For the Baylor Lady Bears, it’s a pleasure doing business.
Veteran coach Kim Mulkey ensures that fourth-ranked Baylor takes every game seriously. But she also thinks it’s important to take breaks for fun when possible.
Already this season, the Lady Bears made a trip to the Bahamas, spending some time soaking up the sun on the beach in between victories over Cincinnati and Michigan State. And this weekend the Baylor players were able to cut loose again, with a Sunday trip to Disneyworld.
Baylor (12-0) took care of its first assignment by knocking No. 23 Miami from the ranks of the unbeaten in a hotly-contested 88-81 win Saturday night in Winter Park, Fla. That gave the team a winning feeling when they ventured over to Orlando Sunday for a trip to Walt Disney’s famous “happiest place on earth.”
“It will be fun (Sunday), absolutely,” Mulkey said following the victory over the Hurricanes. “We’ll get up in the morning and get ready for James Madison, and then we’ll spend a few hours at Disneyworld before Monday’s game and dispersing for the holidays.”
Against Miami (10-1), Baylor used its formidable length to dominate the backboards. The Lady Bears scored 23 second-chance points to Miami’s 12, thanks to a 47-28 rebounding gap.
In James Madison (6-3), the Lady Bears draw a perimeter-oriented foe from the Colonial Athletic Association that is getting a crash course in Big 12 basketball in Florida. The Dukes played West Virginia Sunday, dropping a 69-62 game to the Mountaineers.
Senior guard Jazmon Gwathmey should draw much of Baylor’s defensive focus, as the 6-2 Gwathmey is a prolific scorer who leads the Dukes at 19.1 points per game. Ashley Perez averages 15 a contest while Angela Mickens puts up 10.4 a night. Like Gwathmey, they are senior guards as well, so James Madison’s backcourt does not lack for experience.
Mulkey said that she plans to use 6-2 sophomore Dekeiya Cohen in the starting lineup against the Dukes, allowing Nina Davis to shift to her natural 4 position. Beatrice Mompremier started at the power forward spot against Miami alongside Davis at the 3 and senior Kristina Higgins at the center position.
Of course, Davis seems to thrive at whatever position she plays.
The All-American tossed in a game-high 25 points against Miami, helping Baylor to its third win over an AP Top 25 foe this season.
“These games only help you,” Mulkey said. “We wouldn’t have been too happy going to Disneyworld had we gotten beat, but these kind of games only help you.”
After Monday, Baylor will break for the holidays before tipping off Big 12 play at Oklahoma State Dec. 30.