By Ben Everett | Sports Editor
No. 4-ranked Baylor women’s basketball defeated Saint Francis 116-58 Thursday night at the Ferrell Center to move to 2-0 on the season.
The Lady Bears were led by senior center Kalani Brown, who scored 23 points on 11-for-14 shooting while freshman forward NaLyssa Smith poured in 21 points and 10 rebounds.
The Lady Bears got off to a slow start, falling behind 9-7 after back-to-back threes from Saint Francis. Baylor sped the game up by pressuring the Red Flash, forcing turnovers and scoring in transition. The Lady Bears ended the first quarter on a 25-0 run to take a 32-9 lead. Senior guard Chloe Jackson led the way, scoring on layups, pull-up jumpers and free throws to tally nine points in the opening frame.
The Red Flash offense came out firing in the second quarter. Saint Francis senior forward Courtney Zezza drained her second three-pointer of the night and freshman guard Phee Allen scored on a three-pointer and a layup to cut the lead to 36-17 just two minutes into the second quarter.
Smith knocked down her first career three-pointer and the Lady Bears were relentless in attacking the basket, scoring in the paint on 3-of-4 possessions in the first five minutes of the second quarter to take a 43-17 lead.
Baylor freshman forward Caitlin Bickle provided a spark off the bench for the Lady Bears, scoring six points in a minute and a half stretch to propel Baylor to a 58-26 halftime lead.
Saint Francis scorched the nets from deep in the first half, connecting on eight three-pointers despite trailing by 32. At the break, Jackson led all scorers with 13 points on 5-for-5 shooting from the field.
Ten quick points out of the break by Brown helped the Lady Bears go on a 22-2 run to start the second half and take a 80-28 lead into the media timeout.
Zezza knocked down her third three-pointer and the Red Flash scored two more from deep in the late stages of the third quarter, but Baylor held a 91-37 lead heading into the final quarter.
Saint Francis poured in six more threes in the fourth quarter, but the Lady Bears pulled out the 116-58 win.
Baylor finished the game shooting 65.8 percent from the field while only connecting on 1-of-4 three-pointers. Meanwhile, the Red Flash made 17-of-57 threes and shot 28.2 percent from the field.
After starting the season with back-to-back home games, the Lady Bears will now travel to face No. 23 Arizona State at 6:30 p.m. Sunday in Fort Defiance, Ariz.