Baylor overpowers ASU in ‘Showdown’
A 41-point output in the second half helped the Baylor Lady Bears’ offense in a 65-59 win over Arizona State University on Sunday in the “Showdown on the Rez” at the Bee Holdzil Fighting Scouts Events Center.
With senior post Kalani Brown in early foul trouble, the fourth-ranked Bears (3-0) were ineffective in exploiting its inside game with its two All-Americans – Brown and junior forward Lauren Cox.
“Well, you can’t get (the ball) inside when she’s sitting over there by me the whole first half,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “Kalani Brown plays one minute and gets in foul trouble so you take that out of the equation.”
With Brown on the bench, ASU (1-1) led 35-24 at the break.
In the second half though, the two dominant figures made their presence known, combining for 24 points after they were held to two points each in the opening half.
“I think in the first half they unnecessarily surprised us, just the way they were playing us,” Cox said. “We couldn’t get the ball inside. They were fronting us and they had help side (defense) so we just didn’t know how to get it inside.
“In the second half we were working harder inside to get that position,” she added. “And the guards were able to give us the ball.”
Baylor had four players in double figures as they scored 46 points in the paint. Freshman forward NaLyssa Smith came off the bench and finished with a double-double, leading the Bears with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Cox and Brown finished with 14 points each and fifth-year senior Chloe Jackson added 10.
Baylor took the lead for good at 49-47 on a layup by Smith with 8:50 left in the fourth stanza. Later in the quarter, a basket by Cox capped a 12-0 run for the Bears as they led 55-47 with just over six minutes remaining.
With a double-digit lead in the opening half, ASU coach Charli Turner Thorne said they are a little disappointed that they couldn’t close out the game.
“Credit Baylor, their goal is to win a national championship but our goal isn’t too far behind that,” Thorne said. “The difference is we haven’t been there before and we’re trying to get that mindset, get that killer instinct for 40 minutes. When we get that I think we’ll be on the other side of these battles.”