Austin, TX— In the end, No. 9 Baylor (17-5, 7-3 Big 12) found a way to beat No. 13 Texas (15-6, 5-5 Big 12) 63-55 for the second time in three days. They were led by the best player in America, and a walking ATM, NaLyssa Smith finishing with 28 points on 11-of-18 shooting with 13 rebounds.
Smith finished the weekend series against the Longhorns with a combined 53 points on 70 percent shooting (21-of-30) and 21 rebounds all while playing 72 of the available 80 minutes. She played the last eight minutes of the second game with four fouls and she scored eight straight points for the Bears in a 2:35 stretch to ice the game with a minute and a quarter remaining.
For Smith, it was her 15th double double of the year and 20 of her 28 points came in the second half (10 in each quarter).
It was not a pretty game for either side, as tired legs and boiling emotions were clearly visible throughout the game. However, it is the type of basketball game that shows a team’s character.
Coach Nicki Collen’s squad displayed character in spades and then some. On the road, against not just a top 13 team but their biggest rival, down at half, with a short bench and with their two biggest stars picking up their fourth foul early in the fourth quarter.
Baylor was so exhausted and emotionally spent that they did not make a single first half three and only tallied 18 points on 7-of-26 shooting.
They made their first 10 shots of the third quarter to retake the lead on a three that Caitlin Bickle second guessed before she shot it but capped a Baylor 9-0 run. Jordan Lewis, who did not make a shot on Friday, had nine points and two important back-to-back assists to Smith at the end of the third.
The turning point from a momentum standpoint was when Sarah Andrews drove down the right hand side of the lane and tossed an alley-oop lob to Smith mid-way through the third when they were down seven. The refs called a charge on Andrews and waived off the basket, but reviewed the play and not only reversed the call due to the defender being inside the restricted arc, but also counted the basket and gave the Bears an inbounds play underneath the basket.
Texas would tie the game at 47 immediately in the fourth and got both Baylor stars of Smith (7:57) and Egbo (7:38) to then pick up their fourth fouls. But Texas went 3-of-6 from the free throw line (13-of-22 for the game) and failed to make it more than a one possession game.
It allowed for Ja’Mee Asberry (13 points) to bank in a remarkable three point shot from San Marcos to tie the game at 50. After a Lewis free throw, Smith made four free throws, put a Texas defender in the washing machine spin cycle to free up space to hit a jumper and then a nail in the coffin fast break layup assisted by Egbo’s full court bounce pass with a minute and 10 seconds left to play.
Baylor shot a season high 89.5 percent (17-of-19) at the charity stripe and shot 78.6 percent (11-of-14) from the field in the third quarter. The Bears scored 19 points off of 12 Longhorn turnovers.
It is the first time since 1999 that a team has defeated the same ranked opponent in a three-day span. Vic Schaffer is still winless against Baylor as the head coach for Texas. The Bears have now defeated the Longhorns in 27 of the last 28 games with their only loss coming on this same day in 2017 in Waco.
The Bears are not out of the woods yet as they will have to turn around to host No. 25 Kansas State on Wednesday. They are third in the Big 12 and still looking up at both Oklahoma and Iowa State. Texas will travel to Lubbock on Wednesday to play the Texas Tech Red Raiders.