There were times Thursday evening that Baylor coach John Gibson wondered if his girls' basketball team was going to hit a shot against chief rival Girls Preparatory School. But once the Lady Red Raiders shook off the dreadful start, they became more of what he's come to expect.
The Lady Raiders overcame a five-point first quarter, taking the lead by halftime and going on to defeat the Bruisers 50-37 at GPS.
Skyla Looper led three double-figure scorers for Baylor (14-6, 2-0) with 12 points. Kaleigh Clemons and Abby Hubert added 11 each in the Division II-AA East/Middle Region victory.
GPS (13-6, 0-3) scored the game's first 10 points and led 18-5 after a quarter. The Bruisers' skid came in the second and third quarters, when they totaled five points. Baylor went on a 22-1 run that started on a 3-pointer by Looper with 1:49 left in the first quarter and ended with a 3 by Crosby Huckabay early in the third period.
"We defend well," Gibson said about the change in momentum. "A lot of GPS's early points came from us standing around. They were beating us to the glass and to loose balls. We broke down too many times and they took advantage, but this was a time where our inexperience and youth helped us out, because once we got going, we got excited and everything started working out for us."
The Bruisers took a big blow when, with 2:11 left in the first half, forward Kara Ware collapsed on the floor, moments after taking a blow to the head. Her team led 19-17 at the time, but by the time she was able to return at the start of the fourth quarter, Baylor was ahead 34-24.
"We started looking to make something happen and took ourselves out of the game offensively," GPS coach Jennifer Williams said. "Defensively, we can't run with them and we got away from our game plan. In the second quarter, we tried to play full court and we can't do that.
"Kara's absence was a huge difference defensively. With her, our zone worked because it kept Clemons out of the lane and she couldn't create. We tried to hold it together until she got back in."
GPS was led by Ware and Akia Harris with 11 points each.
Despite the slow start, Gibson was pleased with the final result. His team has to jump on a bus and ride to Father Ryan for another league game this afternoon.
"In this league I'll take a win any time I can get one," Gibson said. "There are no nights off and no easy nights, so any time you can get one, it's a huge win."
Contact Gene Henley at email@example.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.