The No. 18 Oklahoma Sooners defeated the No. 9 Baylor Bears, 78-77, in a Big 12 women’s basketball game at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas, on Wednesday night.
Oklahoma’s Liz Scott scored a layup with 5.8 seconds left to give the Sooners the lead and, after a time out, Baylor’s Jordan Lewis missed a layup as time expired that would have given the Bears the win.
On Sunday, Scott had the game-winning layup when the Sooners defeated then-No. 9 Texas. Her lay-up with four seconds remaining withstood a final 3-point attempt by the Longhorns.
The Sooners (19-3, 8-2 in Big 12) beat a Top 10 team for the second straight game. Madi Williams led the Sooners with 20 points, while Scott had 16 points and Taylor Robertson added 14 points. Williams and Robertson combined for 15 rebounds.
The Bears (15-5, 5-3) fell despite having a six-point lead in the final minutes before the Sooners went on an 8-1 run to end the game. Sarah Andrews led the Bears with 23 points, while NaLyssa Smith had 19 points and 12 rebounds, while Ja’Mee Asberry added 13 points.
The game started late due to travel issues for Oklahoma. The Sooners had to bus down to Waco after it became clear they wouldn’t be able to fly out. Oklahoma did not arrive in Waco until 7:15 p.m. and Baylor agreed to push the start time back to 7:45. Sooners head coach Michelle Baranczyk thanked Baylor for being accommodating about the late start.
With games coming up on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Big 12 women’s action, the weather bears watching.
Here are our three thoughts from the game.
The Final Play
Liz Scott’s last-second layup against Texas came on a drive to the basket. This one was much different, as she was the recipient of all of the attention that Baylor paid to Madi Williams.
Oklahoma had the ball down a point with 21 seconds left because a lob pass to Baylor’s NaLyssa Smith slipped out of her hands and went out of bounds. The Sooners came down to the other end and eventually Williams ended up with the ball. She drove down into the paint on the right side and ended up drawing three defenders. Given that Williams had 20 points and is one of OU’s leading scorers, that’s to be expected. But it worked against the Bears.
Williams found herself cut off and pivoted back the other way. Her drive drew Smith off the midline in the paint and toward Williams, leaving Scott open underneath. All it took was a simple pass from Williams to Scott to set up the game-winner.
While the Bears played well, losing to the Sooners was not a good way for the Bears to start a stretch in which they will play four games in eight days, thanks in part to their COVID-19 pause in early January. Because of that, the Big 12 rescheduled one of their games with Texas to this Friday.
The Bears will not only play four games in eight days, they will play four RANKED teams in eight days.
Texas, which is No. 13, will come to Waco on Friday, which is the make-up game. Then, the pair will play against in Austin on Sunday. Following that, No. 25 Kansas State comes to Waco on Wednesday.
Can the Bears — who played just seven on Wednesday night — win the last three games of this stretch? It will likely determine whether they will contend for the Big 12 regular-season title or not.
Oklahoma’s Banner Season?
The Oklahoma Sooners haven’t won a Big 12 regular-season title since 2009. Two years later came the start of Baylor domination. The Bears have won or shared every Big 12 regular-season crown since 2011, and only shared the 2014 title with West Virginia.
This season may mark the end of that streak.
The Sooners swept the Bears with the win on Wednesday, and it’s their first winning streak over Baylor since — you guessed it — 2009. Now, the Sooners are tied for first place in the Big 12 with Iowa State. Each have two losses and each now had a game on the field with eight games left to play.
Now, it isn’t over of course. The Sooners must play Texas again. Iowa State still has to play Texas and Baylor again. Heck, Iowa State and Oklahoma have to play each other again.
But, Oklahoma’s turnaround from last season under first-year Sooners coach Michelle Baranczyk has positioned them to end that long drought.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.