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Richards returns from injury, No. 4 Baylor beats USF 67-62

DiDi Richards scored four points and added seven assists in her return from a scary spinal cord injury five weeks ago, Queen Egbo had a game-high 25 points and No. 4 Baylor beat South Florida 67-62 on Tuesday night.

The Lady Bears (2-0) became the 15th women’s program in Division I history to reach 1,000 wins. Baylor coach Kim Mulkey improved to 606-101 in her 21 seasons at the school.

South Florida (1-1) got 18 points from Maria Alvarez and Bethy Mununga added 13.

South Florida forward Bethy Mununga celebrates after making a three-point basket against the Baylor during the second half of an NCAA women's college basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP PhotoChris O'Meara)

Richards entered three minutes into the game and quickly scored an in-close basket. The senior guard was hurt on Oct. 24 after colliding in mid-air with teammate Moon Ursin during a practice scrimmage and briefly lost feeling below her knees.

All the Baylor players wore Richards t-shirts during pregame drills.

Mununga got USF even at 53 early in the fourth with a trey but Richards then started an 8-0 Baylor run with a pair of free throws.

South Florida guard Maria Alvarez (1) drives around Baylor guard Trinity Oliver (3) and center Queen Egbo (25) during the second half of an NCAA women's college basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP PhotoChris O'Meara)

Trinity Oliver scored four of her 14 points in consecutive possessions to put Baylor ahead 65-58 with 2 1/2 minutes left.

Despite shooting just 28.9 percent (11 for 38), Baylor led 29-28 at halftime.

BIG PICTURE

Baylor center Queen Egbo celebrates with guard Trinity Oliver (3) after scoring against the South Florida during the second half of an NCAA women's college basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP PhotoChris O'Meara)

Baylor: Richards’ quick return was remarkable considering she required a walker to assist her in walking at first due to the spinal cord injury without radiographic abnormality. Still, in mid-November she was completing individual drills and workouts with the training staff.

South Florida: Considered a frontrunner to win the American Athletic Conference following the departure of UCONN to the Big East, the Bulls have another shot at high-ranked opponent when they host No. 6 Mississippi State on Saturday night.

UP NEXT

Baylor center Queen Egbo (25) drives against South Florida center Shae Leverett (21) during the second half of an NCAA women's college basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP PhotoChris O'Meara)

Baylor: Will travel to Arkansas on Sunday before opening up Big 12 play at West Virginia on Dec. 10.

South Florida: After playing Mississippi State on Saturday night, the Bulls' next scheduled game is the conference opener at Memphis on Dec 16.

More AP women’s basketball: https://apnews.com/Womenscollegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25