Lady Bears dominate Southern in third straight win

Baylor forward NaLyssa Smith (1) is fouled by Southern's Taneara Moore (22) as she attempts a shot in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020, in Waco, Texas. (Jerry Larson/Waco Tribune-Herald via AP)

by Harper Mayfield | Sports Writer

Fresh off a dominant win against Texas Tech, Baylor women’s basketball continued their successful season with a 34 point victory over Southern.

The win is Baylor’s third in a row, and their 59th straight in the Ferrell Center. The Lady Bears were led by junior forward NaLyssa Smith, who posted 16 points, three steals and a block. Junior center Queen Egbo also had a big night for Baylor, scoring 15 points and pulling in 11 rebounds. Senior guard DiDi Richards turned in a versatile performance with four points, six assists and four rebounds. As good as the win looked, Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey knows the Lady Bears can be better.

“We won the game, and I can’t tell you that it was anything to put in a highlight film,” Mulkey said. “I don’t take things for granted either. Everybody got to play, I think everybody scored, and we’ve got to get ready for Northwestern [State].”

Egbo and Smith led the charge for the Lady Bears in the paint, as Baylor scored 54 points in the paint to Southern’s 18. Southern struggled to keep Baylor off the glass too, giving the Lady Bears 35 second chance points, while only scoring four second chance points of their own. Baylor had success outside of the paint too, shooting over 37% from beyond the arc as a team, including 100 % in the fourth quarter.

The first quarter was a defensive struggle, as neither team was able to hit the 20 point mark. Baylor and Southern swapped leads twice, but a 6-0 run late in the quarter from the Lady Bears helped keep them in front heading into the second. Baylor ended the first quarter up 18-14.

The outset of the second quarter saw both teams trade buckets, but Baylor put together a 10-0 run about halfway through the quarter, extending their lead to 16. Another 6-0 run to close the quarter saw the Lady Bears looking for a blowout, entering the half up 41-19. The Baylor defense showed up big in the second, allowing only two scores from the field by Southern.

The third quarter saw Baylor push the lead even further, going on a tear to open up a 34 point lead. Baylor dominated on the inside on both sides of the ball, scoring 12 points in the paint, while allowing just two. The Lady Bear defense was able to play efficiently as well, not sending any Jaguars players to the line in the third. Heading into the fourth, Baylor led 62-28.

The fourth quarter gave some other Lady Bears an opportunity to shine. The Baylor bench scored 17 points in the fourth, almost as much as the bench had scored in the past three quarters combined. The second unit did just as well as the starters, pushing Southern in all phases of the game. Baylor scored 10 points off turnovers in the fourth, taking possessions from the Jaguars and turning them into offense for themselves. At the final buzzer, Baylor went home with an 86-52 win. While the bench group is often seen as lesser than the starting five, that isn’t how Mulkey sees it.

“Most people want to start [but] that means absolutely nothing to me,” Mulkey said. “I want the players I need to help me win the game be on the floor when it’s gut check time.”

The Lady Bears will see the court again on Dec. 18 against Northwestern State in the Ferrell Center. The game will air on Big 12 Now and ESPN+.