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Champs remain perfect despite tough schedule

Nov. 29, 2005

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Robyn Kenagy/Lariat Staff
Senior guard Chameka Scott (center) plays tight defense on UCLA's Lisa Willis on Nov. 18 at the Ferrell Special Events Center. The Lady Bears put away UCLA 93-85 in a shootout.
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by JORDAN DANIEL,
sports writer

With five games in 10 days, it could have been easy for the Lady Bears to succumb to fatigue and lose for the first time in 21 contests, but head Coach Kim Mulkey-Robertson's team showed its resiliency and ran its nation's best winning streak to 26 games.

The Lady Bears' latest odyssey began on Nov. 18 when the y faced three of the best guards in the country from the University of California at Los Angeles.

The "triple threat" of Nikki Blue, Noelle Quinn and Lisa Willis combined for 54 points against Baylor.

However, senior forward Sophia Young scored 26 points, and sophomore guard Angela Tisdale added 23 of her own to bolt the Lady Bears past the Bruins.

"UCLA is everything people have said they are," Mulkey-Robertson said. "That is as fine a group of athletes and basketball players that we've played in a long time. Give our team some credit. Those guys had five returning starters, and we're still trying to find a mixture of veterans and youth, and we still won the basketball game."

Less than 24 hours after the conclusion of the UCLA game, the Lady Bears tipped off with the Indiana Hoosiers at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind.

"It is a tough turnaround, but tonight we're going to find out how tough we are," said Mulkey-Robertson after the 93-85 victory over UCLA.

Indiana kept it close with the No. 5 ranked Lady Bears, and went into the half tied 40-40 with the defending national champions. However, Baylor picked up defensive intensity in the second half, holding the Hoosiers to 22 points and outlasting Indiana 74-62.

Young and Tisdale led the way again for the Lady Bears, scoring 19 points each while forward Abiola Wabara dropped in 17 points in the victory.

After a two-day break from game action, Baylor returned to the court Tuesday against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

Freshman guard Jhasmin Player poured in a career-high 16 points on 4-6 shooting, and recorded two steals in the best performance of her young career, pacing the Lady Bears to a 92-64 win.

"Luckily we were able to get in there with some upperclassmen who were able to calm us down and tell us where to go," Player said. "It's always good to get playing time because it's making us more confident and more mature as players."

Baylor took off Wednesday for Mexico and the Aventura Spa Palace Resort for the Caribbean Classic to face the University of California on Saturday and Marshall University the following game.

In the tournament opener, the California Golden Bears clawed their way to a four-point deficit at halftime, trailing 32-28. However, turnovers, fouls and poor shooting sank the Golden Bears as Baylor cruised to a 75-58 victory. Young was held to 12 points on 5-12 shooting in her lowest output of the season, but Tisdale recorded 16 points and six assists.

"Each game I'm getting better and more and more confident in myself and my teammates," Tisdale said.

On Sunday, the Lady Bears ran past the Marshall Thundering Heard in the final game of the Caribbean Classic, blasting Marshall. Baylor shot an uncharacteristic 38.8 percent from the floor, but dominated the Thundering Heard on the boards and forced 21 turnovers.

Young scored 22 points in only 21 minutes on the floor and Baylor attempted 17 more free throws in the contest on the way to a 74-47 triumph.

The 6-0 Lady Bears return the hardwood to face the University of Washington at 7 p.m. on Friday at the Ferrell Special Events Center.