No. 5 Baylor routs Kent State 84-42 in Gulf Coast Showcase
ESTERO, Fla. (AP) The foreshadowing came on the opening tip-off, when Baylor's Beatrice Mompremier barely had to move to win possession against Kent State's Naddiyah Cross.
Then again, Mompremier is nearly a foot taller than Cross.
So a lopsided height advantage decided the game's first play, and plenty of plays after that as well. Kalani Brown scored 17 points, Lauren Cox added 15 and No. 5 Baylor rolled past Kent State 84-42 on Friday in the opening game of the Gulf Coast Showcase.
Brown, Cox and Mompremier – all between 6-foot-4 and 6-foot-7, bigger than anyone who dared defend them – combined to make 19 of their 25 shots, and Baylor (5-1) enjoyed a 49-23 rebounding edge.
''Really, you could just flip a coin,'' said Brown, who shot 8 for 9 and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds in just 16 minutes. ''All of us did great things today and used it to our advantage, I guess.''
Baylor took control with a 15-0 run in the first quarter, and shot 52 percent.
''I have the luxury of having five outstanding post players,'' Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. ''I have the three really big ones and two that are somewhat undersized, but we go to the boards hard.''
Larissa Lurken scored 15 for Kent State (2-3), which has dropped three straight. The Golden Flashes shot 29 percent for the game, 10 percent in the final quarter.
''We were just proud of the opportunity to play against a team like Baylor and compete at the highest level,'' Kent State coach Todd Starkey said. ''I thought our kids did a good job of executing. We had a couple things happen today that some of our players are going to remember for the rest of their lives.''
Among those things: Lurken scored her 1,000th career point, and senior Lacey Miller got the first basket of her college career.
''Those are the types of things those kids will be telling their families 20, 30 years down the road,'' Starkey said.
Kent State: Lurken's became the 20th Kent State player to reach the 1,000-point mark. … It was the first time the Golden Flashes met Baylor since beating the Bears in 1997.
Baylor: No Baylor player logged more than 23 minutes, which could help the Bears' cause as the three-games-in-three-days tournament goes along. … The Bears improved to 17-0 in 2016 against unranked opponents, 4-0 this season. … Mompremier is playing this weekend about two hours from her Miami home, and reserve Alyssa Fry spent her senior high school season about 90 minutes north of the tournament site at IMG Academy in Bradenton.
Kent State had not led in either of its last two games, against Robert Morris and Detroit Mercy. The Golden Flashes actually had the lead against Baylor, holding it for 2 minutes, 27 seconds in the first quarter – 5-2 being the largest.
It was an 11 a.m. start time, and Baylor's Alexis Jones got a wake-up call around 11:01 or so when she was benched 51 seconds into the contest. She had two turnovers in that span, including one 2 seconds into the game. But after sitting for nearly 5 minutes, Jones returned and scored 10 quick points.
Kent State: No. 18 DePaul or Western Kentucky in consolation semifinals Friday.
Baylor: No. 18 DePaul or Western Kentucky in tournament semifinals Friday.