No. 21 Baylor women’s basketball to face quick No. 23 Oklahoma squad in Norman

Junior guard Jada Walker (11) tries to blow past her defender during then-No. 18 Baylor women's basketball's conference contest against then-No. 22 West Virginia on Saturday in the Foster Pavilion. Kassidy Tsikitas | Photo Editor

By Michael Haag | Sports Editor

Win, loss, win, loss …

Those are the results No. 21 Baylor women’s basketball has been getting since its home win over UCF on Jan. 20. After a seven-point win over then-No. 22 West Virginia on Saturday, the Bears (18-5, 7-5 Big 12) have a shot at winning two-straight games for the first time since they opened the year 14-0.

Sophomore forward Bella Fontleroy said it would be “huge” to get back to a winning streak, but a test at No. 23 Oklahoma at 6 p.m. on Wednesday will be a challenge.

“They are a very different team than they have been the past couple of years, graduating some of their fifth-year seniors and whatnot,” Fontleroy said. “But they still are tough. They always play tough.

“I remember the week before we played them, [Coach] Nicki’s like, ‘OK, we’re doing toughness drills all week, so we just have to go in and carry this momentum with us and be OK playing through mistakes. They’re going to come at us the same way that West Virginia just did.’”

Saturday’s win marked Baylor’s fifth top-25 victory of the season, and Wednesday will be the Bears’ eighth meeting with a ranked foe. Baylor is 5-2 against teams in the top 25 this season.

Sophomore forward Darianna Littlepage-Buggs is coming off a week in which she averaged a double-double (15 points, 11 rebounds per game). Her outings came in a 12-point loss at BYU before getting back in the win column against the Mountaineers.

Head coach Nicki Collen said she noticed little things in the last two games, like keying in on the opposing team’s best scorers, but she expects her group to build off of its success against West Virginia.

“I think it’s always easier to go back to work after a win,” Collen said. “So that’s the goal: to go back to work and to say maybe we play our best basketball against our best opponents.”

Fontleroy added that the team felt like it got its swagger back over the weekend.

“We all had to come together and just figure out the little things that we need to do for each other so that we can be better and more focused on the court together,” Fontleroy said. “We all have smiles on our faces.”

The Bears hold a slight 34-28 advantage in the all-time series with the Sooners (17-6, 11-1 Big 12). Baylor is 16-12 when playing in Norman, Okla. The two programs split the series last season, with both teams securing road victories.

Collen said she expects an up-tempo Sooners team. Oklahoma has won three of the last five meetings, which broke a 12-game winning streak by the Bears during the 2021-22 season.

“It’s kind of opposite of West Virginia,” Collen said of the Sooners. “They’re going to take the first good shot. … They play with great pace. I think they mix man and zone, but they’ve been more of a man team this year, so that’s similar to last year. I anticipate we’ll probably see some zone though; we usually do.”

Baylor (19.6) and Oklahoma (20.4) rank first and second, respectively, among Big 12 teams in assists per game.

The Bears and Sooners will square off at 6 p.m. on Wednesday in the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla. The game will be streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.

Michael Haag is a third year Journalism student from Floresville, a small town about 30 miles south of San Antonio. Haag is entering his third year at the Lariat and is hoping to continue developing his sports reporting skill set. After graduation, he plans to work on a Master’s degree in Journalism in order to one day teach at the college level. He does, however, plan on becoming a sports reporter for a publication after grad school.