- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 13, 2017

WACO, Texas (AP) - After a long layoff, coaches usually are concerned about their teams showing rust in the early part of their next game.

Any fears Baylor coach Kim Mulkey might have had were quickly eased Wednesday, thanks to some of her veteran players.

Kristy Wallace scored 20 points and No. 6 Baylor opened on a 27-3 run to rout McNeese State 95-34.

“I think we came out well,” Wallace said. “We ran the floor really hard, especially with Alexis (Morris) at the point to begin the game. I think we did have lapses during the game where we weren’t fully there defensively. But I think we came back ready to play, and the girls did well.”

Kalani Brown had 17 points and 16 rebounds, and Didi Richards added 11 points and 12 rebounds for her first career double-double with the Lady Bears (9-1), who were playing their first game in eight days. Baylor shot 44 percent (36 of 80), including 39 percent from 3-point range (9 of 23).

“I felt like I needed to crash the boards because I’ve been getting yelled at about not rebounding the last couple of games,” Richards said.

Natalie Chou scored 17 points, Juicy Landrum added 10 and Wallace had five assists to bring her total over the last three games to 20 with only one turnover. Moon Ursin grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds.

Lauren Cox sprained her ankle late in the first quarter and did not return. An X-ray was negative, but she will have an MRI to determine the extent of the injury.

“I hate that Lauren rolled her ankle because she and Kalani have been really good together,” Mulkey said. “We’ve been clicking here of late.”

McNeese State (4-5) shot 18 percent (11 of 61) and didn’t make its first two-point field goal until the 6:53 mark of the second quarter. The Cowgirls didn’t have a player reach double figures, with Gabby Guidry scoring a team-high seven.

“Baylor is a very good team. They’re the No. 6 team in the country for a reason,” McNeese State coach Kacie Cryer said. “I have much respect for this team and this program, and what Coach Mulkey has done for the game of basketball.”

Baylor dominated in the paint, 50-10, and turned 21 McNeese State turnovers into 23 points.

BIG PICTURE

McNeese State: Finding a way to get the ball inside proved difficult throughout the game but especially in the first half. The Cowgirls were 2-for-18 from two-point range at halftime. Their lack of size also showed up in rebounding, a battle they lost 64-39. This was McNeese State’s second game against a top-10 team. It lost 100-34 to then-No. 2 Texas on Nov. 15.

Baylor: With only three players on the roster listed as a forward or center, Baylor doesn’t have much depth in the frontcourt. That group was even more depleted on Wednesday. Cox played only seven minutes before her injury. Dekeiya Cohen, also a usual starter, got the day off. Both will likely miss Baylor’s next game as well to give them an extended rest before Big 12 play begins.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Baylor moved up two spots during its break, thanks to losses by Texas and UCLA, and will have to rely on others falling if it wishes to move up any time soon. Baylor’s next shot at a ranked team is Jan. 25 at home against No. 8 Texas.

UP NEXT

McNeese State will play the second game of its four-game road trip against Louisiana Tech on Monday.

Baylor will travel to face another Southland Conference opponent in Nicholls State on Monday.


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