Lady Bears extend nation-leading win streak on Thanksgiving

Baylor's NaLyssa Smith (1) prepares to shoot during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against New Hampshire on Nov. 5 at the Ferrell Center. Associated Press

By Matthew Soderberg | Sports Writer

No. 2 Baylor women’s basketball continued their season-opening win streak Thursday as they mowed over Washington State, 89-66 in the opening game of the U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam.

The Lady Bears’ style overpowered the Cougars, as Baylor racked up 22 assists compared to their opponents’ eight.

The Green and Gold started with another big first quarter, holding Washington State to just seven points in the first frame. The 10-0 run to begin the game let fans know all they needed for the next 35 minutes of play.

Sophomore forward NaLyssa Smith and graduate-transfer guard Te’a Cooper each scored six points to lead the Lady Bears in the opening ten minutes.

The Lady Bears allowed 20 shots from the free-throw line in the win, and the Cougars found the bottom of the net 75% of those. Washington State also notched six more threes than Baylor, but the inside presence of the team from Waco more than made up for that weakness.

The Cougars finished with a paltry 18 points in the paint when compared to Baylor’s overpowering 58. The Lady Bears also racked up 18 points off of their 10 offensive rebounds, while Washington State converted just four points on seven offensive boards.

Four Lady Bears finished in double figures, including Smith and Cooper with 18 and 10, junior guard DiDi Richards with 14 points and sophomore center Queen Egbo with 16. Sophomore forward Caitlin Bickle and graduate-transfer center Erin DeGrate each ended with eight. Also, while she posted just five points in the victory, senior guard Juicy Landrum led the team in both rebounds (8) and assists (7), posting career highs in each statistic.

The win over Washington State was Baylor’s 35th in a row dating back to last season, the longest streak in the nation and 12th-longest in women’s basketball history. The Lady Bears will be looking for their 36th win of the run at 4:45 p.m. Friday in St. Thomas against No. 17 Indiana.