Brooke McCarty had one of her best games of the season, scoring 22 points and grabbing five rebounds. Guard Ariel Atkins scored 20 points on 9-for-14 shooting from the field.
Posted February 6th, 2017
WACO — Karen Aston showed her poker face Monday night after her 11th-ranked Texas Longhorns upset No. 2 Baylor, keeping to her season-long theme of “staying in the moment.”
But when it comes to Texas basketball, this was easily the most important victory in Aston’s five years so far.
Freshman Joyner Holmes hit consecutive field goals in the final minute and Texas never trailed, shocking the Lady Bears 85-79 at the Ferrell Center.
The victory was important for many reasons:
The Longhorns snapped a 14-game losing streak to Baylor.
They gained sole possession of first place in the Big 12 race.
And they ended Baylor’s 54-game home winning streak. And they also snapped Baylor’s 29-game Big 12 winning streak.
Texas improved to 19-4 — this was the Longhorns’ 17th straight win — and 13-0 in the Big 12. The Bears slipped to 23-2, 12-1. The schools meet again in Austin on Feb. 20.
“This game is a credit to the Big 12,” Aston said. “It was a highlight game. We’ve been scratching and clawing to try to win Big 12 games. What you saw tonight was how good the Big 12 was.”
For the first time in 97 games, a Baylor opponent shot better than 50 percent from the field. Brooke McCarty had one of her best games of the season, scoring 22 points and grabbing five rebounds and hitting three free throws in the final 30 seconds. Ariel Atkins scored 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting, and Holmes registered her sixth double-double of the season, scoring 20 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. The Longhorns outrebounded the Bears, the first time that’s happened all season.
The Longhorns were nearly flawless through three quarters, outscoring Baylor in each period to build a 67-54 lead heading into the fourth. Baylor post Kalani Brown, though, sparked a Lady Bears comeback. Senior guard Alexis Jones, who had been held scoreless in the first half, erupted for 19 points in the second half and tied the game 76-76 with a pull-up jumper with 1:28 to play.
Before a crowd of 7,054, Texas kept its composure and regained the lead for good on a Holmes layup with 59 seconds left. She then gave UT an 80-76 lead on Texas’ next possession with a pair of free throws. Baylor would not get any closer.
“Texas came out on fire and played with a lot of energy,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “They punched us right in the mouth.”
Mulkey, though, complained that a few of her players only “played a half.”
She was likely talking about Jones and All-America forward Nina Davis, who went scoreless in the first half. Jones scored her first bucket with 7:09 left in the third quarter and Davis following with her first field goal a minute later.
It was UT’s first victory over Baylor since March 10, 2010.
McCarty said the Longhorns were “feeding off each other” throughout the game. Texas seemed fresher than Baylor, outscoring the Lady Bears 10-0 on fast-break points.
“I saw it coming,” Mulkey said of the outcome.
Mulkey said she noticed a letdown from her team in Saturday’s 79-61 victory at Texas Tech. The Longhorns’ next game is at home Saturday, against Kansas.