By Harper Mayfield | Sports Writer
Baylor women’s basketball finished off their penultimate regular season game in dominant fashion, beating Kansas 93-67.
Standouts for Baylor in the box score were junior forward NaLyssa Smith and junior center Queen Egbo. Smith put up 21 points and 12 rebounds, both of which were the highest marks in the game. Egbo, continuing her string of strong performances, had a double-double consisting of 10 points and 11 rebounds, in addition to her two blocks on the night. Baylor also got a huge boost off the bench from guard DiJonai Carrington, who scored 20 points and connected on four of her seven three point attempts.
The Lady Bears came out firing in the first, going on an 8-0 run from tip. Kansas would close the gap to five with just under two and a half minutes to play in the quarter, but a few key scores by junior forward Caitlin Bickle helped keep the Jayhawks at bay. Baylor made a point of crashing the offensive glass in the first, grabbing four offensive rebounds in just the first quarter. After one, Baylor led 18-10.
Baylor didn’t come out of the gates quite as fast in the second, but they closed on a hot streak. To close the second, Baylor went on a 6-0 run to keep Kansas out of striking distance. Smith had a monster quarter, scoring 12 of her 21 points and snagging six of her 12 rebounds. Offensive rebounding remained a point of emphasis in the second, snaring six offensive rebounds to generate eight second chance points. With dominant post players like Smith and Egbo, Baylor has had success in the painted area all season, and their 14 points around the rim in the second quarter were a testament to that. At the halftime buzzer, Baylor was running away with it, 42-20.
The Lady Bears showed off their explosive scoring capabilities once again in the third, going on a monster 20-2 run over five minutes of play. A number of Baylor players made contributions in that blistering tear, showing just how versatile the team can be. The bench was also big for Baylor in the third, putting up 16 points. The reserve unit not only scored at a high rate, they also did it with efficiency. The Lady Bears shot over 60% from the field in the third, a far cry from Kansas’ 38% mark. A large part of Baylor’s clean offensive game involves keeping turnovers to a minimum, which they did in the third, giving the ball up only three times. Heading to the fourth, Baylor was on top 76-37.
Baylor turned almost completely to the bench group in the fourth, and was rewarded for doing so. Carrington put eight points on the board in the fourth and Bickle had seven. Playing with a different group on the floor helps deepen Baylor’s rotation come tournament time, and as Carrington’s hot shooting against the Jayhawks showed, the Lady Bear second unit is not one to be taken lightly. A monster effort from the bench helped Baylor seal the deal in a 93-67 win.
The Lady Bears will be back on the court on Monday to finish up the regular season with a home game against West Virginia. That game is slated for 7:00 p.m. on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.