Baylor scores big over Kansas in Big 12 tournament opener

OKLAHOMA CITY -- For most of the second half, Baylor's standout forward, Bernice Mosby, kicked back on the Lady Bears' bench.

The fact that Mosby scored 12 points in 22 minutes is telling -- Baylor (No. 17 ESPN/USA Today; No. 18 AP) didn't need her much after the first half, as the Lady Bears cruised to a 71-54 win over Kansas in a Big 12 Conference women's tournament quarterfinal game on Wednesday night.

Baylor (25-6) has won its opening Big 12 tournament game in each of coach Kim Mulkey's seven seasons and has beaten Kansas (11-20) nine straight times.

The third-seeded Bears will play second-seeded and No. 11 Oklahoma in the semifinals on Thursday. Baylor has lost five straight games to the Sooners, including an 88-61 decision in Norman in the teams' regular-season finale on Feb. 28. But the Bears have reached the past two Big 12 tournament title games.

"It's not going to be any fun playing Oklahoma in their backyard here in Oklahoma City, but I do have a great appreciation for the fans that I saw here tonight supporting their teams," Mulkey said.

Wednesday night's session at the Cox Convention Center -- which began with a win by No. 11 Oklahoma over Texas -- drew 10,210 fans, the third-largest for any session in the tournament's 11-year history and the largest for any non-championship-game session.

"We're going to do the best we can," Mulkey said. "We are going to fight and claw and hopefully try to keep it as close as we can with the understanding that we know we're not supposed to win. But we weren't supposed to win the [2005] national championship, either."

Eleventh-seeded Kansas, an upset winner over sixth seed Oklahoma State in the first round, couldn't continue a surprising late-season run during which the Jayhawks won five of their previous eight games entering Wednesday.

Baylor trailed only once, at 3-2. Kansas started the game by missing 14 of its first 16 shots and had a 7-minute drought, allowing the Bears to build an 18-6 lead with 8:32 left in the first half.

"We looked like deer caught in the headlights right away," Kansas coach Bonnie Henrickson said. "We just never got through that."

Kansas cut the margin to eight points twice, but Baylor answered with nine straight points and the Bears -- who shot 53.8 percent from the field in the half -- led 35-19 at halftime.

The Jayhawks got no closer than 12 points in the second half. Henrickson received a technical foul with 12:28 left and the Jayhawks down 15. Within four minutes, the Baylor lead grew to 26 points.

The Lady Bears dominated inside, outscoring Kansas 40-20 in the paint. The Jayhawks also committed 20 turnovers.

"We didn't match their intensity," said Kansas senior Shaquina Mosley, who led the Jayhawks with 16 points. "We were just lethargic."

The Lady Bears used mostly reserves in the final minutes, allowing their starters to rest. "That was a blessing," said Mosby, who led Baylor with 12 points.

"I think it's important for me to get some rest knowing that we're going to play Oklahoma, just to rest my legs," Mosby said.

Baylor had five blocked shots, giving the Lady Bears 233 on the season, breaking the Big 12 record of 232, set in 2005 by Texas Tech.

"They haven't won a national championship, but they've done some pretty amazing things this year," Mulkey said, citing the blocks record.

Baylor's 17-point margin of victory matched its largest this season against a Big 12 opponent.

Danielle Wilson, with 11, and Jhasmin Player, with 10, were the only other Baylor players to score in double figures. Danielle McCray added 14 points for Kansas.