Estero, FL — The No. 5 Baylor Lady Bears opened the Gulf Coast Showcase at Germain Arena with an 84-42 win over the Kent State Golden Flashes. The Lady Bears dominated the post, holding a 50-14 points advantage in the paint and 49-23 lead in rebounds. Baylor will advance to Game 7 on Nov. 26 at 5:00 pm to play the winner of today’s 1:30 game between DePaul and Western Kentucky.
“Obviously we want to win,” Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey said. “Today allowed me to rest a lot of main players ... but it also is showing me who I can count on when those main players are in foul trouble or aren’t playing well.”
Baylor stole the show(case) in the first quarter, as they dominated on both sides of the court and held the Golden Flashes to a mere eight points. Kent State junior forward Jordan Korinek put up the first points for the Golden Flashes on a jumper, and with the first three-pointer of the game, senior guard Larissa Lurken became the 20th 1,000 point scorer in program history.
However, Baylor quickly responded and commanded control of the game with 15-3 run in seven and a half minutes. The Lady Bears shot 40 percent (6-of-15) from the field, and held the Golden Flashes to 23 percent (3-of-13). Beatrice Mompremier led all scorers with five points and four rebounds, and led Baylor to a 17-8 lead after the first 10 minutes of play.
“I think that a lot of what they do comes off of rebounds,” Mulkey said. “I have the luxury of having five outstanding post players. We go to the boards hard. We go to the offensive boards; we go to the defensive boards.”
Baylor came out in the second just as hot as they left off, with senior guard Alexis Jones hitting a three-pointer and following up with a fast break layup. Soon after, the Lady Bears held the Golden Flashes a scoreless for three minutes, and increased their shooting to 54 percent, hitting 13-of-19 shots in the second quarter alone (68 percent).
The Golden Flashes allowed Baylor to score nine points off of six turnovers. Jones became the first Lady Bear to hit double figures with 10 points, and Mompremier followed shortly after racking up 12 points to lead all scorers. Kent State freshman guard Megan Carter hit an off-balance three at the buzzer to cut the deficit, as Baylor took a 47-23 into the locker room.
“I’m getting more comfortable with the combinations I’m looking at,” Mulkey said. “And I hope that we can come out here and compete in the three games.”
Kent State grabbed the first points of the second half with another three-pointer by Lurken after both teams went scoreless for the first two minutes. Baylor sophomore Kalani Brown countered with a layup, then a rebound and put back, and Jones went coast to coast for a nice layup of her own.
Baylor wasn’t done putting the pressure on Kent State as they switched to a full court press which immediately forced a backcourt violation on the Golden Flashes. Unfortunately for the Lady Bears, they turned the ball over themselves giving Kent State back the ball just as quickly as they made them turn it over.
“We’re gonna press you,” Mulkey said. “We pick and choose when we press and the teams we press against. When you press like that you’re gonna expose the basket and give up some layups, but ... we’re playing hard ... and we’re trying to make something happen.”
Lurken led all scorers with 15 points as the Kent State increased its shot efficiency to 33 percent from the field. Though the Lady Bears were stuck in a scoring drought for the last two minutes, they held a 60-36 lead heading into the final quarter.
Baylor came back in ready to end the drought, as Brown quickly got in two points off of yet another offensive rebound on a missed three by senior guard Alexis Prince. Junior guard Kristy Wallace added a quick layup, and Prince rebounded for a fastbreak layup of her own. Once again the Lady Bears held the Golden Flashes scoreless, yet this time it was four minutes before senior forward Chelsi Watson hit 1-of-2 free throws.
Like they did the entire game, Baylor went on another 9-0 run hitting 4-of-4 field goals in a row, and occasionally some free throws. Kent State remained scoreless from the field until the last minute of the fourth, where senior center Lacey Miller got a layup in for her only points of the game.
Brown led all scorers with 17 points and 9 rebounds, as the Lady Bears advanced in the showcase with an 84-42 victory.
“Ain’t nothing to it,” Brown said of her performance. “Just attacking the zone, I can honestly say we were prepared and ready. Height advantage was one of the big deals but also being a force in the paint, getting rebounds, and just using my height to my advantage.”
Up next the Baylor Lady Bears will play Nov. 26 at 5:00 pm ET against the winner between DePaul and Western Kentucky.
“Competition here is great,” Brown said. “We have a lot of great teams. We’re looking to get that competition ... and embrace the moment.”