WACO, Texas (AP) — Baylor can focus on the big names and long break now that most of the overmatched nonconference opponents are out of the way.
Kalani Brown scored 21 points, Juicy Landrum added 14 and the Lady Bears prepped for No. 11 Stanford by rolling to a 96-58 victory over Morehead State on Wednesday.
Third-ranked Baylor (8-0) travels to face the Cardinal on Saturday before a 15-day break. After the Lady Bears host Texas-Rio Grande Valley on Dec. 31, top-ranked Connecticut comes to Waco on Jan. 3.
“It’s good for our young players to get that type of competition and atmosphere so nobody is a deer in the headlights come tournament time,” Brown said. “Stanford is going to want to play us harder. I know they’re going to be ready to play.”
Brown had 12 points in the first quarter to help Baylor build a 32-16 lead on the way to its 26th straight home victory and 43rd win in a row at the Ferrell Center against nonconference opponents. The Lady Bears are 299-22 in nonconference home games since coach Kim Mulkey’s debut in 2000-01.
It was Baylor’s first game since a 25-point win over No. 25 South Carolina on Dec. 2.
Miranda Crockett and Crystal Simmons-Cozar scored 14 points apiece for Morehead State (7-3), which absorbed its second loss of at least 30 points to a Top 25 opponent. The other was an 87-57 loss to No. 18 Kentucky.
“You can’t play too many of these where you’re mismatched,” Morehead State coach Greg Todd said. “I thought we did a better job overall today than we did against Kentucky. We weren’t tight. It was just a matter of them having better players.”
The Lady Bears entered the game leading the nation in assists at 24 per game and kept that rolling with 29. Chloe Jackson had six assists to go with five rebounds and seven points while Moon Ursin and DiDi Richards each had five assists.
Landrum, who made all four Baylor 3-pointers, had four assists along with Lauren Cox. The Lady Bears had eight of their 17 turnovers in the second quarter, after recording 11 assists with just one turnover in the first quarter.
“I complimented them at the end of the first quarter on things that are important that will help you win championships, and that was our assist-to-turnover ratio,” Mulkey said. “I started subbing and then we had eight turnovers in a row. So I just played rotating chairs; if she turns it over, she comes out.”
As usual, Baylor controlled the interior with the 6-foot-7 Brown and the 6-4 Cox, outscoring Morehead State 60-10 in the paint and outrebounding the Eagles 58-23. Ursin had 11 boards and five others had at least five apiece.
Cox scored 12 points and NaLyssa Smith and Queen Egbo had 10 each.
Morehead State: There aren’t any more big-name opponents for the Eagles, who have three more nonconference games before opening the Ohio Valley Conference season in January.
Baylor: The Lady Bears dominated a matchup of two of the nation’s top-five scoring offenses by holding the Eagles to 31 percent shooting. Baylor shot 54 percent, led by Brown going 9 of 11. The Eagles came in averaging 89 points. “We held them to 58, a lot of that has to do with our commitment to field-goal percentage defense. We want to always keep them 39.9 percent or less,” Mulkey said.
Morehead State: At Radford on Saturday.
Baylor: At No. 11 Stanford on Saturday.
More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25