No. 21 Baylor women’s basketball stumbles again in 84-73 loss to No. 23 Oklahoma

Senior guard Sarah Andrews (24) has scored in double figures 16 times this season. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Michael Haag | Sports Editor

No. 21 Baylor women’s basketball’s win-loss seesaw is back on the decline.

Despite cutting their deficit to four points with 4:47 left in the game, the Bears fell to No. 23 Oklahoma 84-73 Wednesday night in the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla.

Baylor (18-6, 7-6 Big 12) turned the ball over three-straight times after making it a 72-68 ballgame, as the Sooners’ (18-6, 12-1 Big 12) extended their lead to 10 points and ran away with their ninth straight victory. Oklahoma has won 12 of its last 13 games.

“Disappointed with the outcome today,” Bears head coach Nicki Collen said on ESPN 1660 Central Texas radio. “I thought this was a very winnable game for us — a really good road opportunity against a top 25 opponent. I saw some amazing growth from our bench, and hopefully that challenges our starters to be better and be consistent from the beginning, not when you want to.”

Baylor is still looking to win two straight games, as the Bears have lost six of their last 10 games since opening the year 14-0. Baylor now sits in seventh place in the Big 12 Conference standings with five regular season games remaining.

With the win, the Sooners hold a two-game lead over No. 5 Texas, No. 24 West Virginia and No. 7 Kansas State, respectively. Oklahoma is seeking its second straight regular season Big 12 championship.

Three Bears scored in double figures, led by senior guard Sarah Andrews, who had 14. Senior guard Jana Van Gytenbeek totaled a season-high 13 points on 3-for-5 shooting from deep, and she also matched Andrews with a team-leading four assists. Graduate student forward Dre’Una Edwards put up 13 points, five rebounds and four steals.

The Sooners had five athletes reach double figures in scoring, though, and sophomore center Kiersten Johnson amassed a career-high 20 off the bench. Johnson was averaging 5.2 points per game going into Wednesday’s contest, and she had only scored 10 or more points twice this season.

Oklahoma junior guard Payton Verhulst came close to a triple double, as she recorded 16 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and even had five blocks.

The Sooners jumped out to a 13-3 lead, but junior guard Yaya Felder and Edwards combined for nine points to put the Bears back within one point at 13-12. Johnson got loose, though, as she scored Oklahoma’s last 10 points of the first quarter to give her team a 21-19 advantage.

Baylor took a three-point lead following an Edwards 3-pointer, but the Sooners ripped off a 10-2 run to close the first half, lifting them to a 35-29 lead at the break.

The Sooners extended their lead in the third to 64-51 after going 5 for 10 on shots from beyond the arc. The Bears only hit 6 of their 21 shots in the frame.

Baylor’s last basket was a 3-pointer by Van Gytenbeek, as the Bears missed their final three shots of the game. Oklahoma walked away with the 11-point victory in the final regular season meeting with Baylor as Big 12 foes.

The Sooners have won four of the last six meetings since Oklahoma head coach Jennie Baranczyk and Collen took over their respective programs in 2021-22. OU also secured back-to-back wins over the Bears for the fourth time in the last 15 years.

Collen said her team needs to figure out how to be more consistent.

“There’s a simplicity to what we’re trying to do now and how we do it,” Collen said. “When we do it well, we’re really, really good at both ends of the floor. We can’t take nights off, we can’t take quarters off, we can’t take three-minute stretches off.

“It has to be all in, all the time. I think that’s the big thing for this team, is the idea of consistency at both ends of the court.”

Baylor returns home to host Texas Tech for a nationally-televised game on ESPN2. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m. on Sunday in the Foster Pavilion, and fans who arrive early will get to see Baylor retire former Lady Bear standout forward Brittney Griner, who will make her first return to Waco since her playing days.

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.