Nov. 27, 2016
ESTERO, Fla. (AP) Baylor headed to the beach shortly after arriving in balmy Florida for a long holiday weekend, getting a little time to bask in sun and ride down waterslides.
The rest of the trip for the Lady Bears? All business.
Alexis Jones scored 20 points and No. 5 Baylor beat eighth-ranked Ohio State 85-68 on Sunday in the championship game of the Gulf Coast Showcase. Tournament MVP Kristy Wallace scored 15 points and Beatrice Mompremier added 13 for the Lady Bears (7-1), who never trailed.
”We definitely focused when it came to the games,” Wallace said.
And it showed.
Kelsey Mitchell scored 17 points for Ohio State (5-2), and shot 5 for 20 before fouling out. The Buckeyes shot only 34 percent for the game, and were outrebounded 52-29.
”Kristy had a phenomenal tournament and very deserving of the award and all of that,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. ”But we can’t do it alone. Our team defense was very good in this tournament.”
Baylor trailed for only 6:16 in the three games in the tournament, winning by an average of 30.3 points. Ohio State was the third team ranked No. 9 or better Baylor has already played this season.
Baylor scored the game’s first nine points and clamped down defensively against an Ohio State team that came into Sunday averaging 89 points per game. The Buckeyes shot just 28 percent in the first half, going into the break trailing 38-25.
Much of that stemmed from how difficult the Lady Bears made life for Mitchell.
Wallace drew the defensive assignment on the Ohio State star, and with some help she was able to keep her in check.
Mitchell’s only points in the first 23 minutes came on a pair of layups. She missed nine consecutive shots over one 16-minute stretch, including back-to-back ones in the second quarter where she got a step on Wallace – but had her tries at the rim swatted emphatically away by the 6-foot-4 Mompremier, part of Baylor’s huge corps of rim protectors.
”Hey, they’ve got a really good basketball team,” Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff said. ”Credit to them. We didn’t have our best day in large part due to them. I thought we played hard, but we just didn’t execute well enough.”
Ohio State: Kiara Lewis and Sierra Calhoun each scored 12 for the Buckeyes. … Shayla Cooper added 11 for Ohio State, which was outscored 48-26 in the paint. … The Buckeyes missed their final nine shots going into intermission.
Baylor: It was a rare off-shooting night for Kalani Brown, who came in leading the nation this season at 79 percent. She shot 5 for 12 and scored 11 points. … Nina Davis added 10 for the Bears.
The third quarter ended about as well as Baylor could have wanted.
Makayla Waterman’s 3-point try was long with 5 seconds left, Baylor’s Alexis Prince grabbed the rebound and got the ball upcourt to Khadijiah Cave – whose layup just beat the buzzer, gave the Lady Bears a 62-46 lead and had Mulkey firing a fist into the air to celebrate.
In earlier matchups Sunday:
– No. 18 DePaul made 19 3-pointers to roll past No. 11 Syracuse 108-84 in the third-place game.
– George Washington topped Western Kentucky 68-49 for fifth place.
– The seventh-place matchup went to Kent State, a 77-64 winner over Florida Gulf Coast.
Ohio State: Host No. 21 Miami on Thursday in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Baylor: Host Abilene Christian on Thursday, the first meeting between the programs.