WACO (AP) — After playing and beating a pair of Top 25 teams in Kentucky and Stanford last week, Baylor found it difficult to get excited for an overmatched opponent.
The Lady Bears got off to a slow start, but revved up after the first five minutes and cruised from there.
Kalani Brown scored 21 points in 12 minutes to lead five players in double figures for No. 8 Baylor in a 105-43 victory over North Dakota on Tuesday night.
“We started off sloppy, and we addressed (a potential letdown) before the game,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “You try as best you can to avoid it, and I thought after the first four or five minutes we finally got untracked and started to get in a flow.”
Lauren Cox added 15 points for the Lady Bears (8-1). Natalie Chou had 13 points and 10 rebounds for her first career double-double.
Fallyn Freije scored 11 of her 13 points during a first quarter in which North Dakota (4-3) led by as many as four. But Baylor responded with a 10-0 run to end the first quarter with a 27-17 lead, then outscored North Dakota 30-5 in the second.
“I thought we established ourselves very well in the first five minutes of the game,” North Dakota coach Travis Brewster said. “I was really pleased with our upperclassmen, how they handled themselves and what they were doing on the floor. But they’re No. 8 in the country for a reason, and we learned that today. They’re physical, they’re fast and they’re strong.”
Freshman Alexis Morris had 15 points and Dekeiya Cohen finished with 10 for Baylor.
The Fighting Hawks made their first three shots but added only three more field goals for the remainder of the first half to go 6-for-27 (22 percent). They finished 15 for 56 overall (27 percent) and 4 for 24 from 3-point range (17 percent).
North Dakota: A November trip to Texas was successful for the Fighting Hawks, as they posted wins over Lamar and Texas-San Antonio. This was a massive step up in competition, and they struggled to find quality shots and keep Baylor out of transition. They were outscored 60-10 in the paint, and Baylor turned their 21 turnovers into 31 points.
Baylor: This was an opportunity for the Lady Bears to get everyone some playing time before an extended layoff, and they took advantage. All nine of their players received double-digit minutes, and no starter logged more than Chou’s 25. Despite the constant changes, the Lady Bears had 25 assists and seven turnovers.
TAKING CARE OF THE BALL
Baylor’s Kristy Wallace had eight assists, running her total to 15 in the past two games without a turnover. “That’s a big deal, to take care of the ball,” Wallace said. “That’s something I aim for every game, just to take care of it and get it to my teammates where they want it and where they’re most comfortable with it.”
Baylor’s place at No. 8 appears to be secure for another week, unless No. 11 Tennessee can defeat No. 2 Texas and jump over the Lady Bears.
North Dakota will begin a three-game homestand when it meets North Dakota State on Saturday.
Baylor will take a week off before hosting McNeese State on Dec. 13.
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