Kalani Brown leads Lady Bears to 14th straight win

Story by Giana Pirolli | Sports Writer, Video by Elisabeth Tharp | Broadcast Reporter

Baylor (17-1, 7-0) cruised by Kansas State (11-8, 3-5) 75-50 on Saturday night at the Ferrell Center.

The two teams played for the second time, with the Lady Bears taking the first matchup 88-58 on Dec. 28 in their conference opener. The Lady Bears played with the same ferocity in Saturday night’s game as they not only led in field goal percentage 42 to 31, but also out-rebounded KSU 69-24.

This is the Lady Bears’ 14th straight win. Baylor is also now 7-0 in Big 12 play for the second season in a row. Head coach Kim Mulkey has clinched a 7-0 start in conference play for the eighth time now.

Before the game, both Baylor and Kansas State wore t-shirts in honor of womens college basketball coach Pat Summitt, who passed away from Alzheimer’s in 2016.

Sophomore forward Peyton Williams gave the Wildcats an early 2-0 lead at the 8:58 mark, but the Lady Bears answered back as junior center Kalani Brown’s jumper tied the game up at 2-2. Brown was able to put the Bears up 11-9 with a layup assisted by sophomore guard Natalie Chou with 2:35 to go in the first quarter. Kansas State led for 5:11 of the first quarter while Baylor only led for 2:48.

Going into the second quarter, Baylor was up 14-9. The Lady Bears led for the entire second quarter.

Senior forward Kristy Wallace’s layup put the Bears up 16-9 in the beginning of the second quarter and sophomore forward Lauren Cox’s jumper with 1:04 left gave the Bears a 16-point lead at 34-18 going into halftime.

At halftime, the Lady Bears and their families were honored at center court. Wallace’s family gave their support for Baylor all the way back home from Australia with a special message that appeared on the big screen.

Going into the third quarter, Cox’s jumper made the score 36-18. Kansas State was finally able to score at the 8:03 mark off of junior guard Kayla Goth’s three-pointer. Baylor limited Kansas State to just 18 points in the third quarter.

The fourth quarter started with a turnover for Kansas State and the Lady Bears were able to capitalize on this with a three-pointer by freshman guard Alexis Morris with 9:21 remaining of the game. Even though Kansas State had only eight turnovers compared to Baylor’s 13, and also led in three-point percentage 24 to 12.5, it was not enough to combat the Lady Bears.

The Bears led for 33 of the game’s 40 minutes.

Brown finished with 33 points and 19 rebounds, while Cox had 16 points and 19 rebounds.

Goth had 22 points for KSU.

Coach Mulkey said she was impressed Brown and Cox’s presence on the glass.

“That’s a lot of rebounds for two girls who play together and they have to share the rebounding and not fight over it,” Mulkey said. “To think you had that many come off the boards and they both had the same number of rebounds is pretty impressive, and we sure are glad.”

Morris contributed 12 points for the Lady Bears, while freshman guard Didi Richards had six points and seven rebounds.

Brown said that the style of play for the freshmen will help the team, especially going into a tough stretch.

“I think the freshmen that we have are comfortable and come into the game hard. Playing Texas before, they bring energy so we just have to match that,” Brown said.

After being on the road, Coach Mulkey said she was glad to be back playing at home.

“It was good to be back home,” Mulkey said. “We have been gone two or three weeks. It was good to be back home. I thought the crowd was good. I don’t know if there was a statement to make, we just need to protect our home floor. I think anybody will tell you that when you are trying to win another championship, you need to try to win all of them at home and sneak some on the road.”

Baylor is now 32-8 against Kansas State in the all-time series.

No. 4 Baylor will now host No. 9 Texas at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Ferrell Center. Kansas State plays TCU at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Manhattan, Kan.