MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — DiJonai Carrington hit her back hard on the floor coming down with a third-quarter rebound, then got up and almost immediately hit a 3-pointer from the corner.
Carrington scored 14 of her 19 points in the decisive period and No. 7 Baylor pulled away for a 65-45 victory over West Virginia in their Big 12 opener Thursday night.
The Lady Bears (3-1) bounced back from an 83-78 loss at No. 13 Arkansas on Sunday.
Carrington has emerged as Baylor’s leading scorer after being limited to five games a year ago due to a knee injury. The graduate transfer from Stanford was awarded a medical hardship to play this season.
After scoring 15 points combined in the first two games, Carrington had 24 in the loss at Arkansas and went 6 of 13 from the floor against the Mountaineers.
“She’s getting comfortable,” Baylor guard Moon Ursin said. “We’re figuring out her strengths and she’s figuring out her own strengths.”
Carrington scored five points and NaLyssa Smith had four during an 11-2 run to open the third quarter as Baylor broke out of a halftime tie to build a 39-30 lead.
Carrington later scored nine straight points for Baylor, including back-to-back 3s, and DiDi Richards followed with a jumper to put the Lady Bears ahead 52-34 with 2:12 left in the quarter.
West Virginia (4-1) got no closer than 13 the rest of the game.
“We just played our brand of basketball in the second half,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said.
Baylor didn’t start off so well, committing 11 first-half turnovers. The Mountaineers were able to pull even by halftime with Carrington, Ursin and Smith out with early foul trouble.
“We could’ve lost the game there in the second quarter with Carrington, Ursin and Smith on the bench but we just milked the clock and didn’t let it get away from us,” Mulkey said.
Baylor outrebounded West Virginia 48-37, including 17-13 on the offensive end.
“I don’t know why, but we looked tired in the second half,” West Virginia coach Mike Carey said. “Terrible shot selection. We had no ball reversal, no ball movement. And they just clogged up the paint. They either blocked it or we took a bad shot.
”They played harder than we did in the second half.”
Ursin added 12 points and eight rebounds, while Richards and Smith each scored 10 for Baylor.
Kirsten Deans led the Mountaineers with 10 points. Esmery Martinez had nine points and 12 rebounds. Leading scorer Kysre Gondrezick added nine but was shut out after halftime and held 14 below her average.
“She’s such a good scorer and we need her to score, but she’s got to let the game come to her,” Carey said. ”She just can’t force things.”