WACO, Texas (AP) — NaLyssa Smith saw the alley oop with Moon Ursin coming when maybe nobody else did.
The nifty play was part of a 21-point showing for Smith and sent the No. 7 Baylor women on their way to a dominant second half in a 91-45 victory over Texas Tech in their first Big 12 home game Monday night.
The Lady Bears (4-1, 2-0 Big 12) were up 18 in the third quarter when Smith and Ursin ran toward a loose ball in the backcourt with a Texas Tech player between them. Ursin won the race, tossed the ball toward the basket blindly as she turned and Smith hit the layup as she was fouled.
Smith, who was 9 of 10 on free throws from the while going 6 of 9 from the field, made the free throw for a 51-30 lead.
“Moon knows that nine out of 10, I probably want the lob. It’s easier to catch,” said Smith, who led a dominant rebounding night with nine boards. “When we were coming down the floor, I kind of like looked at her and then she looked at me and we knew it was coming.”
DiJonai Carrington scored 13 points to lead a 42-4 advantage in bench scoring as Baylor broke a 47-47 tie in the series with its 23rd consecutive victory over the Lady Raiders (3-2, 0-1). The Lady Bears are 40-8 against Texas Tech under coach Kim Mulkey.
Baylor has held both Big 12 opponents to 45 points coming off an 83-78 loss to No. 12 Arkansas. The Lady Bears held a 55-22 rebounding edge, with five players getting at least seven boards. It was the same lopsided story on shooting, with Baylor at a season-high 55% to 28% for Texas Tech.
“I think that our team and I’ve told this to the team, defense and rebounding are staples for us right now,” Mulkey said. “And they have to be until we gain confidence on the offensive end.”
Vivian Gray was the only Texas Tech player in double figures with 18 points. The senior transfer from Oklahoma State was 6 of 15 from the field and 5 of 7 from the line.
“I feel like we took ourselves out of it,” said Texas Tech coach Krista Gerlich, in her first season at her alma mater. “We didn’t execute our game plan like wanted to. I don’t think we trusted it very much. At the same time, Baylor takes away things.”
Trinity Oliver and Hannah Gusters scored 10 points apiece for Baylor. Gusters had three blocked shots.
Smith scored five straight points on an 11-1 run as a 29-17 ballooned to 40-18 late in the second quarter.
The game was already out of reach when the Lady Bears scored the first 16 points of the fourth quarter for an 80-36 lead. Baylor outscored Texas Tech 27-9 in the final quarter.
Texas Tech: It’s a little early in Gerlich’s tenure for a game against the perennial Big 12 champion to be a gauge of where the Lady Raiders are. Gerlich also got a late start with her hiring in August after predecessor Marlene Stollings was fired following a newspaper report detailing allegations of abuse in the program.
Baylor: The Lady Bears have led the country in field goal percentage defense four consecutive years and could be on their way to doing it again. Opponents are shooting under 30% for the season, and even Arkansas wasn’t great from the field. Arkansas won by going 30 of 39 on free throws.
DiDi Richards had six points, four assists and three rebounds in her home debut. The senior guard missed the only other home game after getting hurt Oct. 24 in a mid-air collision with Ursin during a practice scrimmage. Richards briefly lost feeling below her knees, but came back quicker than expected. This was her fourth game.
Jordyn OIiver, who scored eight points, led Baylor with eight assists and was one of three players with seven rebounds. The others were Queen Egbo and Ursin, who had four assists. Caitlin Bickle had eight rebounds and three assists while scoring five points.
Texas Tech: The Big 12 home opener against TCU is scheduled for Saturday.
Baylor: The Lady Bears are scheduled to play Southern in the first of three straight nonconference home games Wednesday.
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