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Bears Falter Late in Norman

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No. 23 Oklahoma holds No. 14 Baylor without a field goal for final 4:30 and ends the game on a 12-2 run.

Norman, OK— No. 23 Oklahoma (14-2, 3-1 Big 12) made 14 three-pointers, forced 18 turnovers and held No. 14 Baylor (10-4, 0-2 Big 12) without a field goal for the final 4:30 of the game to comeback and win 83-77.

The Bears started fast as they opened the game with a 10-0 run with all their points being scored by post players NaLyssa Smith and Queen Egbo. However, the Sooners battled back with hot three-point shooting as Skylar Vann came off the bench to nail two triples, one with under a minute to play in the quarter.

Vann finished with a team high 22 points as the Sooner bench outscored Baylor’s bench 33-11 (Nevaeh Tot and Caitlin Bickle had 11 for Oklahoma and Baylor respectively).

Taylor Robertson (15 points) hit a three—one of her five three-pointers on a perfect shooting night—to open the second quarter to draw the Sooners within two before Vann tied the game at 21. Four different Bears scored during a 10-0 run and kept looking dynamic as they added on and then Jordan Lewis hit a three to make it 41-32. It was Baylor’s only made three of the first half as the Bears shot 65.4 percent from the field.

Smith scored nine points in each quarter, but it was end of quarter defense that allowed the Sooners to again chip away at the margin. Vann made two free throws with 30 seconds left and then a Sarah Andrews turnover allowed Vann to hit a layup at the buzzer to bring it to five.

The teams traded three-point jumpers after halftime with Lewis and Ja’Mee Asberry (who crossed the 1,000 point mark in her career) hit triples with Kellie Washington sandwiching a three in between. Lewis had seven points, 11 rebounds and five assists but also have five turnovers for the Bears.

Every time Oklahoma inched closer, Baylor had an answer to re-extend the lead to keep a seven or eight point advantage.

For example, when Madi Williams (18 points) made a three to make it a 59-57 game, Smith was able to respond with not one but two AND 1 finishes. It was part of a 30 point performance for Smith that tied a career high and was the second this season—both of which ended in defeat.

The Sooners snatched that momentum right back as Kennedy Tucker drained a three right before the horn. Oklahoma finished 14-of-27 from three-point land, and the Sooners scored 10 points combined with under a minute to go in the first three quarters.

Coach Nicki Collen said “our end of quarter defense really let us down” and that she was “really disappointed for my team.”

The final quarter was back and forth with the Bears treading water to stay ahead and built a 75-71 lead on Egbo’s layup with 4:30 left. Egbo recorded a double double with 16 points and 10 rebounds and stayed out of foul trouble, however, she missed the ensuing free throw which was the beginning of the end for the Bears. Baylor would turn it over four times and not make another basket and the Sooners would finish on a 12-2 run.

Smith was disgruntled and quiet during the post game interview but said that the team “felt good” to be playing and they were not going to make excuses about being fatigued down the stretch due to their recent Covid pause. In Smith’s opinion, the team got “complacent down the stretch.”

It is the first time that Baylor, who is now in last place in the league, has lost their first two Big 12 conference games of a season since 2000, when they lost their first 11 and Sonja Hogg was the head coach.

The Bears have been on a Covid hiatus, last playing on January 2 and had to cancel two home games against TCU and Texas. Baylor has now lost three of their last four games, which have been on the road to opponents who are now all ranked in the top 25.