FORT WORTH, Texas — Moon Ursin and NaLyssa Smith had double-doubles and No. 7 Baylor beat TCU 74-50 on Saturday, when both head coaches missed the game because of coronavirus contact tracing.
With associate head coach Bill Brock filling in for Kim Mulkey, Baylor (8-1, 3-0 Big 12) won its 30th straight game in the series against the Horned Frogs. It was the first game for the Lady Bears since consecutive 93-point nonconference victories the week before Christmas.
Brock said afterward that Mulkey was near the end of a 10-day quarantine period after being exposed to COVID-19 through direct contact within her family during the Christmas break. Mulkey, who does not have the coronavirus, is expected to rejoin the team Monday, three days before its home game against No. 4 UConn.
“We all were just pinch-hitting today,” said Brock, who has been on Mulkey’s staff for 18 of her 21 seasons at Baylor. “I was very fortunate that I had this week to work with the kids for about four days after they came back from the break and for us to get prepared for TCU. It’s not like we found out yesterday.”
Ursin had season highs with 21 points and 10 rebounds, along with seven assists. Smith had 18 points and 12 rebounds. DiDi Richards added 14 points, six rebounds and seven assists for Baylor.
TCU (5-3, 0-3) said coach Raegan Pebley also missed the game due to a quarantine period after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. The school said Pebley tested negative but was following medical protocol to isolate. Associate head coach Hanna Howard filled in for Pebley.
“Obviously you can feel if a coach isn’t there, but our coaching staff as a whole does a good job working together,” TCU senior guard Lauren Heard said. “No matter who is here, they give us the game plan and it’s up to us to execute.”
Heard was the focus of Baylor’s defense, primarily guarded by Richards, who like Ursin played the full 40 minutes. Heard had 14 points, below her 20.1-per game average that was third in the Big 12, but made nine free throws while making only 2-of-15 shots from the field.
“I thought she harassed the ball very good today,” Brock said of Richards.
Ursin hit two 3s while scoring the first eight points for the Lady Bears after halftime, putting them up 43-28. They led by 20 when DiJonai Carrington’s steal and fastbreak layup with 7:41 left made it 58-38.
TCU struggled shooting from the outset and finished 26.2% overall (16 of 61). The Frogs had several long shooting droughts, missing nine of their first 10 shots in the game, their last six before halftime, and seven of eight to end the third quarter.
Baylor: The Lady Frogs haven’t lost to TCU since Feb. 28, 1990, when both teams were still in the old Southwest Conference. The current winning streak includes all 18 games since they reunited as conference rivals when TCU joined the Big 12 in 2012.
TCU: Like Baylor, TCU entered the game ranked top three in the Big 12 in turnover margin and assists-to-turnover margin. Both teams had 17 turnovers – TCU had only nine assists, Baylor 17. … The Frogs were 4 of 9 on 3-pointers at halftime but made just 3 of 21 shots inside the arc before the break.
Baylor is home Thursday night for its highly anticipated showdown against No. 4 UConn.
TCU is home again Wednesday night to play Oklahoma State.