Igor Stepczynski | Broadcast Reporter
The No. 2 Baylor Lady Bears pulled away from rival TCU in the second half Wednesday night to pick up an 81-62 victory and extend their conference record to 11-0.
The game was tight for most of the first half, as Baylor entered halftime with just a two point lead, up 36-34. However, they came out and quickly turned the tide in the third quarter. The Lady Bears essentially put the game away after a 7-0 run late in the third brought the lead from nine points to 16.
Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey said she made some halftime adjustments, which helped Baylor take control of the game in the third.
“Corrected some stuff [at halftime],” Mulkey said. “Challenged them, corrected some stuff. First thing is stopping dribble-penetration. Second thing was help the help. [Lauren] Cox and Queen [Egbo] did good jobs of helping [in the first half], but then they’d get a layup because we’re hugging our man away from the ball. So we corrected those things.”
In that third quarter, senior forward Lauren Cox found her groove. She has been missing on offense recently, but she had 10 points in the third and did not miss a shot. Cox finished the game with 16 points on 7-11 from the field and added 10 rebounds, six assists, and five blocks.
Cox said it felt good to have a productive game offensively.
“I’m not shooting 2-8 anymore,” Cox said. “Just got to keep getting to the rim when I’m tired instead of shooting jump shots, draw fouls like coach said.”
Junior guard Didi Richards also had a productive game with 17 points, nine assists, and three steals. Richards shot 9-10 at the line and held TCU guard Kianna Ray to just five points while on defense.
That 9-10 from the line was a large part of Baylor’s free throw success Wednesday night. The Lady Bears shot 18-19 for the game, much better than their season average of 67.2%
Richards said a large part of her success is due to knowing when to score herself and when to rely on her teammates. She said being able to read the defense helps her make decisions about what to do with the basketball.
Sophomore forwards NaLyssa Smith and Egbo had big games inside. Smith had a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Egbo put up 15 points off the bench, making seven of the eight shots she attempted. She also added five rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Mulkey said having all their pieces in place made the difference in how the team performed tonight as opposed to their last matchup against the Frogs in Fort Worth.
Like usual, Baylor once again spread the ball well, with 23 assists on 30 made field goals and won on the boards tonight, out-rebounding TCU 38-29.
The Lady Bears continue their season on the road at Oklahoma State. at 7 p.m. Saturday in Stillwater, Okla.