ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- "So-So" was much more than that in
Baylor's first round win over Loyola Marymount in the Midwest
Regional of the NCAA tournament.
Sophia Young, who goes by that nickname, scored 24 points, six
of them on back-to-back 3-point plays late in the game in Baylor's
71-60 win over the tournament newcomer Lions.
No. 4 seed Baylor (25-8) will meet No. 5 Florida ((19-10) in
Monday's second round. Florida advanced with a 68-56 win over New
"Sophia is an unbelievably gifted athlete," said Baylor coach
Kim Mulkey-Robertson of the sophomore star. "And what she's
learning every time she steps onto the court is the different
things she can do with her body."
"There's no question she has to step up now," Mulkey-Robertson
said. "She made the big plays down the stretch and in order to
survive in this tournament you have to make plays down the
Loyola Marymount (24-6) never led in their NCAA debut, but the
Lions, who came into the tournament with a 15-game winning streak,
stayed close behind with senior guard Kate Murray's 27 points.
Murray, the only Loyola player in double figures, hit 9 of 18 shots
and had four of the Lions' nine 3-pointers.
A 3-pointer by Rachael Ziemann cut Baylor's lead to 59-55 with
4:23 left in the game. Young pushed the lead back to seven with a
three-point play with 3:25 remaining. She scored on a baseline
bankshot, was fouled by the Lions' Jacquelyn Woods and added the
Murray, an 88 percent free throw shooter, had a chance to cut
the deficit moments later, but she made just one of two free throws
that left Baylor's lead at 62-56 with 3:14 left.
Young, who scored 15 points in the second half, put the Lions
away with another 3-point play with 1:59 remaining. She banked in
another short jumper, was fouled again and connected from the line.
"I knew I needed to step up big time," Young said. "We were
frustrated from turning the ball over and not making the plays that
Lions coach Julie Wilhoit said her team had no one to defend
"When you have a player that can take over like that, it's very
difficult," Wilhoit said. "I can't put five girls on just her and
against a team like Baylor, it's very difficult to come from
Baylor scored the first seven points on baskets by Young and
Dionne Brown and a 3-pointer by Jessika Stratton.
The Bears, the top-scoring team in the Big 12 this season, shot
50 percent in the first half. Freshman Emily Niemann's 3-pointer
with 6 seconds left put Baylor up 37-25 at the half.
Brown added 15 points and Stratton had 10. The Bears played
without Steffanie Blackmon, their second leading scorer at 15.6
points a game. Blackmon twisted her left knee in the Big 12
tournament and was on crutches Saturday.