By Michael Haag | Sports Editor
Things went from bad to worse for Baylor women’s basketball as it got blasted by Kansas State University 87-68 Wednesday night in the Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kan.
The Wildcats (15-11, 4-9 Big 12) shot a blistering 60% from the field, ushering in the Bears’ (16-9, 7-6 Big 12) third-straight loss. Baylor hasn’t been on a three-game skid in conference play since the 2001-01 season. The Bears lost three-consecutive contests in 2008, but one of those came in the Big 12 tournament.
KSU had its highest scoring output in conference play and became the first Big 12 team to shoot 60% or better against Baylor since the University of Oklahoma on Jan. 15, 2000.
The Wildcats made 9-of-20 from beyond the arc while the Bears shot 8-for-28. KSU also made 20 of its 23 from the charity stripe while Baylor went 6-for-11.
“There are two things that’ll get you beat against Kansas State — them making 3s and them making free throws,” head coach Nicki Collen said. “When you look at the game, that’s where the game was won, the 3-point line.”
Graduate student guard Ja’Mee Asberry came within seven points of her career high as she punched in 21, a season-best. Asberry sank five 3-pointers and fell just one shy of matching her career high in that category. She also logged a career-best six steals on Wednesday.
Freshman forward Darianna Littlepage-Buggs came off the bench and chipped in 16 points as the only other Bear in double figures. Littlepage-Buggs went a team-best 6-for-9 from the free-throw stripe, matching a career high with six-made free throws. She also hauled in a team-high eight rebounds.
Asberry started off the night hot with eight points in the first quarter, highlighted by a pair of 3-pointers. The Bears struggled to slow down KSU’s senior guard Gabby Gregory and the team trailed 20-18. Gregory finished the game with 26 points and 10 rebounds.
Baylor’s offensive production got worse in the second quarter, and its defense gave up more points than in the first. Outside of Asberry, the Bears shot poorly from 3-point range. Asberry accounted for three of Baylor’s four made 3-pointers. Collectively, the group only made 4-of-17 shots from deep in the first half. Asberry was the lone player in double figures at the break with 11 points.
Baylor scored its most points of the game in the third quarter (19), and it came in the form of a group effort. Seven of the Bears’ nine players who saw the floor in the ten-minute period scored at least two points. The Wildcats started to pull away at the 6:45 mark when they extended their lead to 50-37.
“We had defensive breakdowns from the arc,” Collen said. “Gregory is a mismatch for us; [Serena] Sundell, when she wants to go in the low post, is a mismatch for us. And so we have to show help-side (defense). We just didn’t do a good job covering up the 3-point line. It was 3s in the first half (that beat us), paint points in the second half.”
Baylor never cut its deficit to less than 12 points from that point on, and Kansas State cruised to the 87-68 victory. Asberry had another eight-point quarter in the fourth, but it was to no avail. Asberry connected on five of the Bears’ eight made 3-pointers for the game.
Baylor will now host No. 22 Iowa State University at 5 p.m. on Saturday in the Ferrell Center. With Wednesday’s loss, the Bears fell to sixth place in the Big 12 standings.
“I don’t make excuses,” Collen said. “We have enough to get it done with what we’ve got. But collectively, we all have to be a little bit better. We don’t expect our freshmen to be perfect. But we need our upper-class kids to all be just a little bit better and defend a little better. Then, we’ll be capable of beating anyone.”