By Harper Mayfield | Sports Writer, Video by Tim Longoria | Broadcast Reporter
In-state rival TCU came to the Ferrell Center Tuesday but didn’t leave as happy as they’d hoped. No. 9 Baylor dominated the Horned Frogs in a 82-49 victory to close out the season series between the two squads.
Junior forward NaLyssa Smith had a big night, posting 18 points and a career-high 16 rebounds. Senior guard Moon Ursin continued her hot streak, scoring 21 points, snagging nine rebounds and dishing out five assists. Smith’s performance was her fifth double-double in the last six games, and head coach Kim Mulkey was anything but shocked by the star forward’s contributions.
“I thought that she was very unselfish with the basketball,” Mulkey said. “She passed up opportunities to score one-on-one [in the post], but she battled on the boards and did some good things, and that’s what she should do.”
Smith’s impact didn’t go unnoticed by her teammates either, as Ursin was quick to praise her high energy level.
“[Smith] just get us excited,” Ursin said. “It’s really amazing what she does. She gets us hype, she finishes on the offensive end, she’s a dominant player right now and she’s only going to get better from here. I love playing with Lyss.”
Baylor started out strong in the opening quarter, opening up a double-digit lead early. Ursin was efficient as usual, scoring nine of the team’s 23 points on 4-5 shooting from the field. Smith set up camp on the low block from the jump, putting up six points and pulling down three rebounds. Smith’s six were part of 14 total Baylor points in the paint in the first quarter, 12 more than the Horned Frogs. The Lady Bear defense showed out too, holding TCU to 4-15 shooting in the opening frame. At the end of one, Baylor led 23-13.
The second quarter was a defensive battle, with neither team hitting the 15 point mark. Ursin and Smith led the charge once again for the Lady Bears, scoring four points each. Smith also hauled in another three rebounds, moving her total to six before the half. Even if the offense wasn’t firing on all cylinders, the defense was able to set in, turning TCU over four times in the quarter. The defense also held the Frogs to a low shooting percentage again, this time only allowing TCU to connect on 30% of their shot attempts. At the half, Baylor led 36-23.
The Baylor offense was back in full force in the third, doubling up on TCU in the quarter. Smith scored another eight points in the game’s penultimate period to go along with another five rebounds. Junior center Queen Egbo came up big in the third, scoring six points, grabbing four rebounds and blocking two shots in just eight minutes of play. The Lady Bears continued to dominate down low, scoring 20 points in the paint to TCU’s six. As became the norm in this one, Baylor kept TCU’s shooting percentage in the cellar, this time 26% for the quarter. Heading into the fourth, Baylor led 60-35.
Freshman guard Sarah Andrews did a whole game’s worth of work in the closing frame, scoring 18 points, including all of Baylor’s three-pointers for the night, in only 10 minutes. Ursin struggled from the floor, but still put in four points and three rebounds to close this one out. While the outcome of the game had been sealed much earlier, Mulkey thought Andrews’s performance in the fourth was key.
“I thought it was important that Sarah hit those shots,” Mulkey said. “Because if you can hit them, people have to respect you at some point.”
Baylor’s next game will be at 3 p.m. Sunday in Ames, Iowa to take a shot at redemption against the Iowa State Cyclones. The game will air on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.