Sunday, January 1, 2017

Baylor blasts Jayhawks

Kansas forward Jada Brown (4) shoots past Baylor forward/center Beatrice Mompremier (32) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017, in Waco, Texas.

Kansas forward Jada Brown (4) shoots past Baylor forward/center Beatrice Mompremier (32) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017, in Waco, Texas.


— When teams fall behind, they often try to shoot themselves back into games and lose focus on executing offensively. Kansas did that Sunday, and it played right into No. 3 Baylor’s hands.

The Bears stifled the Jayhawks’ inside game, then turned long rebounds off Kansas misses into easy baskets on the other end. That helped Baylor overcome a sluggish start, and Nina Davis and Alexis Jones scored 16 points apiece to lead the Bears to a 90-43 victory.

“They can play so many different styles because of their personnel groupings,” Kansas coach Brandon Schneider said. “I thought we showed some fight in the first quarter, but eventually their ability to rebound and get out in transition wears on you.”

The Bears (13-1, 2-0 Big 12) shot 60 percent from the floor while limiting Kansas to a 22.4 percent clip. Baylor also controlled the boards, 58-30.

The Jayhawks (6-7, 0-2) stayed in the game early, thanks in large part to Jessica Washington, who scored 11 of her 18 points in the first quarter. The Bears turned the ball over six times in the opening quarter but still led 28-19 midway through the second quarter.

“I thought we got off to a slow start,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “It was physical and aggressive, and we weren’t the aggressor coming out. So in the third quarter that same group got an opportunity to be on the floor again to start the second half and it was much better.”

It was all Baylor after that, as it outscored Kansas 41-7 over the next 11 minutes to blow the game wide open. As the Bears’ aggressiveness picked up, so did the Jayhawks’ fouls. Baylor shot 40 free throws, but Mulkey wasn’t happy it missed 14 of them.’

“I don’t want to address them much. I think now, though, I need to address it because we have kids missing free throws that shouldn’t be,” Mulkey said. “Some of it is fatigue, but we’re going to start holding each other accountable for free throws more than we have.”

Beatrice Mompremier had 15 points and 10 rebounds for Baylor, and Kalani Brown added 11 points.

“We have so much depth it’s almost impossible to know who to stop,” Davis said. “You can start (Mompremier) Kalani, Khadijiah Cave, Lauren Cox, you can pretty much start any one of us. But just having that person you know is going to come off the bench and go to the offensive rebounds hard, it’s good to have.”

Other than Washington’s early offense, Kansas didn’t have much success on that end. Baylor’s size forced the Jayhawks into jump shots, and they weren’t falling. They were 6 for 30 from 3-point range, and many of those long rebounds turned into breakaway opportunities for Baylor. Leading scorer McKenzie Calvert, once a Baylor commit, was hounded by 6-foot-2 Alexis Prince on the perimeter and went 1 for 10 for two points.

The Bears took full advantage of their two home games to start conference play, dominating Kansas State and Kansas by an average of 38 1/2 points. Baylor nearly blocked more shots (15) than it allowed points in the paint (16) against the Jayhawks, and did so without fouling. Kansas received only four free throw attempts, all in the first quarter.

Kansas returns to Allen Fieldhouse on Wednesday to face Texas.


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