By Jerry Hill
Baylor Bear Foundation
Playing at historic Allen Fieldhouse, the sixth-ranked Baylor Lady Bears never found their shooting touch, struggled with Kansas' dribble penetration, turned it over too much and got in foul trouble. And won by 35.
Kalani Brown was a perfect 10-of-10 from the line and scored 22 points, one of five double-figure scorers, as the Lady Bears (14-1, 4-0) reeled off their 11th consecutive win by pounding the Kansas Jayhawks, 83-48, Saturday afternoon in Lawrence.
"I know I'm going to get double-teamed, sometimes triple-teamed, so I guess I'm kind of getting used to it now," said Brown, who posted her 10th 20-point game of the season and 16th of her career. "I know I can kick it out to our shooters, and Natalie (Chou) or Juicy (Landrum) will knock it down. It's kind of an inside-outside game we've got going."
After hitting 12-of-23 from 3-point range in a 40-point win over Iowa State three days ago, the Lady Bears hit just 4-of-20 outside the arc against the Jayhawks (11-4, 2-2).
Lauren Cox notched her fifth double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds, Dekeiya Cohen came up two boards shy with 15 points and eight rebounds, and the backcourt duo of Kristy Wallace balanced it out with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Not only is Baylor off to a 4-0 start in league play for the sixth time in eight seasons, the Lady Bears have won them by a combined 153 points (38.3 per game).
"When you build a program and you're at an elite level, you expect it," Mulkey said of the 4-0 start. "You don't take it for granted. You have to put in the work, you have to have preparation, a great coaching staff doing scouting reports and a great team that listens and tries to go out on the floor and do what we ask them to do."
Kansas got out to a good start, with Austin Richardson hitting back-to-back 3-pointers, as the lead changed hands 10 times in the first four minutes.
The Lady Bears took the lead for good on a pair of free throws by Cox, starting a 13-0 run that pushed it to 25-13 on a Didi Richards jumper off an assist from Cox.
"Defensively, we just had to focus on the scouting report, really," said Cohen, who had two steals and two of the team's 10 blocks. "Stop penetration and just make adjustments on getting out on shooters, whether to help on ball side or not. Just different adjustments we had to make."
Brown and Cohen both had three-point plays in the first three minutes of the second quarter, helping Baylor stretch its lead to 46-24 by intermission.
Chou scored seven of her 10 points in the third quarter, kicking it off with a three-point play after missing a layup off a steal. Freshman guard Alexis Morris knocked down a jumper, giving the Lady Bears a 66-41 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Baylor shot 43.5 percent overall (27-of-62) against a Kansas defense that came in ranked second in the Big 12 and sixth nationally, allowing an opponent field goal percentage of 33.5. The Lady Bears held Kansas to 28.6 percent shooting (18-of-63), dominated the rebounding battle, 50-35, and outscored the Jayhawks, 36-22, on points in the paint.
"I thought Kalani Brown was our leader on the floor today, and she made sure that she got touches at the right time, got big rebounds at the right time, and I don't think she missed a free throw the entire game," Mulkey said.
Kansas' backcourt duo of Christalah Lyons and Brianna Osorio scored 15 and 12 points, respectively, to lead the Jayhawks. Kylee Kopatich, KU's leading scorer coming into the game with a 15.4 average, was just 2-of-15 from the field and finished with six points.
"We knew they were good drivers, so we just tried to use our length because we had a height advantage on them . . . so, we just had to let our length alter shots," Cohen said.
Baylor will have a midweek bye before facing Oklahoma (7-7, 2-1) at 1 p.m. next Sunday, Jan. 14, in Norman. The Sooners will play back-to-back road games at 20th-ranked Oklahoma State on Sunday and Texas Tech on Wednesday before hosting the Lady Bears.