No. 6 Baylor 64, Texas 57: Longhorns unable to trade third-quarter punches with Lady Bears
Throughout this season, Texas had found that winning cures all ills.
The Longhorns entered this week with seven losses, the last of which was recorded in overtime against Oklahoma over the weekend. Following each of the six preceding losses, Texas bounced back with a win. Lose to Texas A&M at home? Beat Idaho three days later. Get beaten by 34 points at West Virginia? Rebound against Kansas. And so on and so forth.
On Monday night at the Erwin Center, No. 6 Baylor made sure that the bitter taste of losing remained on the Longhorns' lips. The Lady Bears secured the Big 12's outright championship with a dominant third quarter and a 64-57 win.
With the loss, Texas (16-8, 10-7 Big 12) missed out on a chance to tie fourth-place Iowa State in the conference standings. UT will close out its regular season on Sunday at TCU.
"We're not into moral victories by any means, but I am extremely proud of the way that we fought tonight," Texas point guard Kyra Lambert said. "I think that we were a totally different team tonight (than the one that lost 60-35 at Baylor on Feb. 14). We're going to hold onto that and take that fight and that tenacity with us on the road to TCU."
Baylor led 24-22 at halftime after a closely-contested start in which neither team led by more than eight points. Some scoreboard separation would occur in the third quarter, however.
On its first three possessions of the second half, Texas missed four shots. Baylor scored during its first three trips down the floor.
Baylor eventually scored 18 of the quarter's first 20 points. That start led to the Lady Bears extending their lead to 14 points by the quarter's end. Texas missed 13 of the 16 shots it attempted in the period.
"They probably got a real good talking to at halftime, and that's a veteran team over there," Texas coach Vic Schaefer said. "That's the No. 6 team in the country and they responded like they should.
"We, on the other hand, got punched and it took us a few minutes to gather ourselves and then punch back. That to me is the sign of an inexperienced and an immature team. That's it."
Said Lambert of the third quarter: "That just can't happen. It just can't happen."
Baylor led by as many as 16 points in the final frame. Texas pulled to within 10 by the time the final media timeout was called with 4:04 left. But with star forward Charli Collier having already fouled out, the Longhorns couldn't get much closer. Coming out of the timeout, UT committed turnovers on three straight possessions and any thought of a comeback was quashed.
"We were excited and then we couldn't execute," UT guard Joanne Allen-Taylor said. "You don't have to say anything (about the turnovers). That naturally, it drains energy."
Baylor (20-2, 15-1) was led by NaLyssa Smith's 23 points and Queen Egbo, who finished with 13 points and 14 rebounds. The Lady Bears have now won 24 of their last 25 games against Texas. Baylor last lost in Austin in 2010.
Texas played only six players, and Allen-Taylor led the Longhorns with 15 points. Collier and Audrey Warren each scored 12.
Texas entered the game with the conference's second-worst percentage from the free throw line. A 19-of-23 effort will up UT's overall percentage, which was floundering at 69.1%. Three of those misses, though, cost the Longhorns a chance to be either leading or tied at halftime.
Collier was fouled by Hannah Gusters with five seconds left in the second quarter, and Egbo was then whistled for a technical. Allen-Taylor missed both of the free throws that were tied to Egbo's technical. Collier then went 1-for-2 from the charity stripe.
Tip-ins: Lambert was the lone Longhorn honored ahead of the home finale. The NCAA has frozen the eligibility of all athletes, but Lambert joked it would be "greedy" to return for a seventh season. A graduate transfer from Duke, she missed the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons because of knee injuries. ... While objecting to a foul called on Collier in the third quarter, Schaefer was whistled for a technical. ... Texas went 12-4 at the Erwin Center during the 2020-21 season.