- Kalani Brown is 20 pounds lighter this season, and Baylor's 6-foot-7 sophomore post player is moving smoothly up and down the court. Fox Sports has this game story and more:
And she's dominating on both ends for the second-ranked Lady Bears.
Brown set career highs with 25 points, 19 rebounds and six assists and Baylor took over after halftime on way to an 84-70 victory over ninth-ranked UCLA on Monday night.
''My game is elevated,'' said Brown, the Louisiana native who said she ate healthier and worked extra throughout the off season. ''Being able to take off getting my second wind, it feels really good.''
- She won’t always be able to throw the team on her back and dig it out of a second-half deficit like she did in No. 2 Baylor’s 84-70 win over No. 9 UCLA on Monday night. WacoTrib’s Tony Adame also has this story and more:
There’s no way, right?
After two games in which the 6-foot-7 sophomore has been virtually unstoppable, putting limits on what she can or can’t do might just be a fool’s errand – her 25 points, 19 rebounds, six assists and five blocks against the Bruins being the latest example.
“It doesn’t surprise me because (Brown) is an incredible player,” said senior forward Nina Davis, who finished with 15 points and six rebounds. “Now, she’s got a year of experience under her belt. She’s more relaxed out there and the work she put in during the off season is all starting to pay off now.”
- UCLA coach Cori Close put it simply: "Kalani Brown was a hand full." From the Quad City Times:
Baylor had trailed 48-41 at halftime, but got even in the first 2 minutes of the third quarter. Alexis Prince hit a 3-pointer before Alexis Jones and Brown each had baskets, and assisted each other.
Up by only two going to the fourth quarter, a layup by Jones soon after that started a 14-0 run over a 5-minute span for the Lady Bears (2-0). That spurt included a 13-foot straight-up jumper for Brown, who finished 12-of-15 shooting.
After watching sophomore post Kalani Brown record a monster double-double with a career-high 25 points and 19 rebounds, Kim Mulkey shrugged and said that's exactly what she expects. This story by Jerry Hill of the Baylor Bear Foundation can be found at Baylor Bears Dot com.
"Quite frankly, I've got a lot of post players I can choose from," said Mulkey, whose second-ranked Lady Bears rallied an 11-point first-half deficit to defeat No. 9 UCLA, 84-70, Monday night before a Ferrell Center crowd of 5,955. "Kalani has taken off about 20 pounds. She was one of the guys in the Oregon State game at the end of the year that wasn't afraid to get in there and bang with you. And yeah, that's why she stayed on the floor."
The visiting Bruins (1-1) blistered the nets for 33 second-quarter points and went up 43-32 on a pair of free throws by Monique Billings, who had a double-double herself with 16 points and 10 boards.
That included a 5-for-6 shooting performance from outside the 3-point arc, with Kari Korver knocking down three treys in the quarter and four for the game.
"Actually, I encouraged them," said Mulkey, when asked about her halftime message with the team trailing 48-41 at the break. "I said, `Guys, if you think they can shoot like that again . . . then they're going to win that ballgame, because there's just not a whole lot we could do.'''
The answer, obviously, was that they couldn't - or at least didn't - shoot like that again. UCLA was 0-for-7 from 3-point range and shot just 24 percent overall in the second half (6-for-25) and was outscored 43-22.
"It was just us playing more aggressive," said senior All-American forward Nina Davis, who chipped in with 15 points and six rebounds. "We were kind of playing back on them. Sometimes, we were out there at the 3-point line and we had our hands down. We came into the game wanting to limit their 3's and their transition points and try to slow down (point guard Jordin Canada). I feel like in the second half, we bought into our defense, and that's what opened up the offensive side for us."
Particularly for the 6-7 Brown, who had eight points in 10 minutes in the first half. After the break, she was 8-for-10 from the field, scored 17 points, grabbed 14 boards, blocked four shots and added six assists playing 19 of the 20 minutes.
