WACO, Texas — NaLyssa Smith put No. 7 Baylor ahead to stay with a nifty score off the opening tipoff. The standout forward went on to lead her team in scoring again, and had quite a defensive performance against the best player for Texas.
Smith finished with 14 points, while Moon Ursin and Queen Egbo had double-doubles, and the Big 12-leading Lady Bears won 60-35 on Sunday, holding Texas to its second-fewest points ever in a game.
Texas was held to single-digit scoring in the first three quarters and Charli Collier, the potential No. 1 overall WNBA pick who entered the game averaging 22.3 points and 12.8 rebounds, was held to two points on 1-of-3 shooting and five rebounds before fouling out.
“We put NaLyssa Smith on her. NaLyssa Smith was chosen preseason player of the year, and my mind hasn’t changed,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “NaLyssa plays on a team that has a lot of talented players around her. … As you’ve watched our team grow the last two to three weeks, we’re not about any one individual. This team is about a lot of players.”
Ursin and Egbo both had 11 points and 12 rebounds. DiJonia Carrington had 13 points, her fifth consecutive double-figure game off the bench, and seven rebounds for the Lady Bears (16-2, 11-1 Big 12). DiDi Richards had 10 assists, including the lob pass to start the game when Smith caught in the air and completed a layup before coming back down.
Celeste Taylor had 11 points for Texas, (14-6, 8-5), which was held to 35 points for the first time since a 64-35 loss at Baylor two years ago.
“Championship teams play harder, defend tougher and execute better. If you want to beat a team like that, you’ve got to play harder, execute better and defend tougher. That’s it. It isn’t a real big equation,” said first-year Texas coach Vic Schaefer, who previously took Mississippi State to back-to-back national championship games, including an Elite Eight win over Baylor four years ago.
The only time the Longhorns ever scored fewer points was in a 67-31 loss to Abilene Christian on March 5, 1976.
Baylor missed their last eight shots of the first quarter and led just 11-8 after the first 10 minutes. But Ursin and Smith hit on Baylor’s first two shots in the second quarter, and the Lady Bears stretched their lead to 25-11 after Carrington had consecutive 3s on assists from Richards.
“We just needed to hit some shots,” Mulkey said. “We had enough big shots, we had enough buckets, we got enough rebounds. We controlled the basketball game and that’s all that matters.”
IT’S COLD OUTSIDE
With a rare winter storm warning in effect in Central Texas, attendance was limited to people on the pass lists for each team, and even those people were encouraged to stay home and watch the game on TV. There were only about 30 people in the Ferrell Center who weren’t on the team benches or part of gameday operations. It was 19 degrees with a wind chill of 7 degrees outside when the game started, with snow in the forecast.
The Longhorns remained in Waco overnight, and it was possible they wouldn’t go home before playing at TCU on Wednesday. They were already halfway to Fort Worth.
“We’re going to hope this thing blows through and we can get home in the daylight tomorrow,” Schaefer said. “Again, this was my biggest fear when we left town. I kind of felt like this might happen.”
Texas: Collier, who didn’t take a shot after halftime, was held to single digits in scoring for the third game in a row against Baylor She was also held to three points on 1-of-10 shooting in January 2020, but did have 16 rebounds in that game. She had seven points against Baylor in the Big 12 tournament last March.
Baylor: The Lady Bears have won their last eight games overall. They have won nine in a row against the Longhorns, and 24 of the last 25 meetings.
Texas is home against Oklahoma State on Wednesday night.
Baylor hosts No. 19 West Virginia (10-3 in Big 12) on Wednesday night.