March Madness 2022: Baylor Women blast Hawaii for 19th straight 1st round victory


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Jordan Lewis knew Baylor’s halftime lead was a bit small, and Hawaii guard Amy Atwell was the reason.

So she wasn’t surprised to hear what coach Nicki Collen had to say at the break.

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“The message was that we gave a player 20 points,” Lewis said. “And we didn’t want to be the team that dropped an NCAA record.”

Cue the third quarter, when Lewis and NaLyssa Smith combined to score Baylor’s first 27 points as the Bears retired for their 19th straight NCAA Women’s Tournament first round victory, thrashing Hawaii 89-49 on Friday.

Baylor guard Jordan Lewis (3), forward NaLyssa Smith (1) and center Queen Egbo (4) celebrate on the bench during the second half of a college basketball game against Hawaii in the first round of NCAA tournament in Waco, Texas, Friday, March 18, 2022. Baylor won 89-49.
(AP Photo/LM Otero)

Smith had 17 points and nine rebounds in the third, Lewis scored 12, and the Bears outscored Rainbow Wahine 34-8 after leading by nine at halftime.

Queen Egbo had 10 points and 14 rebounds for the Bears (28-6), who had just lost to Texas in the Big 12 Tournament Championship Game after winning their 12th straight regular season title.

Baylor, the No. 2 seed from the Wichita area, will face South Dakota in the second round on Sunday. The 10th-seeded Coyotes beat Mississippi in Game 1.

“Everyone was getting back on their feet after not playing for a few days,” Lewis said. “Coming out of half-time we wanted to separate ourselves and not keep the game close. Going out and running in transition is where we do our best.”

Atwell was limited to nine points on 3-of-12 shooting after halftime as 15th seed Hawaii (20-10) faded and shot 22% from the field overall while falling to 1-7 in the NCAA Tournament. An eight-game winning streak for the Big West Tournament champions has come to an end.

Atwell attempted just four shots in the third quarter, making a 3-pointer, while Smith and Lewis combined to go 10 of 12.

“We had a lot of slip-ups in this third quarter, and that will always happen against a great Baylor side,” Atwell said. “They certainly outplayed us in the third quarter, but I think we can (hold) our heads up on how we’ve played for four quarters and everything we’ve done to get to this point.”

Sarah Andrews scored Baylor’s first 11 points of the fourth quarter and finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

Smith’s record 25th double-double of the season came in the third quarter, when the 6-foot-4 senior scored 3 of 17 points to go with nine rebounds. Lewis had 12 points in the quarter.

Three of Lewis’ five assists came in the third, all on Smith buckets, including an alley-oop pass for a layup shortly after Smith, who was 9 of 13 from the field, went retired from left wing beyond the arc for just his ninth 3 of the season.

Atwell had 20 of Hawaii’s 29 points in the first half, as Hawaii was within two points at the end of the first quarter before Baylor’s 8-0 run early in the second for a 22 lead. -14.

“I think part of the reason we started a little slow, (Smith) was a little under the weather,” said Collen, the freshman coach who won his tournament debut after replacing the three-time champion trainer. Kim Mulkey. “Didn’t have a ton of energy, then kind of rallied in the second half. I really wanted to limit his minutes.”

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BIG PICTURE

Hawaii: Depth was an issue, and it was. Only three Hawaii players scored in the first half, and only five for the game. Kallin Spiller managed to hit double figures with 10.

“That was our concern coming out of half-time is that we have to find people other than Amy, or we’re going to have a pretty good gap that we can’t close,” coach Laura said. Beeman.

Baylor: Size was a huge factor, also as expected with Smith and 6-3 front row partner Egbo controlling the lane. The Bears outscored the Rainbow Wahine 54-12 in the paint and had a 56-35 rebounding advantage. Atwell, a 6-foot Australian guard and the Big West Conference Player of the Year, frequently tried to keep Smith down.


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