"She's an incredible player," Davis said. "She just has a year under her belt, so now she's experienced, she's more relaxed out there. She put in the work in the offseason, and it's all starting to pay off for her now."
The Lady Bears opened the second half on an 8-0 run, going up 49-48 on a three-point play by Brown, and trailed just once after that.
Alexis Prince, who finished a rebound shy of a double-double with 15 points and nine boards, opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer as part of an 18-2 run that staked Baylor to an 81-63 lead midway through the period.
"Credit to Baylor, they came out the second half and they punched first," said Canada, who had 23 points, six assists and four steals for the Bruins. "Coach talked about before the game, we had to come out and punch first. And that's what we did in the first half."
UCLA did throw the first punch, jumping out to a 6-0 lead and going up 11-2 on a Korver 3-pointer and Canada jumper. But, the Lady Bears outscored the Bruins, 17-4, the rest of the quarter and took a 19-15 lead.
Senior point guard Alexis Jones also scored in double figures for the Lady Bears, finishing with 15 points and five rebounds with seven turnovers in 33 minutes. Kristy Wallace played all 40 minutes, adding nine points, six assists, two blocks and a pair of steals.
Baylor dominated the boards, 52-25, finished with a 26-7 edge in second-chance points and outscored UCLA in the paint, 52-22.
"They have lots of ways they can hurt you, and they have a maturity about them that was evident tonight," UCLA coach Cori Close said. "This team's ability to all shoot the 3's and spread you that much further, and then have four relentless, really good post players, they're a harder scout now than they would have been last year. Just because of the weapons they have, they spread you out so much further."
Facing its second top-10 opponent in four days, Baylor travels to play four-time defending national champion and No. 2/1 Connecticut at 6:30 p.m. CDT Thursday in Storrs.
On a night where Baylor unveiled three new banners commemorating the Lady Bears’ Big 12 regular season and tournament championships, as well as its sixth Elite Eight appearance, Baylor used a big second half surge en route to a 84-70 victory over the visiting UCLA Bruins. From Nathan Kell of the Baylor Lariat.
It may only be November, but the atmosphere at the Ferrell Center felt like late March as both teams gave the crowd plenty to cheer for.
“These good, non-conference games challenge us, so when we get back to the playoffs, when we get back to the Elite Eight, we’ve been in situations where we’ve been behind, where we’ve competed,” said head coach Kim Mulkey. “We’ve made some decisions in the course of the game, and that’s why we’re playing them all on the road this year. All those games on the schedule are because we’ve got four seniors and a bunch of underclassmen that can play, so when we get that opportunity to go back to the playoffs, we’re not afraid to embrace the moment and go make plays.”
The ninth-ranked Bruins showed fews signs of intimidation as they jumped out to an early 13-6 lead against the second-ranked Lady Bears. In building the early advantage, the Bruins applied heavy defensive pressure and forced the Lady Bears into four early turnovers, which led to six points on the offensive end.
Kalani Brown Earns Big XII Player of the Week Award
(And this was before last night’s monster double double.)
Sophomore Kalani Brown earned the first Co-Big 12 Player of the Week recognition of her career on Monday for her efforts in Baylor’s season opening win over Houston Baptist, 118-43. From Baylor Bears dot com.
Brown led the Lady Bears with a career-high matching 24 points, netting eight of 10 field goal attempts. It is just the second 20-point game of her career. The 6-7 post also pulled down a team-high nine rebounds and matched her career-high with two assists. Additionally, Brown netted a career-high eight of a career-high nine free throw attempts in just 14 of minutes playing time off the bench.
Brown, a Preseason All-Big 12 honorable mention selection, was named to the 2016 Big 12 All-Freshman Team after earning Big 12 Freshman of the Week accolades twice. The Slidell, Louisiana, native averaged 9.3 points and 4.2 rebounds, appeared in all 38 games last season and was named the Baylor’s most improved player.