No. 5 Baylor women win 8th in a row, 85-77 over Kansas
Feb 26, 2022, 12:22 AM | Updated: 3:42 pm
(AP Photo/Rod Aydelotte)
WACO, Texas (AP) — NaLyssa Smith and No. 5 Baylor have set themselves up for the chance to win yet another Big 12 title, an impressive recovery after losing their first two conference games under new coach Nicki Collen.
Smith scored a career-high 33 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, and fifth-ranked Baylor remained tied for the Big 12 lead with an 85-77 victory over Kansas on Saturday.
“It feels great, honestly, especially just being here. I’ve already won three (Big 12 titles), so I don’t want to be that one team not to get the fourth one,” said Smith, a senior forward and potentially the No. 1 overall pick in the WNBA draft later this spring. “I’m super excited to play for another championship here.”
Smith only had one assist, but that came on Ja’Mee Asberry’s 3-pointer midway through the third quarter that finally put Baylor ahead to stay.
It was Smith’s 19th double-double this season. Asberry finished with 19 points while Queen Egbo had 14 points and nine rebounds.
With two conference games remaining, the Bears (23-5, 13-3) can guarantee at least a share of their 12th consecutive Big 12 title with a win at No. 9 Iowa State (24-4, 13-3) on Monday night.
“We’ve put ourselves back into a position where we have we have a chance to face off with Iowa State,” Collen said. “When the season started, I think most people had us 1-2 in their polls, and here we are, we’re sitting there tied.”
The Bears have won eight in a row and 13 of 14 since that 0-2 start in conference play. The only loss in that stretch was when Oklahoma scored in the final second.
“They’re playing really well, I’m not so sure that they’re not playing as good as anybody in the country,” Kansas coach Brandon Schneider said.
Ioanna Chatzileonti scored 21 points and Zakiyah Franklin had 17 for Kansas (19-7, 10-6), which had won seven in a row before consecutive losses this week to the Big 12 co-leaders. The Jayhawks lost 85-59 at home to Iowa State on Wednesday night.
“To beat a team that’s that good, you’ve got to really be clicking and put it together,” Schneider said. “And I thought we were we were good, but we weren’t good enough. Just have to find a night where we can put it all together.”
Chandler Prater added 13 points for Kansas, and Julie Brosseau finished with 11.
Smith’s lone assist came after an offensive rebound. Asberry’s go-ahead 3-pointer with 5:31 left in the third made it 46-45 for the 10th and final lead change of the game.
The Bears got a steal when Caitlin Bickle took the ball away from Brosseau and passed ahead to the breaking Asberry, who made the layup when being fouled hard and added the free throw. Bickle added a three-point play of her own less than a minute later.
“Momentum. I feel like and-ones give you so much momentum,” Smith said. “Just seeing everybody get hyped, get energy from and-ones, it just motivates you to go harder.”
Kansas: Despite the the two losses this week, the Jayhawks are having an impressive season. Their 19 wins are the most since 2013-14, and the 12-win improvement over last season is already a school record. … Kansas was undone by turnovers before halftime, with 11 turnovers that led to 16 Baylor points. The Jayhawks had only our turnovers after the break.
Baylor: The Bears have won 17 in a row over Kansas, including an 82-79 win in Lawrence on Jan. 16 that was Collen’s first Big 12 win. They avoided 0-3 with a 7-0 run in the game’s last 24 seconds.
MORE THAN ANYONE
Jordan Lewis had six points and eight assists in her 158th career game, breaking a tie with UConn’s Kalana Green (2005-10) for the most in NCAA history. Lewis, a graduate transfer taking advantage of the extra season of eligibility every player got because of COVID-19, has played 28 of those games with Baylor after 130 for Alabama.
Kansas: Plays its third consecutive Top 25 opponent, hosting No. 11 Texas on Wednesday night.
Baylor: The Lady Bears won the first meeting against Iowa State 87-61 at home on Jan. 23.
More AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
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