BREAKFAST SPECIAL: Baylor Scrambles B-CU 3-0
** Updated 4:15 p.m.**
By Dan Ryan
LAKE CHARLES, La. - Saturday morning's Bethune-Cookman - Baylor breakfast special at the Big Daddy's Invitational showcased the gulf between Big 12 young and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference young.
In their first meeting against a Big 12 team and the program's first foray into major conference opposition since 2008, the Lady Wildcats took a 3-0 experience (25-13,25-16,25-18) from the Bears that extended B-CU's season opening losing streak to 11. B-CU fell to 0-12 later in the day with a 3-0 loss to Arkansas State.
Delicia Pierre had seven kills for the Lady Wildcats, who at times had four freshmen and a sophomore on the court facing a NCAA tournament team in two of the past three years.
Baylor also was playing as many as four freshmen at times, but the Bears' height across the board would make a WNBA coach salivate and that incoming class was ranked among the nation's top 20.
While the Bears needed less than an hour to post the victory, B-CU had its moments with an effort that may have been good enough to win some of the other matches played so far.
"I enjoy playing these teams," said B-CU Head Coach Isaac Raphael. "It helps the players and staff realize the level we're inspiring to be. We need to look at their players' demeanor and attitude and learn from it so we can start heading that direction.
"We always play at a higher level when we play a team like Baylor," Raphael said. "They key is, and I'd be a billionaire if I could figure it out, is to get the team to play consistently and not have our downs be so far down."
Senior Krysta Gardner also showed she can hold her own against the big girls, literally and figuratively, with six kills.
"Krysta and Delicia are big-time players," Raphael said. "We're fortunate to have them and they are fortunate to have us."
Gardner appreciated the opportunity to face a major college program.
"We came out timid ... intimidated by their name and their size," Gardner said. "As a program, we can learn a lot from this match. We can play this sport. If we can play at a high intensity, we can play with anybody."
In the second set, B-CU took early leads of 5-1 on a Gardner kill and 7-3 on a Destiny Hudson kill before Baylor (9-1) rallied for a 12-10 advantage. B-CU tied the score again at 14-14 before the Bears took control with a 6-1 run.
B-CU managed a 10-10 tie in the third set.
Baylor coach Jim Barnes said he saw potential with B-CU.
"I watched them play Hampton and they've gotten better this weekend," Barnes said of B-CU. "There's some potential on the team. Athletes need time and need rep. They'll get better at the season progresses. It's a mentality to play at the highest level. You don't get to a high place without a lot of hard work."
Pierre, who also had two blocks, led B-CU in kills for the fourth straight match. Hudson, another freshman, had four kills while Phylecia Armstrong finished with three blocks and libero Monica Lowe seven digs. Sophomore Aubrianna Curtis had 13 assists.
ARKANSAS STATE SWEEPS LADY 'CATS
B-CU's stay in Lake Charles concluded with a 3-0 (25-13,25-12,25-22) loss to Arkansas State.
Gardner had eight kills and seven digs for B-CU, while Pierre added seven. Curtis had 17 assists.
B-CU had an early 9-4 lead in the third set.
The Lady Cats' next match is their home opener Tuesday at 7 p.m. against North in historic Moore Gymnasium.
NOTES: Gardner now has 948 career kills ... B-CU's four other matches against major conference opponents include three with the Southeastern Conference -- Auburn in 2008 and 2003 and Georgia in 2004 and one against the Big East in 1999 against St. John's.