Smith, Lady Bears blowout Cowgirls

DJ Ramirez | Sports Editor

What do you do after defeating the No. 1 team in the nation? You come home and steamroll your next opponent.

The No. 6 Baylor women’s basketball team put up 94-48 victory over Oklahoma State Sunday at the Ferrell Center behind a career-leading double-double performance from sophomore forward NaLyssa Smith.

With 30 points and 15 rebounds, the Converse, Texas native went 12-20 from the field, 6-9 from the free throw line and notched her 300th career rebound. Smith finished the day with 307 career boards, as she had 292 prior to the game.

Head coach Kim Mulkey said that she’s seen Smith grow in everything she does as a player.

“It’s coaching her every day both ends of the floor to become an All-American,” Mulkey said. “Don’t get frustrated if they’re banging on you. Don’t get frustrated if you miss shots. Just keep an even level. Just keep an even keel, and I think you’re watching it happen before your very eyes.”

In possibly her best game since returning from injury, senior forward Lauren Cox also posted a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Graduate transfer Te’a Cooper netted 16 points, 10 of which came in the first half and sophomore center Queen Egbo also put up 15 boards off the bench for a strong defensive presence with 12 rebounds on the defensive side.

Mulkey said it was important to get a solid rebounding performance in Baylor’s first game back at the Ferrell Center after the win over UConn on Thursday.

“Natasha Mack is one of the better offensive rebounders in the league,” Mulkey said. “I told them over and over, Cox is going to do her job. Everybody else crash the boards and help us keep them off the boards. And, I just thought we swarmed the ball better, and consequently we outrebounded them forty and it was an emphasis when we got back.”

Even though Oklahoma State had the second-best rebounder in the nation in junior forward Natasha Mack, the Lady Bears were more dominant off the glass, outrebounding the Cowgirls 61-21 and holding Mack to just two defensive boards. Baylor netted 21 second chance points and was strong in the paint with 46 points compared to OSU’s five second chance points and eight in the paint.

Oklahoma State had eight turnovers to Baylor’s 11, but according to Cowgirls head coach Jim Littell, the stats can be misleading.

“It isn’t always about turnovers,” Littell said. “It’s about quality possessions and their possessions were a lot more quality than ours. When you come down and you take a bad shot, that’s the same as a turnover. So that stat, the eight turnovers is very misleading.”

The Lady Bears had three double digit runs, including a 14-0 run in the first quarter which led to a 43-24 score at the end the first half. However, the end of the second quarter was a bit frustrating for Baylor as OSU drew two fouls to convert four free throw shots into points before intermission.

The Lady Bears came back in the second half with field goal percentages of 52.6 and 68.8 in the third and fourth quarters respectively and held the Cowgirls to a 16.7 percentage in the fourth.

After grabbing their nation-leading 47th straight home win, the Lady Bears travel to face Kansas in search of their 44th straight regular-season Big 12 victory on Wednesday before returning Saturday for another home matchup against West Virginia.

Source: The Baylor Lariat