WACO, Texas (AP) — NaLyssa Smith and No. 6 Baylor followed up that streak-busting win at top-ranked UConn with another big victory at home.
Smith had 30 points and 15 rebounds, both career highs, and the Lady Bears beat Oklahoma State 94-48 in their Big 12 home opener Sunday. That extended what is now the nation’s longest home winning streak to 47 games only three days after they ended UConn’s 98 in a row.
“I felt good in the fourth quarter (at UConn), so I knew I had to be consistent,” said Smith, the sophomore post who had 20 points and 12 rebounds against UConn, where Baylor had a late 15-0 run. “So I knew coming into this game I had to have the same mentality.”
Lauren Cox also had a double-double for Baylor — 14 points and 10 rebounds — and Te’a Cooper had 16 points while going 4-of-5 on 3-pointers. Queen Egbo had 15 rebounds for the Lady Bears, who finished with a 61-21 advantage on the boards.
Baylor (13-1, 2-0 Big 12) took control with a 14-0 run over a five-minute span in the first quarter — when Oklahoma State missed 11 shots in a row. Smith scored six points and Cooper had a pair of fast-break layups on assists from Cox after the 6-foot-4 preseason All-America post grabbed defensive rebounds and quickly pushed the ball ahead.
“You saw that pass she threw me,” Cooper said with a smile.
“Does she not throw it like Bill Walton,” coach Kim Mulkey said. “Think of the last player that you ever saw that can take a rebound like that … and it just be a line drive to the other end.”
Vivian Gray and Natasha Mack both had 15 points for Oklahoma State (10-5, 1-2). Mack, who entered the game as the Big 12’s top rebounder and second nationally with 13.6 per game, had only two for the Cowgirls after getting three fouls in the first quarter.
“We became very vulnerable in a hurry,” Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell said.
The Lady Bears had three more runs of at least 10-0, giving them 28 such spurts this season. In an 11-0 run in the second quarter, Juicy Landrum hit a 3-pointer before Smith scored eight consecutive points in less than two minutes for a 42-15 lead.
“I saw her during the summer in AAU competition, I thought she was the best player in the country,” Littell said of Smith. “And Baylor develops their kids and they go to a different level as they learn in the system. And that’s what she’s done.”
Oklahoma State: Gray certainly was a focus of the Baylor defense and had another tough day shooting, going 5 of 20 from the field. Gray was averaging 20.1 points a game. She had 22 points in a loss at Oklahoma, going 7 of 26 from the field in that game. She has scored in double figures in 40 consecutive games but saw the end of her streak of five consecutive 20-point games.
Baylor: The Lady Bears, who have won the last nine Big 12 regular-season titles, have a 43-game winning streak in regular-season conference games. … Mulkey got her 589th career win in her 20th season at Baylor. … Their 74-58 win in Hartford, Connecticut, was UConn’s worst home loss in 14 years.
The Lady Bears will certainly move up Monday in the new poll. It will be interesting to see how things all shake out since No. 2 Oregon also lost this week. No. 3 Oregon State then suffered its first loss of the season Sunday, before No. 4 South Carolina won its game.
Oklahoma State is on the road again Wednesday night at Kansas State.
Baylor plays two of its next three games on the road, starting at Kansas on Wednesday night.
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