After Kalani Brown’s 26 point, 21 rebound performance in No. 3 Baylor’s season opening win over Lamar on Friday, the junior mentioned one of her goals this season is to average a double-double. She’s off to a good start as she finished with 24 points and 12 boards in the Lady Bears’ 100-54 win over Coppin State Sunday afternoon. It marked the first time since 2013-14 and just the second time in program history.
“They’re firing on all cylinders,” Coppin State head coach Dewayne Burroughs said. “Guard play is great. Post play is fantastic. I don’t think you could ask for much more than that. To be honest with you, I don’t see many teams in the country beating them this year.”
Brown and Lauren Cox, who finished with 12 points and nine rebounds in Baylor’s second annual Type 1 Diabetes Awareness game, continued to find success in the high low sets. Cox recorded five assists, while Brown had three.
“I’m never going to apologize for having 6-foot-7 and 6-foot-5 inside,” Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey said. “That’s a blessing. We’re not going to stop (going inside).”
Overall, the Lady Bears finished with 56 points in the paint, two more than the Lady Eagles finished with as a team.
All of this happened despite the Lady Eagles going to a 2-3 zone defensively in an attempt to slow the roll of a Lady Bear offense that has averaged 120 points per contest (including exhibition play). That clogged the lane which made it a little more challenging at times for the Lady Bears to get the ball inside to their bigs.
Mulkey was pleased with the play inside against that zone, but she wasn’t pleased with some of the things the Lady Bears did on the perimeter.
“Depending on who you have in the game, some of them shoot the perimeter shot better, some of them penetrate better,” Mulkey said. “I just thought that I never could get a good combination together on the floor to where it was a lot smoother. Obviously when you’re as big as these two are, they’re going to get a lot of offensive boards and put backs. They’re going to be able to do those types of things in games like this. But in the big games, I just didn’t feel like the perimeter game attacking the zone was very smooth.”
While Brown and Cox dominated inside, Coppin State couldn’t center all of its defensive focus on those two alone as the Lady Bears put together a balanced attack as each one scored.
Behind Brown and Cox, Natalie Chou finished with 12 points, as did Juicy Landrum who shot 4 for 4 from the perimeter in the 12 minutes she was in the game.
“I thought Juicy Landrum played just a solid game,” Mulkey said. “She went in, the minutes that she played and the production she had were very solid. I’d like to compliment that kid. She’s one of our better perimeter shooters. When teams play a zone there’s a place for Juicy. What we have to continue to work on is her defense and her physical play on being able to really bang in there and get rebounds. As far as just spotting up and shooting it, she can shoot it with the best of them.”
Didi Richards also finished in the double figures for the Lady Bears as the freshman finished with 10.
Mulkey said after the game that Richards separated herself from the other three freshmen a month ago as far as being a defensive stopper on the perimeter. After the season opener on Friday, Mulkey challenged her to get in the gym and be a consistent shooter.
“You look today and she has 10 points and she’s 5-for-8,” Mulkey said. “She was up here at 10 o’clock this morning working out. I just think Didi Richards has to play minutes for us. She’s just active, and she brings a lot of energy and makes things happen on the defensive end.”
The Lady Bears held Coppin State to 32.2 percent from the floor. Genesis Lucas scored almost half of the Lady Eagles’ points with 25, while Chance Graham added 19. Only two other Coppin State players scored.
“My kids played hard, and that’s all I asked them to do,” Burroughs said. “I couldn’t have asked for much more than what we did. We were oversized and outmatched.”
Now, the Lady Bears gear up for their third game in five days as Baylor hosts Central Arkansas at 7 p.m. Tuesday.