No. 5 WBB overcomes turnovers to beat OSU

Sophomore guard Sarah Andrews drives toward the basket against Oklahoma State, finishing the game with 17 points and four assists on Feb. 23 at the Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Okla. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Marquis Cooley | Sports Editor

No. 5 Baylor women’s basketball grinded out a 65-58 victory against Oklahoma State University Wednesday night at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Okla. The Bears struggled to take care of the ball as six different players coughed the ball up three times, allowing OSU to keep the game close with 26 points off of Baylor’s 19 turnovers.

“We had just so many turnovers in transition where we had numbers or simple plays,” head coach Nicki Collen said. “We just needed to make simple plays, and we tried to make home-run plays. And I’ll tell you one thing about Oklahoma State, they keep pursuing. They don’t quit playing in transition, so they did a good job, even when we had numbers, of filling in from behind and never giving up on plays.”

The Bears (22-5, 12-3 Big 12) were able to pull one out behind senior forward NaLyssa Smith’s double-double, as she finished with 19 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks. Despite a rough start, senior center Queen Egbo claimed 13 points, six rebounds, two blocks and two steals, with six of her points coming in the fourth quarter. Sophomore guard Sarah Andrews also hit double-figures, chipping in 17 points and four assists, hitting big shots to hold off OSU (8-16, 3-12 Big 12) whenever they got close.

“I thought Sarah hit big shots,” Collen said. “It’s not the first time this season that she’s made shots for us in the fourth quarter.”

Baylor got off to a cold start, finding itself in an early 7-0 hole. However, the energy of junior guard Jaden Owens and senior forward Caitlin Bickle woke the Bears up as they went on an 8-0 run to end the first, capped off by an Andrews layup to take a 12-11 lead.

Smith got it going in the second, scoring 10 of Baylor’s 22 points in the period to help them take a 34-25 halftime lead. Despite the lead, Collen said she gave a heated halftime speech, as she was unhappy with their lackluster effort in a game they knew they should win.

“I told them that I felt like we were more concerned about having a snow day and having a snow party than winning a basketball game,” Collen said. “Sometimes you say things, you’re trying to be emphatic and at the same time they’re trying not to laugh because I’m bringing up a snow party in the locker room. So, I told them after the game we can now have that snow party, complete with pizzas and things like that.”

The speech seemed to get the job done, as Baylor responded to a 13-2 OSU run that trimmed the deficit to one with its own 7-0 run, thanks to a pair of triples from Andrews to make it 51-43. Andrews and Egbo then hit big shots in the fourth to stave off the Cowgirls’ comeback attempt to seal the 65-58 win.

Next up on the schedule for Baylor is a date with the University of Kansas (19-6, 10-5 Big 12) at 2 p.m. on Saturday in the Ferrell Center. It will be the first game in a Baylor basketball doubleheader, as ESPN College Gameday will be in town for the men’s game against the Jayhawks at 7 p.m.