Baylor spanks New Mexico en route to Sweet 16

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- Baylor has a simple plan for when things get tight in the NCAA Tournament: Get the ball to Sophia Young.

Young scored 15 of her 21 points in the second half and the defending NCAA champion Lady Bears beat 11th-seeded New Mexico 87-67 in the second round of the Albuquerque Regional on Monday night.

Baylor (26-6) advances to play the winner of Tuesday's second-round game between second-seeded Maryland and No. 7 seed St. John's in University Park, Pa.

The Lady Bears' eighth straight NCAA Tournament victory was convincing, but it wasn't easy. They had to overcome a seven-point first-half deficit.

Baylor moved on by outrebounding New Mexico 40-29 and by hitting 9-of-18 3-pointers after making only eight 3s in its previous four games.

Young, the Big 12 Conference Player of the Year, also pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds to lead a well-rounded team effort. Reserve guard Jordan Davis scored 12 points in 13 minutes on 4-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc and sophomore guard Angela Tisdale had 10 assists.

"They played like they were the defending national champions," New Mexico coach Don Flanagan said. "They are difficult to defend and they execute extremely well."

Dionne Marsh scored 25 points and Julie Briody had 19 points in 19 minutes for the Lobos (22-10).

Two days after New Mexico senior center Jana Francis scored a career-high 25 points, the Lady Bears limited her to two points on 1-of-5 shooting in her final career game.

"We're going to guard you," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey-Robertson said.

Not always. Midway through the first half, New Mexico opened up a 27-20 lead with a 10-3 run capped by a 3-pointer by Marsh, who buried a wide-open shot from the top of the key after Mulkey-Robertson told one of her players to "get off her."

The Lady Bears responded quickly. They reeled off 19 of the next 23 points, including 13 in a row, to take a 39-31 lead with 2:04 to play in the first half.

Baylor opened the second half with a 9-2 run to take a 53-40 lead. The Lady Bears led 60-47 with 10:38 to go when Mulkey-Robertson was whistled for a technical foul for arguing a foul call on Baylor guard Jessica Morrow.

Briody and Abbie Letz made four straight free throws, and New Mexico quickly trimmed the deficit to 65-60 with more than eight minutes to play.

"I told them in the timeout after the technical, 'Let me get on the officials; it's my job,'" Mulkey-Robertson said.

"Coach always tells us to keep a cool head in a hot game," Young said.

That's what Young did. On Baylor's first possession after the Lobos crept within five points, Young scored, drew a foul and hit the free throw to give Baylor a 68-60 lead. She added another three-point play less than a minute later.

Young's personal 6-0 run pushed Baylor's lead back to 71-60, and New Mexico never got closer than seven points again.

"Coach tells the team to get the ball to me whenever the game is close," Young said. "And I'm going to do anything I can to score or create something to get someone open.

"I wanted the ball at that point because the game was getting out of control," she said.

The Lady Bears are now headed to Albuquerque for the second time in three years. In 2004, they won first- and second-round games in the same building.

It's hard to say whether Albuquerque fans will back Baylor after it knocked the hometown Lobos out of the tournament. But the Lady Bears weren't worried about that Monday.

"I'm just glad that we have practice next week," senior Chameka Scott said.