LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP)Baylor used a big first half to cruise past Kansas and move into first in the Big 12.
Lauren Cox and NaLyssa Smith each scored 13 points and the Lady Bears scored 50 points in the opening 20 minutes to rout the Jayhawks 90-47 on Wednesday night.
”I thought it was a game of two halves,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. ”We were very dominant in the first half, came out smoking. In the second half, I think we looked at the scoreboard and got relaxed, and we were not the same team in the second half.”
The Lady Bears (13-1, 3-0 Big 12) moved into first place in the conference after a loss by West Virginia earlier in the evening to Oklahoma.
The Jayhawks (11-4, 0-4) entered the matchup looking to pull off an upset but struggled from the floor, shooting 35% led by 13 points from Aniya Thomas – all of which came in the second half.
”Driving and drawing fouls being aggressive rather than in the first half,” Thomas said. I was passing it out and not attacking the goal, but in the second half, I did,” said Thomas.
Kansas held the Lady Bears to only 36 points in the paint but allowed 24 points off 22 turnovers, which was a huge blow.
”I’d take 36 points in the paint because they can get 60-plus in the paint, but they got 24 points off our turnovers, and they are such an outstanding transition team that when you commit turnovers, those are like outlet passes for those guys,” coach Brandon Schneider said.
The Lady Bears distributed the ball well all night with 22 assists on the night. Te’a Cooper led the Lady Bears with five assists on the night, but the 15 turnovers were one of the negatives seen by Mulkey.
”Not good. You need to be two to one in assists to turnovers, so if we had 15 turnovers, we need 30 assists,” she said.
The hot start allowed Baylor to provide significant conference playing time to bench players. The reserves scored 37 points led by Trinity Oliver, who finished the night with 10 points and seven rebounds.
”I just think that coach gives us opportunities, and we just have to capitalize on opportunities,” Oliver said. ”I just think we have to be solid when she calls our name.”
Kansas: The Jayhawks had no answer for the size and shooting by Baylor. Kansas was slow out of the gate, which put the Jayhawks in a deep hole early.
Baylor: Moved the ball effectively and shot the ball efficiently, two spots where the Lady Bears lead the Big 12.
Kansas will host Texas Tech on Saturday, seeking the first conference win of the season.
Baylor will face off against West Virginia at home on Saturday for the top spot in the conference.