Baylor defeats Hardin-Simmons in record-setting performance

Women's Basketball NCAA ChampionshipBy Daniel Hill

The Baylor Bears basketball team easily defeated the Hardin-Simmons Cowboys by a score of 107-38 on Saturday at the Ferrell Center. The Bears jumped off to a quick start and never looked back.

For the starting five, Baylor head coach Scott Drew opted to go with Rico Gathers, Gary Franklin, A.J. Walton, Brady Heslip and Cory Jefferson. Hardin-Simmons is a Division III opponent so the Bears rested some of their mainstay players, such as senior guard Pierre Jackson and freshman center Isaiah Austin.

“I though that those guys played a lot of minutes and were pretty banged up,” Drew said. “This was an opportunity for them to cheer on some of the players that every day get them better in practice.”

Baylor jumped out to a 9-0 lead off three-pointers from both Brady Heslip and Gary Franklin. Rico Gathers asserted himself early and made his presence known by dominating the paint and collecting rebound after rebound. Gathers ended the game with 12 rebounds as he made his first career start.

“It was good,” Gathers said. “You know I was really excited. My mom was in town. All in all, I had fun. It was an exciting game.”

From there, the Bears went on an impressive run and dazzled the fans at the Ferrell Center with some highlight plays. LJ Rose had a steal and a breakaway layup. Then Heslip hit back to back three-pointers on consecutive possessions. Immediately following Heslip’s six straight points, he lofted a perfect alley-oop to Deuce Bello that brought a roaring crowd to their feet. Following this array of spectacular highlight plays, Baylor all of a sudden had a commanding 30-7 lead. The game was practically settled at this point.

Near the end of the first half, Cory Jefferson authoritatively threw down a resoundingly powerful two handed slam dunk to give the Bears a 55-17 lead over Hardin-Simmons. At the end of the first half, the Bears led 56-19.

To start the third quarter, Baylor went with Gathers, Jefferson, Heslip, Franklin and L.J. Rose. Baylor continued to build the lead as Deuce Bello threw down a phenomenal windmill dunk.

With Baylor leading by such a wide margin, some players who normally do not get playing time were able to gain some experience including Logan Lowery and Jacob Neubert. Lowery scored his first career points for the Baylor Bears and ended up with 8 points. Neubert added six points of his own.

Baylor went on to win by 69 points, which is the all-time record for margin of victory in Baylor basketball history.

Taurean Prince led all scorers with 21 points. Heslip was five of eight from the three point line for 15 points. Gathers, Jefferson and Bello each had 10 points a piece.

Freshman guard L.J. Rose had 14 points to go with 12 assists for a double-double in a game in which he handled most of the point guard duties which normally fall to Jackson or Walton and Rose gained some valuable experience.

“It was great,” Rose said. “I go up against him (Walton) every day in practice. He gets me better. We’ve gotten a lot better since I’ve been here. We were finally able to showcase it and it was a lot of fun. It was a great opportunity”.

The victory over Hardin-Simmons gives the Bears a chance to go into its ESPN Big Monday showdown against Oklahoma State with some momentum.