Winter Park, Fla. — Baylor went from having to deal with first-half turnover problems Friday night against No. 19 Syracuse to a slow-shooting start against No. 18 Michigan State on Saturday.
Once again, the No. 9 Bears found a way to overcome the obstacles, this time rallying from a 15-point deficit to beat the Spartans 84-65 in the Florida Sunshine Classic at Rollins College.
Imani Wright scored all of her 18 points in the second half to spark a dominant second-half performance that saw the Bears (10-1) outscore the Spartans (7-3) 51-19.
"I've never been a part of game where we were down 13 (46-33) at half and turn around and win by (almost) 20," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. "It shows you that the problems we have are fixable. In these kind of situations, you have to have heart and effort and I know we have that in the locker room."
The Spartans shot 56.7 percent (17 of 30) from the field to take a 46-33 halftime lead behind 13 points from Jasmine Lumpkin and 12 from Tori Jankoska.
Baylor came out aggressive from the start in the second half, employing a full-court press and a half-court trap to regain control of the tempo after shooting just 12 of 35 from the field in the opening 20 minutes.
"We had to do something. They were killing us," Mulkey said. "You can't wait to get back in the game; you have to play with a sense of urgency."
Baylor used a 12-0 run to take a 50-48 lead on Johnson's three-point play with 12:39 remaining. After the Spartans tied it, Wright scored 11 points during a 25-6 run that gave the Bears a 75-56 lead with 6:22 left.
With Michigan State settled in a zone, Wright was wide open from long range and capitalized — going 4 of 5 on 3-pointers in the second half.
"I'm glad my teammates had confidence in me and got me the ball," Wright said.
Niya Johnson added 15 points and 12 assists, and Nina Davis had 15 points and nine rebounds. Sune Agbuke added 12 points, and Khadijiah Cage had 10 points.
Lumpkin led the Spartans with 16 points, followed by Jankoska with 15.
Michigan State took its biggest lead at 46-31 on a Lumpkin free throw with 51 second to play in the opening half, but saw its lead fade quickly at the outset of the second period.
"We stopped scoring," said Michigan State coach Suzy Merchant, whose team was just 7-24 from the field (29.2 percent) in the second half. "We took bad shots at transition."
(At) No. 1 South Carolina 80, Central Michigan 45: Tiffany Mitchell scored 18 points despite a bloody nose. The reigning Southeastern Conference player of year took a hit to the nose with about six minutes left in the first half. After a brief delay, she returned to finish with five steals and four rebounds.
Crystal Bradford, the reigning Mid-American Conference Player of the year, scored 20 points for Central Michigan (4-4).
Alaina Coates had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds for South Carolina. Aleighsa Welch added 12 points.
South Carolina led 37-24 at the half. The team shot 51 percent from the field to 31 percent for the Chippewas.
The win lifts the Gamecocks to their best start at 11-0, one win from tying the school record for consecutive victories in a season.
Indiana 88, (at) Oakland 61: Jess Walter scored 16 and Amanda Cahill 15 for Indiana (10-1). Elena Popkey scored 19 and Olivia Nash 12 for Oakland (5-5).
Western Michigan 71, (at) Detroit 57: Miracle Woods scored 20, Jessica Jessing 15 and Alex Morton 10 for Western (6-3). Darianna Seward scored 19 and Rosanna Reynolds 13 for Detroit (5-6).
(At) Wayne State 72, Bellarmine 61: Shareta Brown had 28 points and 18 rebounds, and Destiny Lavita-Stephens scored 12 for Wayne State (7-1). Bellarmine is 5-3.
Adrian 69, Anderson 49
Alma 55, Finlandia 50
Hillsdale 85, Davis & Elkins 63
Kalamazoo 76, Earlham 69
Michigan Tech 77, Minot State 69
Northwood 89, Salem International 56
Spring Arbor 79, Lourdes 48