Story by Jessika Harkay | Sports Writer, Video by Noah Torr | Executive Producer
Notching their 37th straight home win, the No. 1-ranked Lady Bears finished their regular-season home schedule with a 76-44 victory over Oklahoma State on Saturday at the Ferrell Center for senior day.
After the game, a video tribute gave thanks to seniors Chloe Jackson and Kalani Brown. The team embraced at the end, full of smiles and eyes full of tears.
Improving to their 40th straight win over a Big 12 opponent, Brown and freshman center Queen Egbo led the team with double-double games. Brown recorded her 37th career double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds and Egbo notched 11 points with 10 rebounds. Head coach Kim Mulkey credited Egbo for her first-half performance.
“I think Queen was our spark plug in the first half,” Mulkey said. “Please acknowledge that kid because she just has unbelievable athleticism and she gave us a spark in the first half.”
Sophomore forward Vivian Gray led the Cowgirls with 23 points and five rebounds.
The game opened with OSU winning the tip-off which gave the Cowgirls an early lead. Through the use of double and triple-man defense, OSU forced the Lady Bears to rotate the ball and struggle to find open looks.
The Cowgirls led most of the quarter, with Gray 4-for-6 on field goals with 10 points. Failing to make any field goals within the last five minutes, the Cowgirls lost the lead with a minute left in the first quarter, 13-12.
OSU kept a quickened pace to create a back-and-forth battle. Both teams had sparks of momentum, but neither could establish dominating runs.
Early in the second quarter, Baylor went on a 7-0 run and was capitalizing off rebounds and turnovers. The Cowgirls matched the Lady Bears’ 24 rebounds by the half and managed to hold them to a 27 percent shooting from the field. OSU stayed within five points by the break.
Entering the third 25-20, the Lady Bears found their offensive momentum. Within the first three minutes, the Lady Bears notched nine points from three different players, while holding OSU to a standstill. The Lady Bears began dominating in the paint as the lead grew to 24 points while shooting at a 60 field goal percentage (9-15). Mulkey said the improvement in the second half came from the offense.
“It was just a tale of two halves,” Mulkey said. “There was nothing magical in [the locker room] to tell them. … They see why defense is important to us. We still had a five point lead at half, missing that many shots, shooting it that poorly and you still had a lead. Then you come out in the second half and extend the lead because you started making shots. It was good.”
In the second half, Baylor outscored OSU 51-24 and out-rebounded the Cowgirls 36-8. OSU head coach Jim Littell said his team competed hard in the first half but fell through.
“Their size and strength was too much for us. We just got buried down low the whole second half,” Littell said. “Twenty-three offensive boards and getting out-rebounded 60 to 32. They’re very deserving of the ranking. Great team. Great depth. A lot of good players, young players to come off the bench that are hungry in the third and fourth quarter.”
The Lady Bears travel to Morgantown, W. Va. on Monday to face the West Virginia Mountaineers at 6 p.m.