Photo by Amy Kontras-USA TODAY Sports
Baylor Women's Basketball

Smith and Bickle Carry Bears Past Sooners, 91-76

March 12, 2022

KANSAS CITY, Kansas — The No. 4 Baylor women’s basketball team (27-5, 15-3) beat the No. 21 Oklahoma Sooners (24-8, 12-6) for the first time this year, 91-76, and move on the Big 12 Tournament championship game.

Career-highs from NaLyssa Smith and Caitlin Bickle helped the Bears jump out to a lead on the Sooners and later expand it to as much as 24 points in the third quarter.

Bickle was pivotal in the first quarter, scoring nine of her 21 points and grabbing two of her 6 rebounds off the offensive glass.

Smith scored 37 with 11 rebounds in 33 minutes taking control of the game in the third quarter. This was her 23rd double-double of the season and the second time in the last three games that she set a career-high in points.

Amy Kontras-USA TODAY Sports

The game started tight, with both teams looking like they could go the distance, but Bickle stepped up to help Baylor carve out a 7 point lead at the end of the quarter.

Bickle’s effort at both ends of the floor helped jump-start the Bears and she ended the period with a dagger three-pointer to cap a 6-0 run in the last 45 seconds.

The second quarter kept the intensity up as both teams’ stars heated up. Maddie Williams and Taylor Robertson both netted nine points for the Sooners, but Smith notched 12 on her own.

Add in Bickle’s six points in the second quarter, giving her a career-high 15 points in just the first half, and it was all an entertaining wash. The period ended 22-22 for a 47-40 halftime lead for Baylor.

The third quarter is where Smith and the Bears really took over. The national player of the year candidate added 14 of Baylor’s 28 points for the quarter.

The real key to Baylor growing the lead over 20 points was the balance of their offense. While Smith was the spearhead, Jordan Lewis scored five, Queen Egbo had four, and Sarah Andrews got three of her own.

Amy Kontras-USA TODAY Sports

Williams and Robertson could not keep up. William had 10, but Robertson had just three, and no one else for Oklahoma had more than two.

It was a 28-16 quarter for Baylor and the lead reached as much as 24 at 69-45.

The Sooners fought hard, but could only claw back four points in the final frame.

The Bears forced 13 turnovers while committing only two themselves, and they scored 25 points off of those OU turnovers.

Egbo, Lewis and Ja’Mee Asberry ended up with 11, eight, and nine points respectively to round out the balanced attack.

The Bears have now advanced to their 11th consecutive Big 12 tournament final and will take on the winner of Texas and Iowa State tomorrow at 1 PM on ESPN 2.

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Smith and Bickle Carry Bears Past Sooners, 91-76

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