Lady Bears squeak by Sooners

Story by Ben Everett | Sports Writer, Video by Elisabeth Tharp | Broadcast Reporter

No. 3-ranked Baylor women’s basketball defeated Oklahoma 74-65 on Monday night at the Ferrell Center, remaining undefeated in Big 12 Conference play.

The Lady Bears (22-1, 12-0) held the Sooners (12-12, 7-6) to just two points in the final three minutes to hang on for the win.

Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey said Oklahoma was just as driven to win as Baylor.

“It was just two competitive teams playing their best,” Mulkey said.

Sophomore forward Lauren Cox led Baylor with a career-high 24 points on 12-for-17 shooting while senior guard Kristy Wallace contributed nine points, six rebounds and 12 assists.

Junior center Kalani Brown and Cox scored eight of the team’s first 10 points as the Lady Bears jumped out to a 10-4 lead at the 4:41 mark of the first quarter.

Oklahoma senior center Vionise Pierre-Louis showed off the range on a jumper before taking Brown in the post to score back-to-back buckets for the Sooners to cut the Baylor lead to 16-12 at the end of the first quarter.

The jumpers started falling for the Lady Bears with Cox nailing two from mid-range and Wallace draining one of her own to extend the lead to 28-19 with 5:05 left in the half.

Pierre-Louis continued to go right past Baylor’s post players, scoring nine points in then final five minutes of the half to cut the lead to just five, but Lady Bear freshman guard Didi Richards scored an and-one in transition to make it a 38-30 Baylor lead at halftime.

The Sooners came out firing in the second half with senior guard Gabbi Ortiz knocking down two threes and senior guard Maddie Manning also hitting one as Baylor held on to a 49-43 lead with 6:04 remaining in the third quarter.

Cox continued her hot shooting night with six more points down the stretch of the third quarter to give Baylor a 59-51 advantage heading into the final quarter.

Oklahoma held Baylor to just one point in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter, mounting a comeback and making it a small 60-58 Baylor lead with 5:43 left in the game.

With the Lady Bears up just one point, Brown was called for an offensive foul in the post, but Baylor got the ball back after a missed three and senior forward Dekeiya Cohen gave the Lady Bears a three point lead with a driving layup at the 2:13 mark.

Wallace and Richards each got to the free throw line and converted in the final two minutes to ice the game for Baylor at 74-65.

Brown was held to 10 points and was held to just nine in the team’s previous matchup against the Sooners.

Mulkey said the Sooners had no special game plan for Brown, they just played good defense.

“I never saw a complete double to triple team,” Mulkey said. “But I guess just one-on-one basketball down there.”

The Lady Bears stay at home to face No. 24 TCU at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Ferrell Center.