No. 4 Baylor women surge late to beat Kansas State 65-50
WACO, Texas (AP) — Baylor showed a bit of fatigue when playing its third game in a seven-day stretch that coach Kim Mulkey described as an emotional and physical roller-coaster.
The fourth-ranked Lady Bears still turned up the defensive pressure in time to win their Big 12 home opener and wrap up a span that began with a win over then-No. 1 UConn.
Kalani Brown had 16 points and nine rebounds, Lauren Cox added 13 points and 10 rebounds and Baylor beat Kansas State 65-50 after momentarily falling behind in the third quarter Wednesday night.
“I think it was good for us just to have a game like that, especially when we’re tired, because getting to the end of the season we’re going to have two, three games in a row like that,” Cox said. “So, just having to fight like that and not be up 20, 30, where we can just coast it out. That was good for us.”
The Lady Bears (12-1, 2-0 Big 12) won despite their second-lowest offensive output of the year — the lowest was their 68-63 loss at then-No. 11 Stanford before winning their last four games. They didn’t make a 3-pointer (0-for-4) for the first time since Feb. 20, 2017, against Texas, ending a 56-game streak with a made shot from beyond the arc.
“I thought our defense was fine. On the offensive end, they packed the paint, and we missed some wide-open shots,” Mulkey said. “You’re going to have nights like this on the offensive end. That’s why you’ve got to tell kids and make sure you sell them on the fact of just play good defense. They’ll be nights like this.”
Juicy Landrum added 12 points for Baylor, which has won 29 consecutive home games.
Peyton Williams finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds for Kansas State, which fell to 0-5 against ranked opponents this season.
The Wildcats, who have lost 30 in a row against Baylor, missed their last six shots of the third quarter and were 2-of-16 shooting in the fourth.
“The fourth quarter got away from us, shot selection. We also missed some open ones,” K-State coach Jeff Mittie said. “You have to take advantage of every opportunity against a team like Baylor. Their big lineup in the fourth really hurt us. We had trouble matching that big lineup.”
Kansas State: The game was there for the taking with Baylor struggling to get the tempo up to its liking. But the Wildcats couldn’t make enough shots, including a 7-of-26 mark (27 percent) from beyond the arc. Their smaller but more mobile posts gave Baylor some problems, but Kansas State was outrebounded 44-32.
Baylor: The Lady Bears dominated the action under the basket, despite Kansas State packing it in defensively. They outscored the Lady Wildcats in the paint and had a 19-7 advantage in second-chance points. Baylor sometimes played into Kansas State’s strategy of slowing the game down by settling for and missing quick jumpers.
COMING UP ROSES
Before the game, roses in the shape of the No. 550 were on display in a pregame ceremony, commemorating Mulkey’s 550th career win, which came Sunday at Texas Tech.
“My players bought those 550 number roses. Wow, wow, that’s the kind of kids I get to coach,” Mulkey said.
Mulkey is 551-99 in her 19 seasons as Baylor’s coach.
Kansas State plays its next two games at home, starting Sunday against Sunflower State rival Kansas.
Baylor travels about 100 miles north on Interstate 35 to play TCU, which is playing its second consecutive Top 25 team after losing 92-54 at No. 20 Iowa State on Wednesday night.