Alexis Jones: Making her mark on Lady Bears basketball

FLOATING TO HER LEGACY Baylor redshirt senior guard Alexis Jones tries to drive the lane against the Oklahoma Sooners on Sunday in Waco. The Lady Bears won by a final of 92-58. Jones got a triple double in the game, scoring 24 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and getting 10 assists. Photo credit: Penelope Shirey

By Nathan Keil | Sports Writer

Senior guard Alexis Jones is only playing her second season in the green and gold. However, she is already cementing her legacy as one of the great Baylor Lady Bears.

In Sunday’s 92-58 win over No. 20 Oklahoma, Jones torched the Sooners to the tune of 24 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. She became only the second player in program history to record a triple-double.

Jones joined former Lady Bear and current Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner as the only two players to record such a feat in Baylor history. Griner recorded the first in a 101-76 win over Oral Roberts on Dec. 16, 2009. She finished with 34 points, 13 rebounds and a Big 12 record 11 blocks.

Jones orchestrated her performance against Oklahoma in numerous ways. She used ball screens to penetrate the lane to get layups and short jumpers for herself. When the defense helped out to cut off the drive, she found her teammates for easy baskets.

When the defense eased off of her, she knocked down the long distance jumpers, connecting on two of six from three-point range.

Oklahoma head coach Sherri Coale said Jones’ performance did not surprise her because she has always been a thorn in the Sooners’ side.

“She’s fantastic. I feel like we were her coming out party in her first year here at Baylor,” Coale said. “She has been tremendous every time we’ve played them. She understands big games and rises to the challenge.”

In three games against Oklahoma last season, Jones scored 67 points and dished out 18 assists.

Jones found herself impacting the game in nearly every facet. But as impressive as her performance appeared to be to those watching, head coach Kim Mulkey said she didn’t even realize how close Jones was to accomplishing her triple-double.

“I didn’t know she had the triple-double, and one of the coaches told me after she came out, and I said I was going to let her go one possession down and back,” Mulkey said. “I said if she didn’t get it, I just couldn’t take a chance on a kid getting hurt, and she threw the ball in there to Kalani [Brown], and Kalani made the move to the paint and scored it. If it’s a situation where I can control it, I will.”

The triple-double is another tally in an already impressive resume that Jones has put together since transferring from Duke after the 2013-14 season. She was an All-Big 12 first team performer, Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, Most Outstanding Player of the Big 12 Championship and part of the Dallas Regional All-Tournament team in 2016.

She leads the team in scoring this season, averaging 15 points per game. She is shooting the ball at an extremely efficient clip, connecting on 43 percent from the field, including 42 percent from beyond the arc and 72 percent from the free throw line.

Jones always seems to save her best performances for the biggest stages. In nine games this season against ranked opponents, Jones is averaging just less than 20 points per contest and six assists. This means that she scores five more points and has one more assist against the highest quality defenders she plays against.

She even seems to be able to elevate her game one step higher in tough environments away from the Ferrell Center. In true road games against ranked foes, she is averaging 21 points and six assists, including 23 points in the Lady Bears’ lone loss of the season on Nov. 17 at Connecticut and 30 points in an 88-66 win on Dec. 4 at Tennessee. Jones fell one rebound short of a triple-double against the Lady Vols.

For Jones, it isn’t about collecting stats and establishing a legacy. She just goes out and plays as hard as she can and tries to win.

“I had no idea that I was that close,” Jones said after her triple-double on Sunday. “I was just playing.”

Jones and the No. 2 Lady Bears return to action at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Iowa State.