No. 24 Baylor women’s basketball tops Kansas 69-61 for second-straight win

Graduate student forward Dre'Una Edwards (44) notched 20 points for the 16th time in her career on Wednesday. Mesha Mittanasala

By Zach Babajanof-Rustrian | Sports Writer

No. 24 Baylor’s women’s basketball secured its second win in a row by a score of 69-61 over Kansas on Wednesday night in the Foster Pavilion.

The Bears (20-6, 9-6 Big 12) started off rocky as the Jayhawks (15-11, 8-7 Big 12) opened the game with the lead in the first quarter. Baylor was able to end the period with the edge, as it led by a point, 16-15.

In the second quarter, the Bears created some separation. They went on a 10-0 run over nearly five minutes and were able to extend their lead to 35-26 heading into halftime.

In the third quarter, the Bears kept the advantage. However, sophomore forward Bella Fontleroy took a hard fall, forcing her to leave the game.

“She fell on her back, shocker,” head coach Nicki Collen said. “She got hurt taking a charge or trying to take the charge. We think she’s going to be pretty sore tomorrow, but certainly will be day-to-day at this point.”

Even though Fontleroy left in the middle of the third quarter, Baylor was able to end the frame with the lead, 54-45.

In the fourth quarter, Baylor put a bow on it and came out with its second-straight win for the first time since it started the year 14-0.

The Bears’ bench outscored the Jayhawks’ bench 35-0 on the night. This was in part by graduate student forward Dre’Una Edwards (20), senior guard Jana Van Gytenbeek (11) and junior guard Yaya Felder’s (4) offensive contributions.

“I think our bench has been good all season. You know Bella has been good off the bench when it’s been her. Yaya has had huge games for us,” Collen said. “I just think you’re starting to see Jana grow up a little bit. It’s not like she’s young, but just her confidence is exploding right now, which is really … important for us.”

In addition to her being the highest scoring player for the Bears, Edwards, a former starter, said she’s happy to contribute in any way she can.

“I’ve been on the bench before when I was at Kentucky. Coming back from a suspension, I was on the bench for the rest of the season,” Edwards said. “I know I just have to go out there. We’re fighting whenever my team is ready for me to go out there. Whenever the coaches are ready to call on me, … [I] have to go out and do what I do.”

Not only was Edwards happy with her performance, but Van Gytenbeek expanded on how her confidence is growing.

“I can say about myself that I’m consistent. I stay consistent all of this season and just kind of wait [my] turn, and Nicki gave me an opportunity,” Van Gytenbeek said. “So I just wanted to work as hard as I could to do that.

“It’s also very easy to be successful when you’re surrounded by people like Dre, Sarah [Andrews], [Darianna Littlepage-] Buggs. They’re going to work just as hard as me and get open.”

The Bears will now turn their attention to the No. 22 West Virginia Mountaineers. In their last encounter on Feb. 10, the Bears pulled out the 65-58 win in Waco.

“Going to West Virginia isn’t easy. They played well at home all year,” Collen said. “You know they’re a team because we just played them. It’s an easier turnaround in terms of scouting, but certainly not an easier team to play against because of the quality of their guards, the way they turn you over.”

The Bears will play the Mountaineers at 1 p.m. on Saturday in Morgantown, W.Va.