1:00 PM ET, March 9, 2005
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Baylor coach Kim Mulkey-Robertson has such a talented team, balancing playing time can sometimes be tougher than winning ballgames.
That was the case Wednesday when No. 6 Baylor advanced to the Big 12 semifinals with a 70-52 victory over Missouri.
"It's not fun for me," Mulkey-Robertson said. "I don't have an eight-player rotation like maybe you should. I need to be on my toes."
Sophia Young scored 18 points and Chameka Scott added 16 to lead the top-seeded Bears (25-3), who will play Texas Tech on Thursday. Latoya Wyatt had 11 points and Steffanie Blackmon had 10.
Wyatt, who played just six minutes in last week's Big 12 title-clinching win against Texas Tech, finished 5-for-5 and provided the Bears with a much-needed lift after Missouri whittled a 20-point lead to 10 early in the second half.
"I know it's very difficult to play a role," Mulkey-Robertson said. "A lot of the success we've had this year was the unexpected player. Today it was Latoya."
Christelle N'Garsanet led ninth-seeded Missouri (11-18) with 15 points and 10 rebounds, but the Tigers turned the ball over 21 times and shot just 35 percent from the field (18-for-52). They were also 12-for-22 at the free throw line.
LaToya Bond added 11 points and Tiffany Brooks 10 for the Tigers.
"Baylor is a handful," Missouri coach Cindy Stein said. "You need to have perfect execution to stop them."
Missouri scored first, but Baylor used two 9-0 runs in the first seven minutes to quickly build a 22-8 lead. Young was the catalyst for both, scoring six of her 14 first-half points, and Blackmon chipped in with eight.
The Bears extended their early lead to as many as 20 at 38-18, capitalizing on Missouri's 12 early turnovers and a five-minute scoring drought midway through the first half.
Brooks finally gave Missouri some hope, scoring four of her 10 points in the final minute to draw the Tigers within 41-27 at the break. Missouri then kept the momentum early in the second-half, cutting the lead to 47-37 with 16 minutes to play.
But that's when Wyatt knocked down her only 3-point attempt to end the Tigers' comeback bid. Scott followed with nine straight points to fuel a 13-0 run.
"(Wyatt) was getting deflections, loose balls. She was very good for us today," Mulkey-Robertson said. "Then Chameka was nailing them from 3. It makes it fun to watch."
The Bears weren't without their own problems. They shot 50 percent from 3-point range (5-for-10), but just 41.2 percent from the free throw line (7-for-17) and committed 16 turnovers.
"When you shoot better from 3 than the free throw line, something is wrong," Mulkey-Robertson said. "It took us about two minutes to wake up, but I thought our players played very fine basketball today."