The Lady Bears overcame a sluggish start and the absence of redshirt senior guard Alex Jones due to knock off the Texas State Bobcats 90-24 on Tuesday at the Ferrell Center.
“You don’t look at the score, you look at what you can do to help yourself and the team,” said head coach Kim Mulkey. “And I thought a lot of them should leave tonight feeling better about themselves.”
Baylor found great balance on the offensive end as six Lady Bears finished in double figures. Redshirt senior guard Alexis Prince, sophomore post Kelani Brown and freshman guard Natalie Chou all tallied 15 points. Chou hit five of six from three point range against the Bobcats. Senior Nina Davis, sophomore post Beatrice Mompremier finished with 12 points apiece, while freshman forward Lauren Cox scored 11.
“All it comes down to is confidence. Even if she had missed those shots, keep shooting. At points during the non conference schedule she wouldn’t even look at the basket,” Mulkey said on Chou. “I can preach it to her, her mom can preach it to her, but that bench works wonders sometimes… A little confidence goes a long way.”
Freshman guard Calveion Landrum did not score on the offensive end but grabbed seven rebounds and dished out 10 assists.
“In timeouts tonight I wanted her coming off the zone,” Mulkey said. “She has a knack for making good passes. She’s coming along at the pace I expected, her defense is coming along more aggressive and better, she’s working her hands on the ball. She’s very explosive on the open floor. If we get a turnover or rebound, you better be ready to go because Juicy will look up the floor quickly and I love that about her game.”
After leading 20-12 after the first quarter, Baylor used an 39-4 run stretching into the first seven minutes of the second half to pull away from the Bobcats.
“Natalie showed a lot of confidence today,” Prince said. “That’s what we’ve been wanting her to do is shoot the ball. You know it’s not going to go in if you don’t shoot it. Tonight, she was confident.”
Texas State was able to keep it close early on as it hit three of its first four three pointers. However, as the Lady Bears’ defensive intensity picked up, the Bobcats missed their next eight attempts and were never able to find much of an offensive rhythm inside amongst the drastically taller Lady Bears.
The Bobcats were no match for Baylor inside, as the Lady Bears controlled the glass, out-rebounding them 59-23, including 22-10 on the offensive end, leading to 25 second chance points.
The Lady Bears defense got stronger as the game went on, limiting the Bobcats to just five points in the second. Baylor forced the Bobcats into 23 turnovers that led to 26 points. They also head the Bobcats to just 18% from the field, including a mere 6.5% in the second half.
“The one thing that Baylor does well is knock down shots early,” said Bobcat head coach Zenarae Antoine. ” To me, this is a Final Four team. I think they’re moving in the right direction for sure.”
The Lady Bears return to action at 12 p.m. on Dec. 15 when they host Winthrop.