Baylor shuts down Texas in battle of Big 12 heavyweights

Story by Jessika Harkay | Sports Writer, Video by Elisabeth Tharp | Broadcast Sports Director

The Lady Bears extended the nation’s longest active overall win streak to 18 games after defeating the Texas Longhorns 64-35 on Monday at the Ferrell Center.

Limiting the Longhorns to only 35 points, the matchup marked the fewest number of points Baylor allowed in a regular-season Big 12 game since 2013. It was the Longhorns’ second-fewest points scored in program history.

Senior center Kalani Brown notched her sixth double-double game of the season, with 19 points and 12 rebounds, aiding the Lady Bears in their 36th straight home victory.

The Longhorns were led by center Jatarie White, who had six points and 11 rebounds and helped Texas become the first team this season to out-rebound Baylor (46-44).

The game opened with an unusually slow start for the Lady Bears. With a high-pressuring Longhorns defense, the Lady Bears struggled to establish an offense, creating a back-and-forth battle full of missed baskets.

Texas capitalized on offensive rebounds to keep the game close with eight of their 11 first quarter points coming from second-chance opportunities. By the end of the first, Baylor was shooting 42 percent from the field, ending the low-scoring quarter 16-11.

The second quarter opened with a quick 3-pointer from Texas junior guard Joyner Holmes and three early Baylor turnovers. The Longhorns soon went into a scoring drought, only notching 5 points the whole quarter. From four UT turnovers, the Lady Bears found sparks of momentum, going on a 9-0 run the last five minutes of the half. By the break, the Lady Bears led 27-16.

Brown said the team needed a boost to give the Lady Bears energy.

“I thought that [increasing the lead from 5 to 9 by the half] changed the momentum and gave us a spark,” Brown said. “We needed some energy and by me hitting those shots, everyone gets excited, so I was just trying to get momentum.”

The Lady Bears opened the second half with the ball and scored seven points within the first two minutes. Crowd noise soared as head coach Kim Mulkey riled up the roaring audience with flailing arms, adding to Baylor’s growing momentum. Scoring 25 points in the third, the Lady Bears nearly matched their first-half points while holding the Longhorns to 10.

Texas head coach Karen Aston credited the inability to regroup offensively for the changing point in the game.

“I thought our team played pretty competitively for 20 minutes,” Aston said. “Aside from that last couple of minutes, it got away from us a little bit in the second quarter. … We held them to some averages there defensively. We tried to regroup at half. We had some positive things to talk about. We talked about being more aggressive offensively. … You have to give Baylor an enormous amount of credit for how good their defense is.”

Entering the fourth with a 26-point lead, the Longhorns’ offense couldn’t keep up with the Lady Bears dominating second half in-paint play. Only scoring nine points in the fourth, UT fell to Baylor 64-35. Mulkey credited the Lady Bears’ mindset and defense for the win and teams success.

“It’s going to be about the team first,” Mulkey said. “It’s going to be about chemistry. It’s going to be about defense and they know that when we recruit them. It’s all about players that understand what’s important when you get on that floor. They all buy into defense first [and] team second.”

The Lady Bears next take on Oklahoma State at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Ferrell Center.