Waco, TX—The team bus for No. 18 Oklahoma (19-3, 8-2 Big 12) did not pul into the Ferrell Center parking lot until 7:15 p.m. The game against the No. 9 Baylor Bears (15-5, 5-3 Big 12) was originally scheduled to tip at 7 p.m.
Thirty minutes later the top 20 matchup finally got underway and immediately Baylor took control seeking their sixth straight Big 12 win and revenue for an earlier six-point loss in Norman.
Oklahoma, in addition to their travel woes, got down early and they trailed late and only shot 20 percent from beyond the arc. The Big 12’s career leader in made three-point field goals, Taylor Robertson (14 points, seven boards), only went 2-of-9 from deep. The Sooners found a way to respond to all of it and prevail 78-77 to stay tied for first place in the league standings.
Madi Williams—who had a team high 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists— put her head down as she dribbled across the lane and as she was double teamed by Queen Egbo and NaLyssa Smith was able to pass it to a wide open Liz Scott for the go-ahead layup to make it 78-77 with six seconds remaining.
Coach Nicki Collen called a timeout for Baylor to advance the ball, but point guard Jordan Smith was unable to finish at the rim on her drive to the hoop at the buzzer. After recording the program’s seventh ever triple double in her last game, Lewis only finished with five points on 1-of-4 shooting.
Oklahoma’s Scott, who finished with 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting, had her second straight game-winning layup to defeat the No. 9 team in the country. The back-to-back victories gives the Sooners consecutive top 10 wins for the first time since 2010 and consecutive wins over the Bears for the first time since 2009, which was also the last time they won the Big 12 title.
Baylor led by six, 74-68, and had possession with just over three and a half minutes to play when Sarah Andrews took a quick three just two seconds into the shot clock. Andrews had a game high 23 points and six assists and it was too close to try to milk the clock completely, but it was a missed opportunity for Baylor to try and get something better. And Andrews compounded the miss with a foul that gave Kellie Washington two free throws to cut into the lead. All in a 14 second span.
The Bears got the lead back to six when Smith (19 points and 12 rebounds) made a layup with three minutes to play to make it 76-70. But Williams quickly answered; Baylor missed a few more rushed jumpers and suddenly it was a tied game.
Egbo, who only had two points and no made field goals, made one of two free throws to put Baylor up 77-76 before Scott made the game winner.
In the beginning, it looked as if Baylor would run away from a team that literally arrived minutes beforehand in street clothes. The Sooners were not in the proper mental state to play right away and the Bears built a 12-point advantage. Ja’Mee Asberry (15 points) and Caitlin Bickle (11 points) each had six first quarter points and did the most of their damage in the first half.
Yet, the Sooners used a 20-8 run to end the first half tied at 38 and held Baylor without a made bucket for the final 6:27. Then Oklahoma used an 8-1 run over the final three minutes to win the game.
They did the same in Norman when Baylor had a 75-71 lead with about four minutes left and the Sooners used a 12-2 run to spoil that one for Coach Collen.
It was yet another awful break for the Bears, who now officially no longer control their own destiny to win the Big 12 title.
It will be a quick turnaround for the Bears, who have a weekend series with No. 13 Texas—Friday in Waco and Sunday in Austin—before hosting No. 25 Kansas State next Wednesday. But curious minds will want to know if losing such a heartbreaker at the start of this make or break stretch will be too much to overcome.
Thought they control their own destiny, Oklahoma does not have a clear path to win the league either as they are tied with Iowa State currently and still must travel to both Austin and Ames.