MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Baylor coach Kim Mulkey is always a bit nervous when starting off the conference slate, especially when it’s the first game after a lengthy break.
Those worries went away rather quickly.
Kalani Brown scored 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting to lead No. 6 Baylor to an 88-58 victory over Kansas State on Thursday night in the Big 12 opener for both teams.
Getting off to a big start was key for Mulkey’s squad who dealt with a 10-day layoff since their last game and getting back into the swing of things is not easy, especially on the road.
“When you bring as many as we did in here,” Mulkey said. “With some of their roles changing for our team and then you have our freshmen who are playing a lot of minutes for us you kind of don’t know what to expect — even though you’ve played some good teams in nonconference, once you get into conference, everybody scouts a little harder and coaches are looking to take away your strengths.”
The Lady Bears hammered the Wildcats (8-3, 0-1) in the paint, scoring 48 points inside, a number of which came off second-chance opportunities.
Mulkey also added that the goals she set for this team were accomplished, something that she was a bit unsure about when they first took the court.
“We took care of the basketball and we had eight turnovers against a lengthy team that plays zone like they do,” Mulkey said.
“I thought that everybody looked to score and third I thought we defended them pretty good, they had to work hard for shots and a lot of times, the shot clock was going down.”
Baylor (10-1, 1-0) led 8-0 2:05 into the game, a run that included a technical foul on Kansas State coach Jeff Mittie.
Kansas State’s Kayla Goth led all scorers with 22 points on 8-of-20 shooting from the field.
This was the Big 12 Conference opener for both teams and while the first quarter appeared to see Baylor dominating, the Wildcats made the game quite respectable well into the second half. The game against Kansas State marked the Lady Bears first in 10 days and the rust was apparent, even after the hot first quarter start. Meanwhile, this marks the first game in what appears to be a long stretch for the Wildcats as they will face three more ranked opponents, two on the road and hosting No. 8 Texas.
BAYLOR: The Lady Bears host Texas Tech on Dec. 31.
KANSAS STATE: The Wildcats travel to Oklahoma State on Dec. 31.
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