WACO, Texas (AP) — Baylor’s 50th Big 12 victory in a row was the largest ever for the second-ranked Lady Bears.
NaLyssa Smith had 23 points with 10 rebounds in her best game since dealing with a high ankle sprain and Queen Egbo also had another double-double as the Lady Bears stretched their record regular-season conference winning streak with a 97-44 win over Kansas on Wednesday night.
“When we practice and have shootaround, I feel like every day I am seeing a lot of progress,” said Smith, in her third game back since missing two because of the sprained right ankle. “Just coming back to like I know how to play, it feels good.”
The 53-point win by the Lady Bears (20-1, 9-0) was their largest margin of victory in a Big 12 game. The previous high had been a 50-point win over Kansas in 2006.
Te’a Cooper had 15 points and Moon Ursin 11 for Baylor, which has won 13 games in a row overall. Egbo, who got extended minutes when Lauren Cox missed seven games before Big 12 play and then filling in for Smith, finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds for her 10th career double-double.
“I got more experience. I became more comfortable. Every game you play, you get a little more comfortable and you grow a little bit,” Egbo said.
Aniya Thomas had 19 points with four 3-pointers for Kansas (12-9, 1-8). That included her buzzer-beating shot from half court to end the first half after stealing an inbound pass.
The Lady Bears had a 46-17 halftime lead before Smith, who finished 10-of-11 shooting, scored 11 points in a 19-0 run to start the second half.
“The kid was on a roll before she got hurt. She reached that point where she started to get it. Then she gets injured,” coach Kim Mulkey said. “She’s not there yet. She still gimps up and down the floor. She doesn’t think that she does, but she’s like Cox and a lot of the great ones. She can help us.”
Before that 19-0 run, Baylor had scored 18 points in a row in just over four minutes in the first quarter.
“They’re a terrific program. I think they’re better than they were a year ago and could very well be right back in the national championship hunt,” Kansas coach Brandon Schneider said. “Having that type of production off the bench is one of the reasons I do think that. It’s those young players that are more developed and have more experience maybe than they did a year ago.”
Baylor got 41 points from its bench, only three points fewer than the overall total by Kansas.
Kansas: The Jayhawks have a five-game losing streak since a 17-point win over Texas Tech that followed their 90-47 home loss to Baylor. Kansas, which opened the season 11-0, has lost by an average margin of 16 points in its nine conference losses.
Baylor: The Lady Bears haven’t lost a Big 12 game during the regular season since a loss to Texas on Feb. 3, 2017. That was also their last home loss. Their 52-game home winning streak is the nation’s longest active streak.
NO SECOND CHANCES
Baylor had a 53-24 rebounding advantage and outscored Kansas 18-0 in second-chance points. The Jayhawks had only three offensive rebounds.
“That’s one of the ways to win the game. I told the girls, ‘Give them one shot. Give them one shot.’ We’ve emphasized that this year because earlier in the year we weren’t rebounding the ball as well as we could,” Mulkey said. “What’s really impressive is when I have the three bigs on the floors together. It can be a little intimidating to have that size on the floor.”
Kansas is home Saturday to play TCU.
Baylor is at Kansas State on Saturday, starting a stretch of three of its next four games on the road.
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