Baylor women go from record-setting NCAA win to Cal rematch
WACO, Texas (AP) California coach Lindsay Gottlieb really didn't have to watch to know just how good top-seeded Baylor is.
An overwhelming first-round victory, and the 30 wins before that by the Big 12 Lady Bears, only reinforced what Gottlieb thought about the team Cal plays next in the women's NCAA Tournament.
''They're like a WNBA team. ... They have pros on the floor, they're very in synch with one another and they do a great job,'' Gottlieb said Sunday. ''Just digging in the film obviously, there as legit as I thought they were.''
Before California (20-13) held on to beat LSU in the first round on Baylor's home court, Gottlieb had watched less than a half of top-seeded Baylor's record-setting game.
Now Cal and Baylor play Monday night for trip to Oklahoma City and a spot in the Sweet 16.
Baylor (31-3) overwhelmed NCAA first-timer Texas Southern 119-30 to advance. Those were the most points ever scored in regulation of a women's NCAA Tournament game, and the most-lopsided tourney game ever played. All 12 Baylor players who got in the game scored and had at least one rebound, and all but one had an assist.
''What this team has done is challenged me to stay on my toes because we've got so many that can play. You usually can figure out your rotation after about a month of practice,'' coach Kim Mulkey said. ''This team just has so much talent I can't do that. It's game-to-game. It's who we play. It's who is playing good.''
Baylor is hosting the first two rounds for the fifth straight season, and has won all of those games so far. That includes a second-round win over Cal in 2014.
Still, the Golden Bears from California aren't backing down from the challenge of facing Baylor again in March.
''I've just never been as excited to practice as I am,'' the Cal coach said. ''Because why not, why not take a shot at being able to make history or bring this team in here and try to do something that's unexpected.''
Some other things to know about the second-round matchup:
NO PAIN, BIG GAIN: Baylor senior guard Alexis Jones said she felt good Sunday, with ''no pain, no swelling'' a day after playing for the first time since Feb. 20 because of a bone bruise in her surgically repaired left knee. Jones played 12 minutes Saturday night. ''Just exciting to let me know that I'm back out there playing again,'' said Jones, who could be back in the starting lineup Monday night.
STILL NERVOUS: Cal guard Asha Thomas and forward Kristine Anigwe both had talked about being nervous at the start of their first NCAA Tournament game. Thomas then scored 18 points on six 3-pointers, while Anigwe had 15 points, seven rebounds and five blocked shots. But that didn't exactly calm the nerves of the sophomore duo. ''More nerves, bigger game ... We're just going to try to do everything we can to be calm and steady,'' Anigwe said Sunday. Added Thomas, ''Again, I will be nervous.''
FERRELL FAREWELL: Nina Davis, an undersized post player who became an AP All-American and three-time All-Big 12 player, will play her final home game. Davis has been part of a 75-5 record in the Ferrell Center, including seven straight NCAA Tournament wins. ''It's a bittersweet moment,'' Davis said. ''Baylor has been great to me.''
REWIND TO 2014: In the second-round matchup three years ago, Odyssey Sims had 27 points in her final home game as Baylor won 75-56. Only two current Baylor players and one from California played in that game. Davis had 13 points and Khadijiah Cave 10 for Baylor, while Courtney Range had six points and five rebounds for Cal.
G'DAY FOR WALLACE: There are some Baylor fans from Australia in the stands. Kristy Wallace's family made the 16-hour flight to be in Waco, including her dad and two step-sisters, ages 8 and 9. ''Very blessed to have my family here,'' Wallace said. ''It's a big effort and a big trip to make.''
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