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No. 4 Baylor pounds the glass, foils Miami's upset plans

The Baylor Lady Bears opened the Florida Sunshine Classic with an 88-81 win over the Miami Hurricanes, led by junior forward Nina Davis with 25 points. Baylor will play James Madison on Monday at 5 pm.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Winter Park, FL -- The Baylor Lady Bears remain undefeated with an 88-81 win over the University of Miami, handing the Hurricanes their first loss of the season. The two teams, meeting for the second time in program history, opened the Florida Sunshine Classic at Rollins College's Warden Arena.

"I'm so proud of my team," Baylor junior forward Nina Davis, who led all scorers with 25 points, said. "We definitely took Miami's best shots."

The ball was in Miami's court for the first quarter of the game, where the Hurricanes shot at a 50 percent efficiency, compared to the Lady Bears' 31 percent. Miami dominated from the three-point range, going 4-for-6, and held Baylor to zero percent from beyond the arc. A 7-0 run with three minutes left helped the Hurricanes gain a 23-16 edge on the Lady Bears to end the first quarter.

"They just made shots right in our face," Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey said. "We couldn't contain dribble penetration, and when we did help, we'd get there a step too late, and they'd kick it out for a three. If that team plays like that all year, they ought to be vying for an ACC championship."

Baylor came into the second quarter strong, doubling their efficiency from the field, shooting at 62 percent. The Lady Bears stunted Miami's scoring by not allowing the Hurricanes to get to the free-throw line, where they went 5-for-8 in the first quarter. Baylor held a 45-44 lead going into the locker room, where Davis led all scorers with 15 points.

"If my team needs me to be the spark, I'm going to be the spark plug," Davis said. "If they need me to take a step back in the game, that's what I'm going to do. Just whatever my team needs."

Baylor opened the third quarter with a 6-0 run, before Miami junior guard Adrienne Motley hit her fourth three-pointer of the game to put the Hurricanes within four.

However, the Lady Bears continued to hold the lead throughout the third, taking a 67-62 lead into the final quarter. Junior guard Alexis Jones hit Baylor's first three-pointer, and Motley and Davis led their teams with 19 points each.

"Miami came out on fire, and we knew that they were going to," Davis said. "If we plan on getting to the final four we have to have close games. And as a team, we have to know how to buckle down, and to focus."

In a closely contested final quarter, the Lady Bears fought their way to securing the win. With two minutes left to play, Baylor got its first double-figures lead of the game (84-74), before Miami cut their deficit to five.

Two free throws by Jones, and two by Davis, allowed the Lady Bears to take the win in the final 20 seconds. The Lady Bears shot 49 percent overall, with five players in double figures.

"When you've got a 10 point lead with less than two minutes to go, you're supposed to extend that lead, and we didn't," Mulkey said. "We missed free-throws. We had a turnover. But we'll learn."

Baylor will play James Madison on Monday at 5 pm, and Miami will play Indiana tomorrow at 7:15 pm.