No. 9 Baylor women beat Savannah State 99-31

STEPHEN HAWKINS (AP Basketball Writer)
The Associated Press
Savannah State women lose 99-31 at No. 9 Baylor
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Baylor guard Odyssey Sims (0) tries to pass by Savannah State guard Jasmine Norman (4) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, in Waco, Texas. Baylor won 69-64. (AP Photo/Jose Yau)

WACO, Texas (AP) -- Ninth-ranked Baylor still has a presence in the post.

Kristina Higgins and Sune Agbuke, the Lady Bears' two tallest players, both had double-doubles as Baylor extended the nation's-best home winning streak to 61 games with a 99-31 victory over Savannah State on Thursday night.

''Yes, it's very important. We are guard-heavy, but at the same time we need our posts to score and run, rebound,'' said Odyssey Sims, the senior point guard and preseason AP All-American who had 22 points. ''And they do a very good job. ... Coach is on them about finishing, and I think they were focusing more on being able to finish and be strong with it.''

The 6-foot-5 Higgins had 14 points and 11 rebounds, while 6-4 Agbuke had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

''If you get the ball, finish and score,'' Higgins said. ''So, that's what we were trying to do tonight, and I think we did pretty well with that. ''

Baylor had a 6-minute span without a field goal in the first half, but still led by 14 when freshman Nina Davis had a putback basket of her own miss with 6 minutes left in the first half. That ended the Lady Bears' streak of eight consecutive missed shots.

Davis, one of five freshmen getting plenty of playing time for Baylor, finished with 17 points. Sims was the only returning starter after the departures of 6-8 Brittney Griner and four other seniors.

Savannah State (2-1) had three baskets in a minute, with a steal and breakaway layup by Kenyata Hendrick coming between a pair of layups by Jasmine Kirkland. The Lady Tigers then called a timeout with 9:27 left in the half, and never got closer.

''In the first half, I was really pleased with the physical presence that we brought to the floor against Baylor, and secondly the mental toughness of the young team that I have,'' Savannah State coach Cedric Baker said. ''I was really pleased with us getting a little close, 12-13 points down there in the first half. Then the second half, I thought we got out of rhythm, but I have to give credit to Baylor University of course for that.''

Those were the only points the Lady Tigers scored during the shooting drought by Baylor, and they trailed 27-13 when Davis ended it.

Savannah State shot only 22 percent overall (12 of 56) while missing all 15 of its 3-pointers, becoming the first team since Texas A&M on Feb. 25, 2007, to not make a shot from beyond the arc against Baylor.

''We were just focused on contesting the shots, and then going and getting the rebound,'' Sims said.

It was the first of three games in three days for both teams in the round-robin Athletes In Action Classic at the Ferrell Center.

Baylor plays Friday against Northwestern State, which lost 62-49 to Texas-San Antonio in the first game Thursday. The Lady Tigers play UTSA.

Three nights after outscoring Rice by herself most of the game, Sims had 17 points by the first media timeout just more than 4 minutes into the second half - when the Lady Bears led 56-19.

Sims had 33 points in the 79-46 victory over Rice, which got its 34th point with 6:22 left in the game - only seconds before the senior point guard came out for good.

Sims has never lost a home game with the Lady Bears. Neither has Makenzie Robertson, the only other fourth-year senior on the roster.

The Lady Bears had a 44-17 halftime lead when Higgins followed up her own missed shot at the buzzer. Sims drove and missed in traffic, but Higgins grabbed the rebound, missing a shot of her own before getting the ball back and go right back up for another try.

Baylor opened the second half with a 12-2 run before that first timeout. Higgins had two free throws to start it, along with a layup, while Sims had six points and capped it with consecutive baskets.

The Lady Bears started the game with a 10-1 lead after four different players scored, starting with Mariah Chandler's layup only 4 seconds into the game off the opening tip. Sims made a jumper, Higgins converted had a three-point play and Roberts made three free throws after being fouled on a 3-pointer.