Baylor women to 8th straight Sweet 16
WACO, TEXAS >> Nina Davis had an impressive stretch in the second quarter and finished with 30 points as the Baylor women advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the eighth year in a row with an 84-52 victory over Auburn on Sunday night.
The Lady Bears (35-1) never trailed after Alexis Jones hit a 3-pointer on her first shot just like in their tournament opener two days earlier. Jones finished with 16 points, seven steals and six assists, while freshman post Kalani Brown also had 16 points and senior point guard Niya Johnson had 10 assists in her last home game.
Baylor, the No. 1 seed in the Dallas Region and with a 22-game winning streak, advances to play Saturday at the NBA Dallas Mavericks' home arena about 100 miles from the Waco campus. The Lady Bears will take on Texas A&M or Florida State, who play Monday night.
Brandy Montgomery had 14 points and Tra'cee Tanner 13 for ninth-seeded Auburn (20-13), which was the last unranked opponent to beat the Lady Bears on their home court. That was 13 years ago in the WNIT final to end coach Kim Mulkey's third season at Baylor.
The Tigers never gave themselves a chance to win again in the Ferrell Center since they were the team making turnovers instead of forcing them early.
Auburn had all season depended on its pressure defense, and in the opener of its first NCAA Tournament since 2009 forced 25 turnovers that led to 32 points in a 68-57 victory over St. John's.
Baylor was already up by 27 points midway through the second quarter, at 37-10 after a 12-0 run in which Davis scored 10 points and had a nifty assist on the other basket. The Lady Bears had 10 points off turnovers by then, and Auburn had none.
Since that 64-63 WNIT loss on April 4, 2003, the Lady Bears have won 166 consecutive home games against unranked opponents. They also have seven Big 12 regular-season championships, with 11 trips to the Sweet 16 and two national titles (2005 and 2012).
In a span of a minute in the second quarter, Davis had two three-point plays and the nice assist. Kristy Wallace passed the ball on the break to Davis, who in one motion without a dribble pushed the ball to Jones for an easy layup.
That run ended with another impressive no-dribble assist from that trio, this time Wallace in the air when she got the ball from Jones and then to Davis for the basket.
Auburn: The Tigers finished with 15 turnovers, two more than they forced. ... Janiah McKay ended the third quarter with a 3-pointer from just beyond half court to beat the buzzer. The Tigers still trailed 68-39 then. ... Katie Frerking, whose older brother was a backup quarterback at Baylor from 2011-14, had 11 points.
Baylor: Alexis Prince had a game-high 13 rebounds. ... The Lady Bears are 38-12 in NCAA Tournament games, 11-1 at the Ferrell Center. ... Johnson and fellow seniors Kristina Higgins and Chardonae Fuqua took a lap around the court after the game. ... Davis' career high in an NCAA Tournament game was 32 points in Baylor's first-round game over Western Kentucky two years ago when she was a freshman.
Auburn: Season's over.
Baylor: Play Florida State or Texas A&M in Sweet 16 in Dallas on Saturday.
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