Baylor Bears

Top Three Takeaways From Wednesday’s Big 12 Basketball Games

Here are three takeaways on Big 12 Conference men’s and women’s basketball for Wednesday, as the league featured three women’s games across the country.  

So what happened? There were three women’s games on the docket on Wednesday, while I tried to figure out if there is any such thing as an “easy” remaining schedule in Big 12 men’s basketball.

Here are three takeaways on the day.

 

An ‘Easy’ Big 12 Path

When the Big 12 men’s season started, all 14 teams had the Top 14 remaining strength of schedule per ESPN.

Now, with the Big 12 on a bit of a break until Saturday, I took a peek at the remaining SOS for the Big 12 teams. Twelve of them were in the Top 20. But two were outside that line and it prompted me to take a look at their remaining schedules.

The first was Texas Tech, as the Red Raiders are No. 29 in remaining SOS. So who do the Red Raiders have left?

Well, UCF, Kansas, Iowa State, TCU, UCF, Texas, West Virginia, Oklahoma State and Baylor. That’s three ranked teams and five games at home (UCF, KU, TCU, Texas, BU).

The other was BYU, which is ranked No. 40 in remaining SOS. What’s left?

Kansas State, UCF, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Kansas State, Kansas, TCU, Iowa State and Oklahoma State. That’s three ranked teams and five games at home (K-State, UCF, BU, TCU, OSU).

I mean I know it’s all data and what not, but none of that seems easy in this conference.

 

BYU’s Signature Win

The Big 12 has been a struggle for the BYU women. The Cougars had just two wins in league play as they prepared to host No. 18 Baylor in Provo. On paper, BYU’s chances didn’t look great.

Well, toss that piece of paper because BYU easily played its best game in the Big 12 this season and claimed its first signature win as a Big 12 member, upsetting the Bears, 78-66.

The Cougars outplayed the Bears. BYU shot better than 50% for the game, 40% from the 3-point line and 77% from the free-throw line. Those are numbers that are hard for any team to overcome. But the Bears had an awful first half, scoring just 21 points and falling behind by 14 points at halftime.

Baylor did what it could and turned the third quarter into a track meet, scoring 25 points. But BYU kept up, scoring 24 points and the outcome was never in doubt as the Cougars beat a ranked team for the first time since beating West Virginia in 2021.

Lauren Gustin had another huge game for BYU, scoring 23 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. Amari Whiting came close to a triple-double with 13 points, eight rebounds and nine assists. Kailey Woolston and Emma Calvert each had 14 points. BYU had a 45-32 edge on the glass.

All of that helped BYU overcome 19 turnovers.

From a program-building standpoint, this is the kind of win that can propel BYU into the future.

As for Baylor, Darianna Littlepage-Buggs scored 17, Yaya Felder scored 15 (and lost a tooth late in the game) and Jana Van Gytenbeek added 10 points.

Notice something missing? Yes. Guard Sarah Andrews had a rough night, scoring five points on 1-of-8 shooting. But she wasn’t the only one to struggle, either. Baylor shot 35 percent from floor.

While BYU is heading to Cincinnati, Baylor is heading home to host West Virginia, which now looks like a critical game for the Bears who are now in sixth place in the Big 12, which would bring a single bye in the Big 12 Tournament — but not the double-bye the Bears were probably hoping for a few weeks ago.

 

Other Women’s Games

Oklahoma continued its hot streak with a 72-55 win over TCU in Norman. Oklahoma led most of the game and took control in the second half, behind 17 points from Skylar Vann. Payton Verhulst scored 14 and Kiersten Johnson added 11 points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds in just 15 minutes.

TCU remains short-handed as Sydney Harris scored 17 points and Aaliyah Robertson added 13 points.

Cincinnati held UCF without a field goal in the final 2:50 and made its final three field goals to claim a 67-61 win. The Bearcats also held the Knights to 32 percent shooting.

Jillian Hayes led Cincinnati with 13 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double, while Clarissa Craig scored 12 points and Ta’Ziah Jenks added 10 points. Mya Burns led UCF with 19 points, while Kaitlin Peterson scored 12 points. Khyala Ngodu and Laila Jewett added 11 points each.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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