By Matthew Soderberg | Sports Writer
No. 2 Baylor women’s basketball earned their 36th win in a row, a streak that goes back to December of last season, in the second game of the Paradise Jam Friday. The 77-62 victory over No. 17 Indiana is their 59th win away from Waco over a ranked opponent since 2010-2011.
The Lady Bears trailed for the first seven minutes of play, with the Hoosiers gaining up to a five-point lead early in the matchup. That would be the largest and only lead of the night for Indiana, as Baylor put on the brakes and returned to its usual style of play.
The 15-point win was the second smallest this season, but it was also the best game in terms of natural rankings so far. In the box score, the team’s were seemingly fighting an even battle, as the Lady Bears were only marginally ahead in major markers like FG% (48-41), rebounds (38-36), fouls drawn (18-17) and turnovers (15-12).
The talent just overmatched the Hoosiers. Junior guard DiDi Richards showed out Friday with a season-high 20 points along with four rebounds, six assists and three steals. Sophomore center Queen Egbo also performed in the win, notching a double-double with 14 points and rebounds. She also executed two blocks and a steal while fighting through foul trouble.
Three other Lady Bears racked up at least nine points, with graduate-transfer guard Te’a Cooper at 17, senior guard Juicy Landrum at 10 and sophomore forward Caitlin Bickle at nine. Landrum continued her hot weekend of the glass, setting another season-high with nine boards and adding four dimes for good measure. Bickle also kept it going with season-highs in points and minutes as she digs herself a role with the absence of preseason All-American Lauren Cox.
The Hoosiers fought hard after the break, twice pulling with four points of the reigning national champions, but Baylor stopped the bleeding each time with runs of their own to hush Indiana’s newfound confidence. The Hoosiers were a real test for the Lady Bears, coming off a win against No. 5 South Carolina, and Baylor could have fallen into a trap looking forward to their matchup with the Gamecocks.
Instead, the Lady Bears extended their winning streak against ranked teams to 10, with the chance to grow that number to 11 in a 7 p.m. game against South Caroline Saturday in the U.S. Virgin Islands.