3:00 PM ET, December 5, 2004
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- Emily Niemann was given room to shoot and made the most of her opportunities.Niemann scored a game-high 18 points and hit four 3-pointers, lifting No. 9 Baylor past East Carolina 80-59 in the final of the Lady Pirate Invitational on Sunday.Niemann, the tournament MVP, went 7-for-11 from the field for the Bears (6-1). Sophia Young added 17 points, and Steffanie Blackmon had 13 points and nine rebounds."(ECU) was playing a zone and, if you do any kind of scouting report on us, you know Niemann can light it up from anywhere," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey-Robertson said. "She has tremendous range on her shot, and when I saw they were going to go to a zone, I brought in my shooters. They were able to spread the floor a little bit and (Niemann) was able to get some good looks."Baylor shot a season-best 54 percent and used a 10-point spurt to break open a close game in the first half.Viola Cooper scored 13 points to lead the Pirates (2-5).With her team leading 15-11 midway through the first half, Niemann sparked the 10-0 run by hitting two 3s. The spurt gave the Bears a 14-point edge, which grew to as many as 18 before halftime.Baylor led 35-22 at the break and pushed its lead to 28 points late in the game, shooting 12-for-17 in the second half. The Bears also held East Carolina to 37 percent shooting and forced 21 turnovers.It was a better outing than their 73-56 win against Jackson State on Saturday, a game Mulkey-Robertson called "very ugly."East Carolina coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener said she knew Niemann was a dangerous outside shooter, but that didn't make it any easier to stop the Baylor offense."We were actually keying on (Young, Blackmon and Niemann)," Baldwin-Tener said. "We were well aware of how well Niemann could shoot the basketball. It didn't show during the game, but she's got such a good, quick release and good size. If you're not right beside her, she's able to get it off. She shot lights-out."Shanita Sutton and Samantha Pankey each added 12 points for East Carolina.