WACO, Texas (AP) -- With Danielle Wilson and Rachel Allison
mostly relegated to the bench because of foul trouble,
Baylor (No. 12 ESPN/USA Today, No. 13 AP) spent the first half just trying to survive.
In the end, California (No. 14 ESPN/USA Today, No. 12 AP) was the one playing catch-up. The Lady Bears got their full complement of players for the
second half, and Jessica Morrow scored 18 points off the bench as
Baylor rallied to beat California 69-56 on Sunday. Baylor (5-0) hit 16 of its first 21 shots after halftime to turn
a seven-point halftime deficit into a 15-point lead. Wilson, Baylor's leading scorer who scored all 10 of her points
in the second half, and Allison played a combined nine minutes in
the first half because each got hit with two fouls early. "We knew they would test us," Baylor's Jhasmin Player said.
"Everyone showed a lot of poise in the first half. Then we were
able to come back in the second half." The Lady Bears improved to 53-1 in home nonconference games
since Kim Mulkey became coach in 2000. Their only loss in the span
came last season to Purdue. Baylor's Angela Tisdale scored 11 of her 16 points in the second
half, and Player chipped in with 15. California (4-1) was looking to start 5-0 for the first time
since 1981-82. The Golden Bears turned the ball over 21 times and
shot just 39 percent from the floor. Ashley Walker scored 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, and
Alexis Gray-Lawson added 15 for the Golden Bears. California led 32-25 at halftime but lost the lead for good
because of six turnovers in the first four minutes of the second
half. "That's the worst half of basketball we've played all year,"
California coach Joanne Boyle said. California led 34-27 when Baylor took control of the game.
Wilson's layup tied it at 34, and the Lady Bears grabbed the lead
on Player's basket with 15:45 left. "With our entire lineup back out there we had good intensity on
the defensive end of the floor," Mulkey said. "That got us some
transition baskets and that really jump-started us." Tisdale hit consecutive 3-pointers to put the Lady Bears up
44-38. Baylor's lead swelled to 15 points when Jessika Bradley hit
a pair of free throws to give Baylor a 59-44 cushion with 9:02
remaining. California got no closer than 13 the rest of the way. The Golden
Bears had given up an average of 50 points per game in their last
three, but gave up 44 in the second half. "Coach told us Baylor would come out hot," Walker said. "We
just couldn't withstand their run." Morrow, who started Baylor's first four games, hit a 3-pointer
to put Baylor ahead 22-15 with six minutes remaining in the first
half. The Golden Bears then scored the next 14 points, including eight
from Walker. They finished the first half on a 17-3 run to take a
seven-point halftime advantage.