Feb. 7, 2009
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Postgame Press Conference
WACO, Texas (AP) -
Jhasmin Player was surprised when memories of last season's knee injury returned during the past couple of days.
Baylor's senior guard put those thoughts out of her mind with her best offensive game of the season.
Player scored a season-high 16 points just more than a year after suffering a season-ending injury against Kansas State, and eighth-ranked Lady Bears pulled away late to beat the No. 18 Wildcats 59-50 on Saturday.
"I didn't think this was a big deal at first," said Player, who was 7-for-10 from the field. "Then I saw the scouting report and watched film of them. I started to think about it more."
Player went down hard and injured her left knee on a fast break last Feb. 2 against the Wildcats. She missed the final 11 games of the season, including Baylor's two games in the NCAA tournament.
Player may have put those bad memories to rest by scoring 12 points in the second half, including seven during a 13-0 run that helped Baylor (19-3, 7-2 Big 12) seal the victory.
"It was fulfilling because of all (Player) dealt with," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. "You remember the moment, the feeling, the score and the time when it all happened."
Baylor snapped a two-game home losing streak in which it lost to No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 16 Texas. The Lady Bears avoided their first three-game home skid since the 1999-2000 season.
"When you play in a league like this, home wins are as tough to come by as road wins," Mulkey said.
Jessica Morrow scored 17 points and Danielle Wilson posted her 12th double-double of the season with 12 points and 14 rebounds for the Lady Bears, who took sole possession of second place in the Big 12.
Ashley Sweat scored 17 points and Kari Kincaid added 11 for Kansas State (19-3, 6-3).
"We found ways to keep battling back," Kansas State coach Deb Patterson said. "Baylor just made more assertive runs on the offensive end of the floor."
Kansas State was within 45-43 when Baylor broke the game open. Wilson hit a free throw and Morrow had a layup to put Baylor on top 48-43.
Player had two layups and a 3-pointer that gave Baylor a 58-43 lead with 3:43 left.
Mulkey credited Player and Morrow, two of Baylor's seniors, for closing out the game.
"Seniors have to take you there," Mulkey said. "They made plays with confidence to help us win the ballgame."
Morrow scored her team's first eight points of the second half as part of a 10-2 run that gave the Lady Bears a 36-27 advantage.
Kansas State fought back to tie the game at 38 when Kelsey Nelson hit a 3-pointer with 11:41 remaining.
The Wildcats, who came in with the nation's top scoring defense allowing 50 points per game, were within 45-43 when Sweat hit a 3-pointer with 9 minutes remaining.
Kansas State turned the ball over five times in its next nine possessions and went six minutes without a point. The Wildcats finished 16-for-47 from the field (34 percent).
"It's hard to win in this league scoring 50 points," Patterson said.
Kincaid scored her team's first eight points of the game, including back-to-back 3-pointers, that gave the Wildcats an 8-2 lead.
Despite going more than eight minutes without a field goal during one stretch, Kansas State still led 23-19 late in the half.
Baylor closed the first half with a 7-2 run, taking a 26-25 lead on Player's jumper with 28 seconds remaining.