Nov. 16, 2001
RENO, Nev. -
The Baylor women's basketball team opened the 2001 season with a closer-than-expected win over North Texas Friday night, holding on for a 85-78 win in the first round of the Nevada Bell Classic, hosted by Nevada.
The Lady Bears (1-0) built a 56-40 lead in the first half, but UNT (0-1) bounced back in the second half with a steady rally that eventually cut Baylor's lead to two at 74-72.
UNT senior forward Jalie Mitchell led all scorers on the night with 29 points, but missed the second of two free throws that would have reduced the Baylor lead to one with 6:26 remaining in the game. Baylor freshman Stefanie Blackmon, playing in her first game as a Bear, answered with a clutch jumper to rebuild the Bear lead to three.
After Mitchell's missed free throw, the Lady Eagles scored just four points in the next 5:27 as Baylor's defense clamped down. A three-pointer by sophomore guard Jessika Stratton and five points by senior all-American Danielle Crockrom during that stretch put the game on ice for the Lady Bears.
Stratton and senior all-American Sheila Lambert led Baylor in scoring with 18 points apiece, each player scored 13 in the first half as the Lady Bears took the early lead. For Stratton, the 18 points were a career-high, fueled by four-of-six shooting on 3-pointers.
Coming off the bench, Blackmon scored 14 points and led the Bears in rebounds with 12 in her collegiate debut. Crockrom added 15 points before fouling out with under a minute to go in the game. Lambert led the Lady Bears with seven assists.
The Lady Bears move on to the championship of the four-team tournament Saturday, where they will face host Nevada. Tipoff is set for 9 p.m. CT at the Lawlor Center in Reno.