WACO, Texas — NaLyssa Smith, Moon Ursin and No. 9 Baylor are starting to get back in the groove.
Smith scored 21 points, Ursin had a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds and the Lady Bears overwhelmed Oklahoma 84-61 on Saturday night, a week after the end of their national-best 61-game home winning streak when they returned from a long pause because of COVID-19 protocols.
“Well, I think it’s obvious,” said coach Kim Mulkey, who tested positive after the Christmas break. “You can’t just, at this level, roll a ball out there unless you have a lot of returning players and a lot of depth. Under the circumstances we don’t have that, so we have to have practice time. … We’ve got days that we’ve got to make up for three weeks that we really weren’t together. Each day matters, each game matters, and there’s been progress.”
The Lady Bears (10-2, 5-1 Big 12) hadn’t played in two weeks before the 75-71 loss to Iowa State last Saturday, and their only full-team practice in that time had been the morning of that game. They rebounded with a 77-58 win at Oklahoma State on Wednesday night, then got back home for their 21st win in their last 22 meetings against Oklahoma.
Madi Williams led Oklahoma (4-7, 1-5) with 29 points and Taylor Robertson made five 3-pointers while scoring 19 points.
DiDi Richards had a career-high 12 assists — three more than the Sooners had as a team — and five players scored in double figures as Baylor shot 59% (35 of 61). Trinity Oliver had 14 points, freshman Hanna Gusters 11 and Queen Egbo 10.
“Baylor played really, really well. And when they shoot it like that, they’re a problem for anybody in the country,” Sooners coach Sherri Coale said. “We could not match their size and athleticism and aggression on the glass, 40-14 (rebounding) is a huge margin to overcome there.”
Baylor took over the game in the second quarter by outscoring Oklahoma 25-5 to stretch a two-point lead to 22 at halftime.
“Where it turned for us, in the second quarter when we could not get a ball to go in the basket and kind of panicked,” Coale said. “Being unable to score affected our ability to defend, it was kind of in our head, you could see we kind of glazed over.”
Oklahoma: The Sooners got dominated inside as expected, getting outscored 46-16 in the paint. But the Big 12′s top 3-point shooting team struggled from beyond the arc at 22.7% (5 of 22) . They had lost 64-63 in their last game against Iowa State, which was playing its next game after the streak-busting win at the Ferrell Center.
Baylor: The Lady Bears still haven’t lost consecutive home games in 12 years, since then-No. 2 Oklahoma won 56-51 in the Ferrell Center on Jan. 28, 2009, four days before No. 16 Texas won 58-55 there. That was the last time the Sooners won in Waco.
Ursin, a senior guard in her first season starting, had her fourth double-figure scoring game in a row, and her second career double-double.
“I’m just playing basketball now,” she said. “ learned a lot being in the program for four years now, and it’s just starting to come to me, … I had to be patient, and my turn’s here and I’m not going to waste it.”
When the Lady Bears dropped three spots to No. 9 in this week’s poll, it was their lowest ranking since being ninth in November 2017. After two solid wins this week, they could regain a spot or two. But they definitely will remain in the Top 10, where they have been since December 2014.
Oklahoma is home against Kansas on Wednesday night.
Baylor stays home to host TCU on Tuesday. Both head coaches missed the first meeting Jan. 2 because of COVID-19 protocols.