By Jerry Hill
Baylor Bear Foundation
Baylor has made a habit of putting up some impressive offensive numbers, already scoring over 100 points three times this season.
Thursday night, the ninth-ranked Lady Bears (6-1) put out a defensive effort that was maybe even more impressive, holding No. 20 Kentucky (6-1) without a single made field goal in the third quarter (0-for-13) en route to a 90-63 rout of the Wildcats in the Big 12/SEC Challenge at the Ferrell Center.
"We haven't played quarters for but a few years, but that's pretty impressive to defend a whole quarter and hold them to zero field goals," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. "We told them in the timeout. Maybe I shouldn't have because we didn't too good in the fourth quarter. But, that's impressive. We'll watch film and those kids that were on the floor and contributed to that will be acknowledged."
Kentucky was 0-for-13 from the field in the third quarter and missed its first two shots in the fourth before hitting six of its last 16 to finish 19-of-59 (32.2 percent) for the game.
"I think as the score started to separate, we - like a lot of teams do - panicked trying to get it all back quickly," UK coach Matt Mitchell said. "Tough defensive team, a lot of size, can't score at the rim . . . just going up against a good team, we couldn't make a shot. And you saw the result."
The Wildcats also struggled to contain Baylor's potent inside-out attack. Kalani Brown, Lauren Cox and Dekeiya Cohen combined for 36 points, 24 rebounds and five block shots, but it was the razor-sharp 3-point shooting of Kristy Wallace and Juicy Landrum that put the icing on the cake.
Wallace scored 15 of her season-high 20 points in the first half and was 3-for-4 from outside the arc, while Landrum nailed all four 3-point attempts and had 14 points, six rebounds and three assists.
"I think they were just helping off on the bigs, and I was open on the perimeter," Wallace said. "The bigs were able to find me on the skip pass, and I was able to execute from there."
It was a pair of Wallace free throws off a flagrant foul by Maci Morris that got the Lady Bears rolling, as they reeled off 11 unanswered points and stretched their lead to 34-21 on a Cohen layup off a feed from Cox.
Even with Brown sitting out the last 11 minutes of the first half with her second foul and contributing just three points and two rebounds, Baylor was able to take a 50-34 lead into the break.
"It's big in that it helps us grow and it gives other people an opportunity to play minutes," Mulkey said. "But, if Kalani is going to be an All-American, she's got to stop that. That's become a pattern now, and we don't have enough depth for her to pick up those fouls and not contribute. We'll discuss it. Her mom is in tow, so I probably don't have to say a whole lot."
Things certainly didn't get any better for the Wildcats in that third quarter. Brown got two quick buckets to stretch the lead to 20 and it was up to 73-40 by the end of the period.
"We as coaches maybe focus too much on the inside kids and trying to take that away," Mitchell said. "Nothing against our players, but just subconsciously maybe they didn't understand that we needed to get out there and contest. Especially as they started to heat up, we needed to try to run them off the line. But, when they're shooting the ball great from the outside, and you've got Kalani Brown and Lauren Cox inside, that's a powerful team. . . . They'll be heard from in March. They'll be really good."
Freshman guard Alexis Morris added 15 points and four assists, while Morris led the Wildcats with a game-high 22 points.
Baylor will host No. 16/14 Stanford (5-3) at 1 p.m. Sunday as part of "The Basketball Capital of Texas Weekend" at the Ferrell Center. The 16th-ranked Baylor men (5-1) host No. 8 Wichita State (5-1) at 1 p.m. Saturday.