By Harper Mayfield | Sports writer
Women’s basketball wrapped up their two game road trip with a dominant win over Texas Tech in Lubbock, taking down the Red Raiders 82-50. Baylor had beaten Tech by over 40 earlier in the year, but the team knew they couldn’t take that for granted.
“You can not look past anybody in this league,” Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey said. “Every time we play, every time we practice, I see things that let me know we’re getting better. We may not look as sharp sometimes as we did tonight, but we’re getting better.”
Junior forward NaLyssa Smith had an incredible night, scoring 28 points and securing 13 rebounds, five of which came on the offensive glass. Smith’s monster performance was efficient too, as she shot 12-22 from the field and 4-6 at the free throw line.
In comparison, Texas Tech’s starting lineup scored just two more points in total than Smith did by herself. Among the other Lady Bears aiding Smith was graduate guard DiJonai Carrington. Carrington scored 12 points of her own, brought in eight rebounds and also added three steals. As dominant as Smith was, the game didn’t feel any different for her.
“I just went out there today and just played,” Smith said. “I don’t know. I just played regular basketball.”
The first quarter started out slow for Baylor, as the Lady Bears scored just two points through the first four minutes of action. That wouldn’t be the case for the rest of the quarter. Baylor went on a blistering 16-0 run from the 5:58 mark onward led by Smith and Carrington. The pair combined to score all but four of Baylor’s points in the quarter. Red hot, the Lady Bears took an 18-3 lead into the second quarter.
The second kicked off with a 5-0 run from the Red Raiders, but that was quickly snuffed by a strong defense-to-offense play made by senior guard Moon Ursin. Baylor and Tech would trade buckets for the majority of the quarter, as neither defense was willing to give an inch. Baylor shot just 45% from the field in the second, while Tech shot only 36% from the floor. Despite some offensive snags, Baylor still went to halftime up 39-17.
Baylor threw down another huge run to open the second half, going 11-0 over the first three and a half minutes of play. Another 12-0 run would come later in the quarter, helping the Lady Bears further extend their lead. Smith scored 13 of her 28 in the third, and helped Baylor dominate on the block to the tune of 20 points in the paint. Those close shots helped keep Baylor’s shooting percentage high. After three, Baylor was running away with this one, 66-27.
The game’s final quarter played out a little more evenly. Several of Baylor’s key contributors rested during the fourth, allowing the second unit to get some more time on the floor. Sophomore guard Trinity Oliver led the closeout effort, scoring six points in the fourth. While the rapid scoring pace may have cooled late in the game, the defense had yet to clock out. Baylor still turned Tech over four times in the closing minutes. Behind a strong defensive effort, Baylor took home the win 82-50.
The Lady Bears will be back on the floor at 4 p.m. Sunday to take on Texas at the Ferrell Center. The game will be broadcast on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.