NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Her team won and probably will be ranked No. 1 this week, but Baylor coach Kim Mulkey seemed more pessimist than optimist after yet another Big 12 Conference road win.
Juicy Landrum scored 21 points, Kalani Brown added 20 and No. 2 Baylor extended its Big 12 winning streak to 30 games, rolling past Oklahoma 74-53 on Sunday.
Chloe Jackson added 10 points and eight assists and Lauren Cox had seven points and 12 rebounds for Baylor (17-1, 7-0 Big 12), which could move into the top spot in the AP Top 25 on Monday, since current No. 1 Notre Dame lost Sunday at North Carolina. Baylor also has won 30 straight road games against Big 12 teams.
Baylor did a lot of things right, perhaps most importantly, winning the rebounding battle 50-32. Mulkey fretted all the turnovers – 17 for Baylor, 25 for Oklahoma – that she thought turned the game into a slog.
“I’m going to try to be as positive as I can, but I’ve got to be honest – I would have turned the TV off watching this game today,” Mulkey said. “That was ugly. … It was hard for me to watch. I send out a ‘thank-you’ to the fans for staying and watching it. It just wasn’t pretty. Both teams are talented but it was a rough game today.”
Oklahoma (5-13, 1-6) has lost six straight games, the worst losing streak for the Sooners in more than two decades. Taylor Robertson scored 21 points for the Sooners, who struggled against Baylor’s size most of the game and posted a season low for points. Oklahoma hasn’t beaten Baylor since Feb. 27, 2015 and has lost eight straight games in the series.
“I thought we battled,” Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said. “It’s hard to win when you give up 23 offensive boards. It’s hard to get offensive rebounds when they’re 6-7, 6-5, 6-3. Some of that is positioning and that’s on us … but part of it is, you’re doing your job and you just can’t contend with that size.”
Baylor didn’t trail after the first 2½ minutes and seized control with a 12-0 run spanning the first and second quarters. It was the 17th time this season the Lady Bears have put together a run of 10-0 or better. This time, it gave them a 28-13 lead and the Sooners trailed by double digits the rest of the game.
The Lady Bears led 38-25 at halftime and pushed their advantage to as many as 21 points in the third quarter and 26 in the fourth quarter.
“Height does matter, particularly what we do offensively, it matters,” Mulkey said. “We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, but you expect that. That’s part of the game, especially on the road. That’s why when you don’t shoot it well, you’d better take care of the basketball, you’d better rebound and you’d better defend.”
Baylor: It doesn’t seem to matter who the Lady Bears are facing or where they’re facing them – they just come out and dominate with their size, speed and skill. Mulkey won’t go there just quite yet, but it seems clear it will take quite an upset to keep Baylor from posting what would be a second straight undefeated Big 12 slate.
Oklahoma: The Sooners are in their worst tailspin since losing eight straight games to close the 1997-98 season — Coale’s second at Oklahoma. Oklahoma’s current run of 19 straight NCAA Tournament berths began two seasons later but doesn’t figure to continue unless something dramatic happens in the next month with a team that starts three freshmen and two sophomores.
With North Carolina’s 78-73 win over No. 1 Notre Dame, Baylor seems poised to take over the top spot in the AP Top 25 for the first time since the final regular-season poll of the 2012-13 campaign.
NO EASY OPTIONS
Baylor’s height — Brown is 6-foot-7 and Cox 6-4 — makes the Lady Bears difficult to break down offensively. Oklahoma players often passed up open looks and struggled to penetrate the lane while dealing with the Lady Bears’ long defensive reach.
“They make you uncertain and they make you kind of jumpy, like you’re not really sure — should I pull up here?” Coale said. “There’s all this length coming at me. I thought Taylor passed up a couple (of shots) on the perimeter, but I can completely understand why. Cox is really, really long.
“With that wingspan coming at you, you kind of second-guess that a little bit. That’s as much the turnovers and the low field-goal percentage is just feeling all of that. Whether it’s real or imagined … that affects your ability to finish or to take the high-percentage shot.”
Baylor: Returns to the Sooner State on Wednesday for a game at Oklahoma State.
Oklahoma: Visits Kansas on Wednesday before playing three of their next four league games at home.