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No. 7 Baylor 60, Texas 35: Blowout becomes a low point for UT during extended stay in Waco

Baylor guard Trinity Oliver (right) and Texas guard Ashley Chevalier go after a loose basketball in Waco on Feb. 14, 2021.

A new era. A similar result.

Texas never led on Sunday afternoon in a 60-35 setback against No. 7 Baylor at the Ferrell Center. The loss was Vic Schaefer's first against Baylor as the head coach of the Longhorns. Baylor, however, has now won 23 of its last 24 games in this series.

And if you are wondering if things could get any worse for Texas, they did. Due to wintery weather and subpar road conditions, the Longhorns were not allowed to travel home after the game.

"We've had worse games," Schaefer said. "My issue right now is I'm stuck in Waco. I don't want to be stuck here the next two days and have to go straight to TCU."

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If UT fans were looking for a silver lining, Baylor had been averaging 83.8 points per game. Sunday's showing was the Lady Bears' lowest score of the season.

Now for the bad news.

Texas shot a season-low 24.6% from the field. With 1 minute, 13 seconds left, freshman Ashley Chevalier sank the team's only 3-pointer. Texas committed 16 turnovers, missed six of its 10 free throws and allowed 17 offensive rebounds. 

UT standout Charli Collier also turned in her worst performance of the season. A 6-foot-5 All-American candidate and the Big 12's second-leading scorer at 22.3 points per game, Collier was held to two points on three shots. Collier played 15 minutes in the second half but did not attempt a field goal. She fouled out with 1:49 remaining.

Both Schaefer and teammate Lauren Ebo defended Collier in their postgame media sessions. Schaefer said several plays were run for Collier, but they were unsuccessful. The 6-4 Ebo noted that Collier was the focus of a Baylor team that ranked second nationally in field goal percentage defense.

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"Today they were (focusing) a lot on Charli, that's when other people have to step up," Ebo said. "That's the best answer I have for you."

Texas kept Baylor within reach over the game's first 10 minutes. The Lady Bears, however, went on a 17-3 run in the second quarter and had essentially put the game away by the halftime intermission.

As Baylor outscored Texas 21-9 in the second quarter and took a 33-17 lead into halftime, DiJonai Carrington scored nine points and NaLyssa Smith added six points. Additionally, Texas had no answer for Baylor point guard DiDi Richards, whose four assists matched UT's four field goals in the period. Two of Richards' assists set up 3-pointers by Carrington.

"Shots weren't going in for us. I think we had a good defensive effort, though," Ebo said. "I just think that we have to make shots. I don't think that little run they went on stopped us. I think we did a good job as a team to stay in it and stay focused."

The lowest-scoring game in UT's history was a 31-point effort against Abilene Christian in 1976. Thanks to a 3-point play from Ebo with 1:37 left, Texas avoided that footnote in the history books.

But throw out that game against Abilene Christian and this was arguably the worst offensive performance in school history. Texas also scored 35 points in a loss to Baylor in 2019.

"I thought our defense was outstanding, not just on Collier but on their other players," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said in her postgame availability. "We hit a stretch there where we couldn't score. It was not a game that you're watching on TV and go, 'Whoah, man, that's entertaining!' You've got to really love basketball to watch some defensive things that were done today." 

Schaefer felt the Longhorns had good looks against the Lady Bears. The shots just didn't fall. He also diagnosed his guards with being timid at times.

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"We've got to find a way to score the ball. When somebody takes away your No. 1 option, you've got to do some other things a little bit better," Schaefer said. "At the same time, everybody's got to continue to work hard and do the things necessary to be good offensively."

With the win, Baylor (16-2, 11-1 Big 12) strengthened its positioning as the conference's front-runner. The Lady Bears were led by the 14 points scored by Smith. Richards finished with 10 assists.

With an 8-5 showing against conference foes, Texas (14-6) now sits in fifth place in the Big 12 standings. The Longhorns will next travel to TCU on Wednesday.

Schaefer expressed a hope that the Longhorns can return to Austin during the day on Monday. If not, Mulkey has offered up Baylor's practice gym for the Longhorns to use.

Tip-ins: Texas was led by Celeste Taylor's 11 points and eight rebounds. Ebo chipped in nine points. ... Both Moon Ursin and Queen Egbo recorded 11 points and 12 rebounds for Baylor. ... Both Collier and junior forward Audrey Warren fouled out on Sunday. ... The Big 12 announced earlier in the week that UT's coronavirus-delayed home game against Oklahoma will now be played on Feb. 27. The game was originally scheduled for Jan. 12.