Freshman Ashley Rininger scored four points and shared game-high honors with five rebounds, Friday at No. 3/3 Baylor.
The defending national champion, No. 3/3 Baylor, was in impressive form at the Ferrell Center Friday evening, tallying a season-high point total in a 92-60 victory over Liberty. Baylor, which put four players in double figures and led by as many as 50 points, improves to 5-1 on the season with its third straight win. The Lady Flames drop to 2-3 on the year despite a game-high 20 points from Devon Brown. Baylor's Kimetria Hayden scored the first seven points of the game, helping the Bears race out to a 7-0 advantage. Brown then tallied four points in 12 seconds, including a fast break layup at 17:15 which trimmed the Lady Flames' deficit to 7-4. However, Baylor kept Liberty off the scoreboard for nearly eight minutes. During that time, the Bears went on a 21-0 run. Niya Johnson's layup 10:17 before halftime made the score 28-4 in favor of the home team. Freshman Ashley Rininger broke the ice with back-to-back hoops for the Lady Flames. Her bank shot at the 8:27 mark made it 30-8, Baylor. LaKendra Washington banked in a three-pointer at 8:00, trimming the Baylor edge to 33-11 before another extended run by the Bears. Jordan Madden's fast break layup punctuated a 12-0 Baylor surge, bolstering the Bears' lead to 45-11, 4:57 before the intermission. Baylor took a pair of 37-point advantages late in the half, before closing out the stanza with a 53-18 cushion. Baylor's aggressive defense forced 21 Liberty turnovers in the first half, which led to 27 points. The Bears shot 61.3 percent (19-of-31) from the field before halftime, as compared with 34.8 percent (8-of-23) for the Lady Flames. Baylor also owned a considerable edge from the free throw line, making 71.4 percent (10-of-14) of its tries while Liberty missed its only two free throws. Liberty did own a 15-14 first-half rebounding advantage, thanks in part to Brown's four caroms. Brown also paced the Lady Flames with six points during the first 20 minutes of play. Hayden was Baylor's first-half leader, with a dozen points, three assists and four steals to her credit. The Lady Flames made three triples during the first four minutes of the second half. Brown's long-range connection from the left wing at 16:08 pulled Liberty to within 59-27. Baylor then outscored the Lady Flames, 22-4, over the next seven and a half minutes. Brooklyn Pope's free throw with 8:36 showing on the clock gave the Bears a 50-point lead, 81-31. From that point on, Liberty made an impressive showing. The Lady Flames outscored their host by a 29-11 count during the final 8:22 to get within 31. Brown tallied her last nine points during the successful stretch for the blue-clad Lady Flames. In the end, though, Baylor wrapped up a 92-60 victory, scoring the most points by a Liberty opponent since Dec. 20, 2001. That day, Duke defeated the Lady Flames by a 95-53 score. The Bears' 43rd consecutive home win and Liberty's third straight road setback this season came thanks in large part to Baylor's offensive efficiency. Aided by 50 points in the paint, Baylor shot 55.2 percent (32-of-58) from the field for the game. The Bears also got to the foul line 35 times, connecting on 23 of their attempts for 65.7 percent. Liberty shot 48.5 percent (16-of-33) from the floor after halftime, including six made three-pointers. As a result, the Lady Flames finished the game with a 42.9 percent (24-of-56) field goal efficiency. Liberty, which had made only 14 three-pointers during the first four games of the season, hit a season-high eight triples on Friday, with Brown, Washington and Emily Frazier swishing two apiece. However, the Lady Flames only attempted six free throws on the night, making four of them for 66.7 percent. Baylor finished the game with a slight 33-31 rebounding edge. The Bears converted 27 Liberty turnovers into 35 points and also racked up 36 bench points. Brown scored 14 of her game-high 20 points after halftime, eclipsing the 20-point plateau for the second straight contest. She also tied Rininger and Tolu Omotola for team-high honors with five rebounds. With the five caroms, Brown moved past Sharon Wilkerson and into seventh place on Liberty's all-time list with 628 career boards. Fellow senior Washington chipped in a season-high eight points for the Lady Flames. Texas native Sadalia Ellis thrilled her friends and family in attendance with five points, a team-leading three assists and a pair of steals in 12 minutes. Hayden's season-high 18 points led the Baylor attack, and she added a team-high five assists and a matching number of steals. Pope added 13 points off of the Baylor bench, with nine of the tallies coming from the charity stripe. All-American Brittney Griner had a quiet game by her standards, totaling 11 points, four rebounds, three assists and one blocked shot in 20 minutes of work. Madden made it four Bears in double figures, wrapping up the game with 10 points and a game-high seven steals. Liberty will return home to face UNCG at the Vines Center, Tuesday at 7 p.m. The Spartans are 1-2 on the season, with all three games coming against Big South Conference opponents.