Women's basketball: Baylor Lady Bears named Team of the Week
Lost in the glow of UConn’s nightly highlights is the play of the Baylor Lady Bears. “Quietly” leading the nation with a scoring average of 90.7 points per game and scoring margin, 39.7 points per game, Baylor has reeled off 19 straight wins since losing at UConn on Nov. 17 and has sights set on a possible rematch with the Huskies during the upcoming 2017 championship.
Baylor, 21-1 overall and 10-0 in Big 12 Conference play, reinforced its hold atop the league standings with three wins in eight days over Associated Press top-25 league opponents in West Virginia, Kansas State and Oklahoma.
On Jan. 21, Baylor subdued No. 24 West Virginia, 79-73 as Alexis Jones (16) and Nina Davis (15) combined for 31 points. With the game on the line, Davis and Kristy Wallace calmly sank six straight free throws down the stretch to help Baylor pull out the home win.
Alexis Prince scored a career-high 25 points as Baylor then routed 25th-ranked Kansas State 91-49 on Jan. 25. Baylor led 7-5 before scoring the next 21 straight points to blow the game open early in the first period. By the end of the opening half, the Lady Bears led 44-14 as the Wildcats made just five baskets in the first 20 minutes. The victory at Kansas State marked the 16th straight season that Baylor has won 20 or more games under head coach Kim Mulkey.
Baylor capped its week with a 92-58 home rout of Oklahoma on Jan. 29 as Jones posted just the sixth triple-double in program history and the first in four years. The 5-foot-9 senior guard had 24 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists for her first career triple-double on the collegiate level and first at Baylor since Brittney Griner had the last of her five triple-doubles on March 2, 2013, versus West Virginia. Khadijah Cave, finished a rebound shy of a double-double with 16 points and nine boards in 20 minutes off the bench as Baylor won its 19th in a row, 27th straight Big 12 regular-season game and 54th consecutive home game.
The Lady Bears are powered by a balanced attack that features six players averaging 9.4 points per game or more. Jones leads the way averaging 15.0 points per outing, backed in double figures by Kalani Brown (13.7), Davis (11.7) and Prince (11.2).
Even with the 19 straight wins, the Lady Bears have not been able to shake the Texas Longhorns in pursuit of the Big 12 Conference regular season title. The two teams will meet twice in February. Texas, 16-4 and 10-0, will play at Waco on Feb. 6 and host Baylor on Feb. 20 on Austin. The Lady Bears will next travel to Iowa State on Feb. 1.
Honorable mention teams of the week: Bucknell, Dayton, DePaul, Drake, Florida Gulf Coast, Little Rock, Michigan, New Mexico State, Northern Illinois, Stanford and Texas.