By Harper Mayfield | Sports Writer
Women’s basketball continued its NCAA Tournament dominance on Tuesday, blowing past Virginia Tech 90-48. With the win, Baylor moves on to the Sweet 16. Head coach Kim Mulkey was very pleased with the team’s overall performance.
“When you create that many turnovers, when you look at the points in the paint, the second chance points, the fast break, and you look at the bench points — I’ve been doing this 36 years, and that was as impressive a defensive performance as I’ve seen,” Mulkey said. “I feel like sometimes we forget as coaches, but our kids were ready to play defensively.”
Guards Moon Ursin and DiJonai Carrington led the way for the Lady Bears, each scoring 21 points. Ursin pulled in six rebounds, while Carrington secured eight of her own. Neither one was able to top center Queen Egbo on the boards, who pulled in 13 misses. In the assist column, senior guard DiDi Richards paced the Lady Bears with nine dishes. Baylor shot well from the field, shooting 50%, as well as hitting half of their attempts from deep and shooting 70% from the free throw line. Carrington felt that the team’s defensive performance was just as important as its scoring.
“We just had to dig deep, buckle down and make plays, and that’s what [we] did,” Carrington said. “It really started on the defensive end, with Queen shutting down [Elizabeth] Kitely. We really fed off that energy.”
Baylor jumped out to an early lead in the first, getting out in front 7-0. The lead would only grow from there, as Baylor kept the Hokies from scoring with any efficiency. VT went 3-14 from the floor in the first, scoring just nine points. While Baylor only shot 42% from the floor, they almost doubled up the Hokies in the quarter, finishing the first with a 17-8 lead.
From the end of the first through the beginning of the second, Baylor put together a 10-0 run to push the lead to 14. Baylor got a huge contribution from the bench in the second, with 17 points coming from the second unit. The Lady Bears also came up with a number of second chance points, keeping their shooting percentages high. In the second, Baylor also got hot from beyond the arc, hitting four of their six triples. At the half, Baylor was already running away with it, 44-20.
The third quarter was VT’s most effective quarter, but it wasn’t enough to cut into the Baylor lead. The Lady Bears also had a hot quarter, shooting almost 58% from the field. Baylor hit four of their eight threes in the quarter too, continuing their hot night from beyond the arc. Despite the Hokies’ strong quarter, Baylor continued to build their lead. Heading into the fourth, the Lady Bears were up 72-42.
The final quarter saw Baylor dip in shooting percentages somewhat, but a monster defensive performance made up for it. Virginia Tech made just one shot in the fourth, and Baylor began with four straight makes. The Hokies’ one bucket came with a minute and two seconds to play in the game. It was less than enough, as Baylor finished the game with a 42 point lead, and won the game 90-48.
Baylor will face off with six seed Michigan on Sunday at 5 p.m. TV information is still to be determined.