WACO, Texas (AP) — NaLyssa Smith and Queen Egbo had double-doubles, Jordan Lewis made consecutive 3-pointers to finally put No. 10 Baylor ahead to stay and the Bears beat West Virginia 75-57 on Saturday night.
Smith had 30 points to match her career high and Egbo scored 13, while both had 12 rebounds. It was the 44th career double-double for Smith, and 16th this season, while Egbo has 28 double-doubles at Baylor (19-5, 9-3 Big 12).
There were 11 lead changes in the game, the last when Lewis made a 3 with 8:13 left in the third quarter for a 34-32 lead. The Mountaineers then missed three shots in a row before Lewis, who scored 17 of her 18 points after halftime, hit another 3 on a pass from Smith.
“I feel just like the will to win,” Smith said. “We just started playing better and everybody starts playing collectively, and just want to come out with a win.”
Madisen Smith, a 5-foot-5 point guard, had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Mountaineers (11-11, 4-8), who have lost four of five. She had all four of their made 3-pointers.
“They bothered us with their physicality. We went from a game against Kansas State where it was a very finesse game,” Baylor coach Nicki Collen said. “When you play West Virginia, it’s hand-to-hand combat. … They’re not dirty, they just play hard. They play really physical and they make you uncomfortable.”
The back-to-back 3s by Lewis ignited a 10-1 run that ended with her layup, making it 41-33 with 3 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter. West Virginia then scored three baskets in 37 seconds and got within 41-39 on Kari Niblack’s layup with 2:37 left in the third quarter. Baylor scored the next seven points, including a short baseline fadeaway by Smith.
Sarah Andrews started and finished a game-clinching 13-2 run with inside-the-paint baskets for Baylor in the fourth quarter.
“I told them in there, it’s a shame. We had it, all we had to do was keep close in the fourth quarter. Anything can happen in the fourth quarter,” West Virginia coach Mike Carey said. “I thought at times we were right there, then give up some easy ones.”
West Virginia: The Mountaineers, who shot 32.4% (22 of 68) from the field, are 0-7 this season against Top 25 teams, including an 87-54 home loss to Baylor two weeks ago.
Baylor: The Bears have won four consecutive games and nine of 10 since road losses to Kansas State and Oklahoma. The only loss in that stretch was a home loss to the Sooners. … Baylor was coming off a 45-point win at home over K-State on Wednesday.
BETTER AFTER BREAK
Baylor trailed by as many as six points before taking a 29-28 halftime lead. The Bears made only 5 of 14 free throws before the break.
“A lot of it was, we allowed our missed free throws to affect everything else,” Collen said. “You’re struggling, you miss some shots, and you go to the foul line, where you have a chance to separate. And then you miss all of those.”
The Bears did make 12 of 14 free throws after halftime.
STUCK ON 30
It was Smith’s fifth career 30-point game, and third this season. “Again,” Smith said when asked about matching her career high. Asked about what she need to do get more than 30, she responded, “I don’t know, I’ve got to make a free throw.” Smith made 9 of 11 free throws, and was 10 of 19 on field goals.
Baylor should stay in the Top 10 another week.
West Virginia: At Kansas on Tuesday night.
Baylor: Plays back-to-back games against TCU, at home Wednesday in the makeup of a game postponed because of COVID-19 issues, and then Saturday in Fort Worth.
More AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25