By Marquis Cooley | Sports Editor, Video by Joe Pratt | Broadcast Reporter
No. 10 Baylor women’s basketball made it look easy Wednesday night, scoring a season-high 95 points to beat Kansas State University by 45 in the Ferrell Center. The 95-50 win was a team effort, as four different Bears scored in double figures.
“It’s easy when you share the basketball like we did,” head coach Nicki Collen said. “When you have 30 assists, it means your team’s being unselfish, they’re making an extra pass.”
The Bears (18-5, 8-3 Big 12) shared the ball all night, assisting on 30 of their 35 made shots. They also managed to pick apart KSU’s 2-3 zone defense, connecting on 11-of-19 3-point attempts, with sophomore guard Sarah Andrews (5-of-7) and graduate guard Jordan Lewis (5-of-6) each knocking down five. The crisp ball movement allowed Baylor to tie a season-best 57.4% field goal percentage. Collen said no team should be able play a zone against them because all of the guards are dangerous from beyond the arc.
“I don’t think anyone should be able to zone this team. I’ve said that from the beginning,” Collen said. “Our three starting guards can all make five 3s in the same game. Like they are all great 3-point shooters, great percentage shooters.”
Lewis did more than just hit 3-pointers. She finished with 24 points on 7-of-12 shooting, while also dishing out seven assists to go along with four rebounds, two blocks and two steals. Collen said this type of performance is exactly who Lewis is.
“She [Lewis] struggled in the Oklahoma and Texas games,” Collen said. “She did some key things at different points in those games, but this was Iowa State Jordan. This was, ‘I’m aggressive off the bounce. I’m looking for my shot. I’m ready to catch and shoot it when I get it.’ … This was Jordan. This is what Jordan can be, pretty much night in and night out.”
Other big performances came from Andrews who finished with 19 points (7-for-11), seven assists and four rebounds, as well as from senior forward NaLyssa Smith and center Queen Egbo. Smith had 22 points (9-for-12) and seven rebounds, while Egbo put together a monster double-double of 19 points (8-for-14) and 16 rebounds. Collen said the chemistry of the duo of Smith and Queen on the floor is important for their success.
“I tell those guys all the time, when they want the basketball, the easiest way to get it is to share it to one another,” Collen said. “They need to be each other’s best friends. Good high-low combinations are special in basketball and so the better they are at that, the better we’ll be … we’re probably at our best statistically when the two of them are on the floor together. So because of that, we need them to play well together.”
On the defensive side of the floor, Baylor held the Big 12 leading scorer, junior center Ayoka Lee, who scored an NCAA-record 61 points earlier this year in a win over the University of Oklahoma, to a season-low eight points and six rebounds. In their 68-59 loss to KSU on Jan 2., the Bears allowed Lee to score 32 points, but Egbo said that was because Lee hadn’t gotten to see the real her.
“I take defensive real serious,” Egbo said. “I felt like the first time around, she [Lee] didn’t really get a good taste of me.”
Smith got it going in the first quarter, shooting 4-of-5 with her only miss coming on a turnaround 3-point jumper at the buzzer. Smith finished the period with eight points to help the Bears take an 18-14 lead.
The Bears opened the second quarter with a 7-0 run to force a KSU timeout with the score at 25-14. A 9-0 run later in the period, capped off by consecutive 3s from Andrews and Lewis, got the Ferrell Center crowd on their feet as Baylor widened the gap to 39-21, causing another timeout before finishing the half up 46-27.
At the half, Andrews and Lewis led the Bears in scoring with 13 points each. Lewis also dished out seven assists to go along with two blocks and a steal.
Baylor came out of the break blazing, outscoring KSU 32-11 to take a 40-point, 78-38, lead heading into the fourth quarter and from then on, maintained their lead to win 95-50.
The Bears will be back to host West Virginia University (11-10, 4-7 Big 12) at 5 p.m. on Saturday in the Ferrell Center after No. 10 Baylor men’s basketball takes on No. 20 University of Texas at 11 a.m.