WACO, Texas -- With Nina Davis open in the middle, everything went just as planned for the Baylor women -- and they are going to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the eighth year in a row.
Davis scored a season high-matching 30 points and freshman post Kalani Brown had 16 points as the Lady Bears beat the Auburn press all night while avoiding being trapped in an 84-52 victory Sunday.
"We knew that Nina was going to be open most of the time in that middle. We did exactly what our game plan was set for," said Alexis Jones, who had 16 points, seven steals and six assists.
"Probably yesterday at practice," junior forward Davis responded was asked when she knew their plan was going to work. "It played out exactly how we played it in practice and we just kept attacking, and it kept working all night."
The Lady Bears (35-1), the No. 1 seed in the Dallas Region and with a 22-game winning streak, advances to play Saturday at the NBA Dallas Mavericks' home arena about 100 miles from their campus. Baylor will take on Texas A&M or Florida State, who play Monday night.
Brandy Montgomery had 14 points and Tra'cee Tanner 13 for ninth-seeded Auburn (20-13), which was the last unranked opponent to beat the Lady Bears on their home court. That was 13 years ago in the WNIT final to end coach Kim Mulkey's third season at Baylor.
The Tigers never gave themselves a chance to win again in the Ferrell Center since they were the team making turnovers instead of forcing them early. The 84 points were the most they allowed this season.
Auburn depends on its pressure defense and in the opener of its first NCAA Tournament since 2009 forced 25 turnovers that led to 32 points in a 68-57 victory over St. John's. But Baylor had already 10 points off turnovers, and Auburn none, when it was a 27-point game midway through the second quarter.
Baylor was up 37-10 after a 12-0 run in which Davis scored 10 points and had a nifty assist on the other basket.
"I know how she gets `em. ... I liked Nina Davis when she was playing high school, when she was playing AAU," said Auburn coach Terry Terri Williams-Flournoy. "She's got a motor that's unbelievable. I just looked at the box score, and she scored 30 points. It's easy for her to score 30 points `cause she plays so hard. She's getting to the floor. She's running in transition. She's I want me one of those."
The Lady Bears never trailed after Jones hit a 3-pointer on her first shot just like in their tournament opener two days earlier. Senior point guard Niya Johnson had 10 assists in her final home game, and Alexis Prince had 13 rebounds.
Since that 64-63 WNIT loss on April 4, 2003, the Lady Bears have won 166 consecutive home games against unranked opponents. They also have seven Big 12 regular-season championships, with 11 trips to the Sweet 16 and two national titles (2005 and 2012).
"The main thing is we're still doing it," Mulkey said.
In a span of a minute in the second quarter, Davis had two three-point plays and the nice assist. Kristy Wallace passed the ball on the break to Davis, who in one motion without a dribble pushed the ball to Jones for an easy layup.
That run ended with another impressive no-dribble assist from that trio, this time Wallace in the air when she got the ball from Jones and then to Davis for the basket.
"I've been taking some notes at practice and taking some of their passes and taking Alexis Jones' no looks. I wanted to get me one on the highlights," Davis said. "We're just such a team that we don't really care who is scoring. That's what makes us so great."
Auburn: The Tigers finished with 15 turnovers, two more than they forced. ... Janiah McKay ended the third quarter with a 3-pointer from just beyond half court to beat the buzzer. The Tigers still trailed 68-39 then. ... Katie Frerking, whose older brother was a backup quarterback at Baylor from 2011-14, had 11 points.
Baylor: The Lady Bears are 38-12 in NCAA Tournament games, 11-1 at the Ferrell Center. ... Johnson and fellow seniors Kristina Higgins and Chardonae Fuqua took a lap around the court after the game. ... Davis' career high in an NCAA Tournament game was 32 points in Baylor's first-round game over Western Kentucky two years ago when she was a freshman.
Auburn: Season's over.
Baylor: Play Florida State or Texas A&M in Sweet 16 in Dallas on Saturday.
- Laura Morris
- Bryan Enterline
- Kevin Pethtel