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Ross James/ALOST

akoiki-passport2 – by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief

 

FORT WORTH, Texas — For the first 20 minutes on Saturday, No. 7 Baylor experienced a bit of déjà vu against its very familiar opponent, which was not the best of signs in trying to keep their hegemonic control of the Big 12. Fortunately enough for the Bears, the second half also exhibited that same “I’ve read this script” vibe before from three days prior, which meant a dominant second half on their way to another victory.

NaLyssa Smith, saddled with foul trouble for most of the game, scored 23 points in just over 23 minutes of playing time to lead the Bears to a 78-59 victory over the TCU Horned Frogs at Schollmaier Arena on Saturday afternoon. Three other players scored in double figures, including Queen Egbo’s 14 points and 12 rebounds, as the Bears have now won 11 of their past 12 games.

The win also keeps Baylor tied atop the Big 12 standings with Iowa State, both 11-3 in conference play, as the Bears are looking to win at least a share of their 12th consecutive Big 12 regular season title this season. The Bears and Cyclones — ranked No. 6 in the latest AP Poll — will square off in Ames nine days from now on Feb. 28 in what likely will decide the regular season champion. (Baylor defeated Iowa State in their first matchup, 87-61, in Waco on January 23.)

Because of an earlier cancellation due to COVID-19, the Bears and Horned Frogs were meeting for the second time in three days, and the Bears’ second-half turnaround on Saturday was similar to when Baylor outscored the Horned Frogs 47-25 in Waco to turn a three-point halftime lead into an 80-55 rout. Holding on to just a 32-39 halftime lead today, Baylor was carried by Smith, who hit all four of her shots from the floor and scored nine in a third quarter where the Bears outscored the Horned Frogs 26-13.

Baylor outrebounded TCU 10-4 in the third quarter, grabbed as many offensive rebounds as TCU grabbed total rebounds and forced the Horned Frogs to five turnovers in the frame, which led to seven Bears points.

Though TCU held to just nine points on 2-for-18 shooting (11.1 percent) in the first quarter, it only trailed 13-9 after the first 10 minutes and eventually forced a tie on a couple of occasions in the second quarter, the last coming on an Okako Adika three-pointer at the 5:51 mark to tie the score at 19-19. Baylor scored the next six points, including four from Smith, and did not let go of the lead for the rest of the game.

*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Saturday afternoon’s game, with all photos taken by Dallas-area photographer Ross James. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 22 pictures in total.

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