FORT WORTH, Texas — There are few things the Baylor women’s basketball has not seen during its hegemonic run through the Big 12 that has seen it not drop a regular-season league game in almost three calendar years. However, the Lady Bears did get to see something almost novel to them on Wednesday night.
A fourth-quarter deficit.
Baylor, down one with 10 minutes remaining, started the fourth quarter on an 8-0 run and Te’a Cooper’s three-pointer with 2:37 remaining finally gave the second-ranked Lady Bears some breathing room in their 66-57 win over the TCU Horned Frogs at Schollmaier Arena, the team’s 46th consecutive regular-season victory against Big 12 opponents.
Though the Lady Bears shot 50 percent from the field for the game, they had to overcome 18 turnovers, a poor night at the foul line and a revitalized TCU women’s basketball program in earning their 38th straight conference road victory.
“We just started not turning the ball over, started making a few defensive stops and not letting them get offensive boards,” said Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey about the adjustments her team made to start the fourth. “And then we came down and executed a few plays.”
Cooper and forward Queen Egbo, starting in place of leading scorer NaLyssa Smith who was out with an ankle injury, each paced the Bears (16-1, 5-0 Big 12) with 14 points. Lauren Cox had 11 points while DiDi Richards nearly posted a triple-double (10 points, eight rebounds, eight assists) as Baylor made six of its seven field goal attempts in the fourth quarter to offset missing half of its 16 free throw attempts in that final frame.
Baylor went up by as much as 11 at 25-14 on an Egbo layup with 6:08 remaining in the second, but the Horned Frogs (13-4, 4-2) countered with an 11-0 run to tie the score. Jaycee Bradley and Kianna Ray combined to score all 11 points for the Horned Frogs during that stretch, with Ray’s second three during the run tying the score at 25 with 1:44 remaining in the half.
The Bears took a 30-26 lead at halftime but the Horned Frogs came back once more with an efficient third quarter. TCU mad five of its 11 shots — including two three-pointers — and made all seven of its free throw attempts to go into the fourth with a 45-44 lead.
The one-point deficit marked just the second time during Baylor’s undefeated regular-season run in conference play that it went into the fourth trailing; The Bears were down by one last season at Oklahoma State before pulling out an eight-point victory.
“[The defense] was good enough for us to hang in the game when we were shooting so poorly,” Mulkey said. “We won a tough game on the road without NaLyssa Smith. We won a tough game on the road without making free throws. We’ll take it, get on that bus and head to Waco.”
Ray lead the Horned Frogs with 16 points, hitting four of her 10 three-point attempts. Jayde Woods added 13 points as Lauren Heard, TCU’s leading scorer at just over 17 points per game, scored just 11 points on 3-of-14 shooting.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Wednesday evening’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 20 pictures in total.