- Associated Press - Sunday, December 4, 2016

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Alexis Jones finished a rebound shy of a triple-double while helping Baylor hand Tennessee one of the most thorough defeats the Lady Volunteers have ever suffered on their home floor.

Jones had a career-high 30 points to go along with 10 assists, nine rebounds and just one turnover Sunday as the fourth-ranked Lady Bears trounced No. 22 Tennessee 88-66, matching the Lady Vols’ biggest home loss ever.

“I didn’t know how close I was until I came out,” Jones said. “And then they told me all I needed was a rebound.”

Jones would have become the first Baylor player to ever post a triple-double that included points, rebounds and assists. Baylor’s last triple-double came from Brittney Griner, who had 28 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocks against West Virginia on March 2, 2013.

Baylor (9-1) scored the game’s first 11 points and never looked back to earn its seventh straight victory. The Lady Bears led by as many as 35 points before coasting to victory in this SEC/Big 12 Challenge matchup.

“The one loss that we suffered this year, we felt that it was a lack of focus, a lack of mental toughness,” Baylor forward Nina Davis said in reference to a 72-61 loss at Connecticut on Nov. 17. “We felt like we weren’t aggressive. That’s something that we’re not trying to have happen again, so each and every game we’re coming in with a mindset that we’re going to come in and dominate from the beginning of the game to the end.”

Davis had 20 points and nine rebounds for Baylor. Khadijiah Cave added 10 points.

Mercedes Russell had 22 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks for Tennessee. Jaime Nared had 19 points and 11 rebounds. Diamond DeShields added 13 points.

The only other time Tennessee (4-3) fell by as many as 22 points at home was a 74-52 loss to Texas on Dec. 1, 1985, at the old Stokely Athletics Center. Tennessee moved from Stokely to Thompson-Boling Arena in 1987-88.

“We’ve got players that are underachieving,” Tennessee coach Holly Warlick said. “We’re just underachieving and we’re not playing hard. I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t have an answer. (Baylor) looked a lot better prepared than the Lady Vols.”


Baylor: The Lady Bears capitalized on their size to dominate this game from start to finish. Baylor outscored Tennessee 58-28 in points in the paint. Baylor didn’t need much Sunday from Kalani Brown, who scored just two points. Brown entered the day averaging 14.2 points per game to rank second on the team.

Tennessee: The Lady Vols need more from DeShields. After committing 10 turnovers in a loss at Virginia Tech last week, DeShields shot 4 of 14 and had five turnovers against Baylor. She scored just two points in the first half.


Tennessee’s loss leaves the Lady Vols in danger of falling out of the Top 25. Tennessee ended a string of 565 consecutive weeks in the Top 25 late last season when it fell out of the rankings for the first time since 1985.


Only a major discrepancy at the foul line prevented the score from being even more lopsided. Tennessee was 23 of 33 on free throws while Baylor was 7 of 9. Baylor didn’t attempt a single free throw in the first half.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever coached a game where we never shot a free throw until the middle of the third quarter - and you’re winning (by) 35-40 points,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “I don’t know how you explain that. We never got to the foul line. If you look, they shot three or four times as many free throws. That has to speak volumes for how well (our) team played.”


“They’ve got to go down swinging,” Warlick said. “They’ve got to carry a big stick. We’re carrying a little twig right now, and that ain’t working.”


Baylor hosts Texas State on Tuesday.

Tennessee visits No. 14 Texas on Dec. 11.

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