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Lady Bears jostle big lead, fend off Lumberjacks

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- For the first 15 minutes or so, the Lady
Bears of Baylor looked like the defending NCAA champions they are.
That was good enough to get them past feisty Northern Arizona 74-56
in their first-round game Saturday night.

Sophia Young scored 23 points, 16 in the first half, and grabbed
eight rebounds for Baylor, the No. 3 seed in the Albuquerque
Regional. The 10th-ranked Bears (25-6) advanced to a second-round
game Monday night against the winner of Saturday's final game in
Tucson between Florida and New Mexico.

"With the intensity of the NCAA Tournament, you can't always
expect a blowout," Young said.

Abiola Wabara added 12 points. Jessica Morrow and Chameka Scott
scored 10 for the Bears.

Freshman Sade Cunningham led Northern Arizona with 13 points,
including 7-of-9 from the free-throw line. Sandra Viksryte scored
11. Alyssa Wahl added 10 points but made just three of 12 shots.
Nicky Eason also scored 10 for NAU.

Coach Kim Mulkey-Robertson shrugged off her team's ragged
performance.

"This is the NCAA Tournament," she said. "You just survive
and advance."

The 14th-seeded Lumberjacks (22-11), champions of the Big Sky
Conference Tournament and making their first NCAA appearance, made
just two of their first 21 shots. In the meantime, Baylor shot out
to a 19-4 lead and was up 35-12 on freshman Rachel Allison's basket
with 4:29 left in the half.

Mulkey-Robertson benched her three starters from last year's
team -- Young, Wabara and Chameka Scott -- for a long stretch in the
first half, and the Bears still led 43-22 at the break.

Lumberjacks guard Kim Winkfield had suggested Baylor was a
one-dimensional team, and that holding down Young, the Big 12
Conference player of the year, would open the way for an upset. The
remark obviously chafed Mulkey-Robertson.

"I think we proved today we're not one-dimensional," the
intense Baylor coach said. "Anytime you can get 10 players in, for
good minutes, I think it proves that."

NAU made six of 29 shots in the first half.

"I'd love to have that first 10 minutes of the game back
again," Northern Arizona coach Laurie Kelly said. "I thought we
played a fantastic final 25 minutes."

The Lady Bears went up by 23 again, 49-26, on Wabara's inside
basket 17 minutes from the finish. Then the reigning champs let up
and the scrappy Lumberjacks rallied.

Northern Arizona scored nine in a row in a 13-3 run that cut it
to 52-39 when Viksryte made one of two free throws with 9:32
remaining. Scott's three-point play boosted the lead to 55-39. The
Lumberjacks managed one more rally, a 9-2 run that cut it to 63-51
after Laura Dinkins made two free throws with 5:01 to play.

Consecutive turnovers led to four Baylor points and NAU's hopes
for a monumental upset were over.

"They probably thought they could coast" after the Bears' big
early lead, Cunningham said. "They slacked off a little and we
just had to step it up."

Almost all of the Bears' points came inside. They were 1-for-10
on 3-pointers.