WACO, Texas -- When Baylor decided to get the ball inside the paint, there was nothing Houston Baptist could do about it.
Kalani Brown scored 16 of her career-high 24 points in the third quarter and Nina Davis added 18 points and nine rebounds to help the second-ranked Lady Bears rout the Huskies 118-43 in the season opener for both teams Friday.
The Lady Bears (1-0), who boast a front line with five players 6-foot-2 or taller, posted a 62-17 edge in points in the paint and controlled the boards by a 62-27 margin.
"I get to coach a team that doesn't look past the current opponent," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. "We've got two tough games coming up, and maybe that's what I wanted to see is how sharp we were, how focused we were. We're big and we've got a lot of bigs, and they need to touch the ball right out of the gates."
Baylor had 30 assists on its 44 field goals, despite playing its first game since the graduation of Niya Johnson. She led the nation in assists last year and is the all-time leader in that category in Big 12 history.
Alexis Jones added 16 points and Beatrice Mompremier had 14 points and seven rebounds, including five on the offensive end.
"Her rebounding is something else," Mulkey said. "That kid can get to some offensive boards because she's so athletic and she's got great size and length. Beatrice can finish because both shoulders are healthy and she's a year older. She gives us that energy when we start games."
Amanda Johnson shook off a scoreless first half in the third quarter, when she hit three 3-pointers and scored all of her 10 points to lead Houston Baptist (0-1).
"Coming into the game we were telling our kids we have to be aggressive and we have to attack," Houston Baptist coach Donna Finnie said. "But we're not used to seeing that size and on-ball pressure. That's not something we see in the Southland Conference, but we knew it was going to be an issue today. Initially I think it bothered our kids, but I think in the second half we settled in and started to make reads a little better."
Baylor: Coming off three straight Elite 8 showings, the Lady Bears hope the addition of the nation's top-ranked recruiting class will propel them beyond that plateau. Lauren Cox, the top overall recruit, had eight points and six rebounds in her debut.
Houston Baptist: The Huskies are hoping early road tests like this one will help when Southland Conference play rolls around. They can take some confidence from scoring 19 points in third quarter after managing only 12 in the first half.
Baylor's schedule ramps up immediately, with two top-10 showdowns next week. The Lady Bears will host No. 9 UCLA, the Pac-12 favorite, Monday before going on the road to meet No. 3 UConn, the four-time defending national champion Thursday.
Houston Baptist: Things get no easier for the Huskies, who will travel to meet their second straight top-10 team when they play No. 8 Texas on Wednesday.
POLL IMPLICATIONS: The Lady Bears' spot at No. 2 is secure for this week, and they could take over at the top if they're able to sweep their two games next week.
|Stephen F. Austin||14-4||2||25-8|
|Sam Houston State||3-15||13||3-25|