-opening 17-0 run, then the 6-foot-3 junior post had two layups in the final 34 seconds of the first half. On a set play out of a timeout with 7 seconds left, Johnson took the inbound pass and dribbled the length of the court before passing to Cave for a buzzer-beating basket and a 38-20 halftime lead.
Cave added eight points in the 19-0 spurt to start the third quarter.
“KK is playing the best basketball she’s played since she’s been here,” Mulkey said. “She’s older and more comfortable.”
Freshman forward Justis Szczepanski made her Baylor debut, her first game coming after finally getting NCAA clearance. The 6-3 post played 13 minutes, with one point, three rebounds and four personal fouls.
Rice: The Owls have already played three Top 25 teams, have previously lost by 33 at Kentucky and by 23 to Texas. “A difficult schedule, it’s been challenging in a good way in that we see what it is like to play the best of the best,” Langley said.
Baylor: The Lady Bears won their 155th consecutive home game against a non-ranked opponent, dating back to a loss to Auburn in the WNIT final on April 4, 2003. ... Baylor came in third nationally allowing opponents to shoot only 30 percent from the field. Rice shot 28 percent (14 of 50).
Rice home Saturday against crosstown rival Houston.
Baylor plays Friday night against Northwestern State, a team the Lady Bears beat in last season’s NCAA Tournament.