“We just beat what I consider the hottest team in the Big 12 right now,” she said.
Taylor Robertson finished with 11 points for the Sooners, but Baylor’s DiDi Richards hounded her and made it tough for her to get shots off. Robertson, one of the nation’s best 3-point shooters and Oklahoma’s No. 3 scorer for the season with 15.1 points per game, made 4 of 9 field goals in the game and 3 of 7 3-pointers.
“She’s been doing that her whole career at Baylor,” Mulkey said of Richards’ defense. “We know and accept how good Taylor Robertson is. DiDi, bless her heart, she’s the one who gets assigned to the best player on the perimeter and has throughout her career. What you saw from Didi — we see it every day. We see it in practice every day.”
Baylor won both games with the Sooners this season. The Lady Bears won the previous meeting 84-61 at home.
Baylor led 30-20 in the second quarter before Oklahoma went on a 10-0 run to tie the score. The Sooners took the lead on a 3-pointer by Skylar Vann and stretched their advantage to 40-32 before Baylor answered with a 10-0 run. Williams’ jumper from near the free-throw line at the halftime buzzer tied the game at 42.
Williams scored 16 in the first half for Oklahoma and Carrington scored 16 before the break for Baylor. Oklahoma shot 58% in the first half against a Baylor squad that entered the day leading the nation in field goal percentage defense.
Oklahoma caught a break, though. Smith, a 6-foot-2 junior forward, played just five minutes in the first half for Baylor because of foul trouble. She played 19 minutes in the second half and had 12 points and four rebounds while playing dominant defense.
“It helped us tremendously to have a situation where NaLyssa had to sit out for a bit in the first half with some fouls because she is just such a handful,” Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said. “I really thought it was her presence that sort of broke it open in the second half.”
Baylor scored the first six points of the second half, and Oklahoma called a timeout. The Sooners went scoreless for nearly 3 1/2 minutes to start the third quarter, and Baylor slowly took control. The Lady Bears led 61-53 at the end of the third quarter and led by double digits for most of the fourth.
Mulkey thought Oklahoma eventually would wear down. Williams and Robertson both played 40 minutes and Gregory played 38. They combined to make 6 of 24 field goals in the second half.
“Fatigue, at some point, when kids are playing that many minutes, is going to set in and they’re going to start missing those shots,” Mulkey said.
Baylor: The Lady Bears showed some resilience, bouncing back from a subpar first half against an improving Oklahoma team to seize control.
Oklahoma: The Sooners put another solid performance together and pushed one of the nation’s best teams.