Posted: Jan 19, 2014 5:34 PM
Updated: Jan 19, 2014 5:35 PM
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) The results might surprise some. Baylor coach Kim Mulkey saw it coming.
Mulkey said she threw her team out of practice Friday, two days before the Bears played Kansas Sunday afternoon at Allen Fieldhouse, because she knew she didn't have her players' attention.
Mulkey thinks she'll have their attention after the No. 7 Bears lost 76-60 to Kansas on Sunday.
"They couldn't understand why," Mulkey said. "I think now they probably know. It's not like we didn't prepare them. It's not like I didn't try to get their attention."
Chelsea Gardner scored 28 points and Natalie Knight added 18 as Kansas snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Bears.
CeCe Harper added 10 points for Kansas (9-9. 2-4 Big 12).
Odyssey Sims scored 31 points for the Bears (14-2, 4-1), but she, like the rest of the Bears, struggled shooting and was held to 10 points in the second half.
Niya Johnson added eight points for Baylor, which lost its 44-game regular-season winning streak in the Big 12.
After her explosive first half, Sims made only 4 of 19 shots in the second half, and her teammates weren't much help offensively.
"I expect them to try and step up and score," Sims said. "We didn't really have that tonight so it makes things a little harder when they're looking for me every possession when I can't get the ball every single possession when I'm being denied the ball."
Kansas took control of the game in the final 10 minutes after trading the lead the first part of the second half. After Baylor took a 45-44 lead, Kansas went on a 32-15 run the rest of the game, highlighted by a layup and free throw from Harper to put Kansas up 12 with 4 minutes left.
While Baylor struggled without help for Sims, Kansas received help from a variety of players.
Gardner gave Kansas the lead for good with a pair of free throws, then Asia Boyd scored five straight points to give Kansas all the breathing room it needed for the rest of the game.
"You're looking at a huddle and you're looking at all of these big deer-in-the-headlights freshmen and sophomores that hadn't been in this situation before," Mulkey said. "The hardest part is when you tell them something in the huddle, you've got to have all five people paying attention. And we'd have four and one or two and three."
Kansas held the Bears to 31 points below their season average. The Jayhawks shot 54 percent in the second half, while Baylor shot only 29 percent. Gardner led the Jayhawks' charge with 15 of her points coming in the second half.
"I wouldn't say it was exactly something that she did moreso than it was us," Baylor forward Nina Davis said. I feel that we just didn't come ready to play and our defense was lacking."
Sims provided most of Baylor's offense in the first half, scoring 21 points while the rest of the team combined for 11. Gardner had 13 at the half for Kansas, as the other players on both teams struggled offensively. The Bears shot 32 percent in the first half, while the Jayhawks shot 34 percent and the teams combined to go 4 of 18 from 3-point range.
After a few minutes, it appeared Baylor was on its way to routing another opponent. But then Kansas reeled off an 8-0 spurt while Baylor missed seven straight shots as the Jayhawks closed Baylor's lead to 15-12.
Sims stopped the Jayhawks' run with a jumper, the first of 15 straight Baylor points she scored for the Bears until Ieshia Small's layup before the buzzer.
The Bears took another 11-point lead after Sims hit a 3-pointer with just more than 6 minutes remaining. Gardner and Knight combined for 12 points during a 17-5 Kansas run to stifle the Bears' momentum heading into the locker room.
"They just took it right at us, they got to the foul line and that's usually something that we do," Mulkey said. "We had some open looks, just didn't knock them down."