WACO, Texas (AP) With big post players Kalani Brown and Lauren Cox inside, senior guard Kristy Wallace doesn’t always have to do a lot of scoring for No. 3 Baylor.
The Aussie can still put up some points.
Wallace scored a career-high 27 points while both post players had double-doubles and the Lady Bears won their 15th straight game, overwhelming No. 6 Texas 81-56 in a matchup of the Big 12’s top two teams Thursday night.
”How good are we? I think we found out tonight we’re pretty good,” coach Kim Mulkey said.
”I expected them to try to punch us and that’s exactly what they did. A little surprised, a lot surprised by our team’s lack of composure and competitiveness,” Texas coach Karen Aston said. ”It was just a little bit of an old-fashioned butt-kicking.”
Wallace scored nine of her points in a game-turning 28-7 run for the Lady Bears (18-1, 8-0 Big 12), who were in control before the end of the first quarter.
”She was dictating this game from the jump,” Aston said.
That game-turning stretch included a 14-4 run over the final 3 1/2 minutes of the first quarter, during which Wallace hit a 3-pointer and emphatically punched her fist in the air as the crowd of 9,286 roared. The Bears outscored Texas 14-3 to start the second quarter.
”I just love moments like that. You feed off that,” said Wallace, who finished 11-of-16 shooting.
”She has just been a great distributor for our team. She’s got 6-7 and 6-4 inside that are having a great year. She doesn’t have to score,” coach Kim Mulkey said. ”Tonight, she just had some openings and she felt it. … She did what Kristy’s capable of doing night in and night out. She just doesn’t have to do it all the time.”
Brown had 17 points and 11 rebounds, her ninth double-double this season and 21st in her career. Cox had 17 points and 10 rebounds. The 6-foot-7 Brown and 6-4 Cox have combined for 129 points and 83 rebounds the last three games.
Brooke McCarty led Texas (15-4, 6-2) with 16 points on 5-of-19 shooting. Lashann Higgs added 13 points and Ariel Atkins 11.
”It is frustrating when you don’t show up,” Atkins said. ”They outworked us, had more energy, played with passion. They were a team tonight. We weren’t.”
Texas: Just 10 days earlier, Texas took No. 1 UConn to the wire before falling 75-71 at home. The Longhorns were also coming off a record 51-point win at Texas Tech. But they were only able to tie the game five times in the first 6 1/2 minutes, and never led, before the Lady Bears took over. McCarty and Atkins were a combined 2-of-15 shooting before halftime.
Baylor: After winning their first seven Big 12 games by an average margin of nearly 23 points, this was supposed to be the first significant test for the Lady Bears. They passed it without no problem and have a two-game lead over second-place Texas going into their next game that will mark the halfway mark of the 18-game conference schedule.
There was a video tribute moment of silence before the game Chameka Scott, the player that coach Kim Mulkey called ”the heartbeat” of Baylor’s first national championship team in 2005. Scott died Sunday from colon cancer that was first discovered in 2015. Members of Scott’s family and former Lady Bears teammates attended the game.
Texas went the final 3 1/2 minutes of the first quarter without a field goal after a Joyner Holmes layup tied the game at 14-all. Brown’s tiebreaking free throw started the quarter-ending 14-4 run. The Longhorns shot 31 percent (20 of 64) overall and 20 percent on 3-pointers (3 of 15).
”We let our offensive woes tonight, inability to make shots early really dictate what we did on the defensive end,” Aston said.
Texas plays four its next six games at home. The Longhorns host Iowa State on Saturday night.
Baylor also faces Top 25 games in its next two games, Sunday at No. 20 West Virginia and back at home next Wednesday against No. 19 Oklahoma State.