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Lady Bears Down Houston Baptist 118-43 in Season Opener

The Lady Bears (1-0), who boast a front line with five players 6-foot-2 or taller, posted a 62-17 edge in points in the paint and controlled the boards by a 62-27 margin.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Northwestern State at Baylor
Baylor Bears head coach Kim Mulkey, Dec 4, 2015
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
  • When Baylor decided to get the ball inside the paint, there was nothing Houston Baptist could do about it. From ABC News dot com.

Kalani Brown scored 16 of her career-high 24 points in the third quarter and Nina Davis added 18 points and nine rebounds to help the second-ranked Lady Bears rout the Huskies 118-43 in the season opener for both teams Friday.

The Lady Bears (1-0), who boast a front line with five players 6-foot-2 or taller, posted a 62-17 edge in points in the paint and controlled the boards by a 62-27 margin.

"I get to coach a team that doesn't look past the current opponent," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. "We've got two tough games coming up, and maybe that's what I wanted to see is how sharp we were, how focused we were. We're big and we've got a lot of bigs, and they need to touch the ball right out of the gates."

Baylor had 30 assists on its 44 field goals, despite playing its first game since the graduation of Niya Johnson. She led the nation in assists last year and is the all-time leader in that category in Big 12 history.

NCAA Womens Basketball: McNeese State at Baylor
Dec 13, 2015; Kalani Brown (21) shoots over McNeese State
Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

One of six players in double figures, Davis had 18 points, nine rebounds and three steals in 21 minutes as the No. 2 Lady Bears opened the regular season with a 118-43 rout of the Houston Baptist Huskies Friday night before a crowd of 5,483.

"We're a team that as you can see we have a lot of depth . . . a lot of different scorers," said Davis, who was an efficient 7-of-11 from the field. "And I just think this team in general, we're not selfish. We don't really care who gets the credit. We all have one common goal, and that's getting to the Final Four and potentially playing for a national championship. So, whatever my team needs me to do, I'm willing to do it to help us finally get over that hump."

HBU coach Donna Finnie said she expects to see the Lady Bears in Dallas for the Final Four.

"We knew coming into this game that they're a super talented team," said Finnie, who had just one player taller than 6-1. "They're going to be a tremendous force. . . . Natalie Chou had a stretch where she looked really, really good. She did a good job of attacking the rim. And Lauren Cox is a very talented big. Those two, in particular, really helped them with their rotations. But, I thought our kids battled as hard as they could in spells."

Feature Story on Nina Davis

Melvin Davis watched the softball sail toward his daughter, Nina Davis, in center field 15 years ago. Within seconds, like everybody else at the tiny ballpark in Memphis, he was on his feet.

In that moment, he felt that mix of curiosity and emotion you get when you see something happen in sports that’s hard to define — that thing that speaks to the whole reason you care about the game in the first place.

That his daughter, just eight years old, was doing it made no difference.

Nina fielded the ball with an eye on the runner, who was cruising toward second base. Everyone in the stands screamed for her to throw it.

She didn’t hesitate, and took off in a dead sprint, flying into the infield as the runner’s foot touched third base.

She continued to pick up speed as she headed for home. (To continue reading, visit this link.)