By Pranay Malempati | Sports Writer, Video by Igor Stepczynski | Broadcast Reporter
No. 2 women’s basketball defeated Oklahoma with a dominating 101-69 win Saturday at the Ferrell Center.
Baylor surpassed 100 points in a Big 12 game for the second time in program history, with both victories coming against Oklahoma.
Before the game, Baylor commemorated head coach Kim Mulkey’s milestone of 600 career wins with a tribute video and numerous gifts. Mulkey’s family, current team, several former Lady Bears and Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades each presented her with gifts, including two bouquets, a framed jersey with the number 600, and a special basketball.
Graduate guard Te’A Cooper said the ceremony did energize the team a little bit to start the game.
“I think [the ceremony] enhanced us a little bit,” Cooper said, “but we approach every game the same. We knew [we] had to come out strong anyway, but it was more special being that we celebrated the 600th win.”
Baylor started off hot, with all five players contributing offensively throughout the whole first quarter. Cooper and senior forward Lauren Cox each had double-digit points in the first period, which finished with Baylor up 36-19.
Baylor continued scoring in the second quarter, but also locked in completely on defense and held Oklahoma to just eight points in the frame. The Lady Bears went into halftime with a 63-27 lead. Along with Cooper and Cox, senior guard Juicy Landrum and sophomore forward NaLyssa Smith were also at double-digit points at the half.
Smith finished as Baylor’s leading scorer, with 22 points on 10-12 from the field. She added eight rebounds and was close to a double-double.
Cooper did finish with a double-double, ending the night with 16 points as well as a career-high 11 assists and tied her career high in steals with five.
Oklahoma outscored Baylor 42-38 in the second half, but that was not enough to overcome the 36-point halftime deficit.
The Lady Bears held down Oklahoma’s offense for the most part, but one Sooner had a game to remember. Guard Gabby Gregory had 30 points on over 50% shooting, including five threes.
Oklahoma hit 10 threes and shot over 40% from behind the arc. However, Baylor was able to completely shut the Sooners down inside. The Lady Bears dominated inside the paint, outscoring Oklahoma 68-10.
Another area where Baylor excelled on Saturday was converting on takeaways. While they only had five fewer turnovers than their opponent, they scored 33 points off turnovers, compared to Oklahoma’s eight.
The Lady Bears are one win away from clinching at least a share of the Big 12 regular season title for the tenth straight year. If they win two more games, or if TCU loses its next game while Baylor takes a victory, the Lady Bears could clinch the conference outright.
Mulkey said the team does pay attention to how close they are to clinching the Big 12.
“We’ve been writing how many remaining games we have,” Mulkey said. “We write on the board how many it takes to win [the Big 12], how many it takes to get at least a tie and to clinch it by yourself. We talk about that. You can’t avoid that. That’s motivation here late in the year when you’re trying to grind out wins.”
The Lady Bears have a quick turnaround before their next game. They play at 6 p.m. Monday night at West Virginia.