WACO, Texas (AP) - Fourth-ranked Baylor had senior point guard Niya Johnson and Alexis Prince for the rematch against No. 17 Oklahoma State.
With a full roster and plenty of motivation, the Lady Bears avenged their only loss of the season.
“That loss ate me up,” Johnson said. “I was just ready to see Oklahoma State again, and go out there fired up, and help my team get a victory.”
Johnson had 11 assists and four of her six points came as part of the Lady Bears’ big run to finally take control Wednesday night in a 66-41 victory. They have won 13 games in a row, matching their season-opening winning streak that was snapped by Oklahoma State in the Big 12 opener.
“We knew coming in here that we were coming into a buzz saw. … They definitely were ready to play,” Cowgirls coach Jim Littell said. “With all the pieces to the puzzle right now, they’re the team to beat in this league right now.”
Alexis Jones had 20 points for the Lady Bears (26-1, 13-1 Big 12) while Nina Davis had her 27th career double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Kristy Wallace had 11 points.
Prince had only four points, but had five rebounds, five blocks and helped hold Big 12 leading scorer Brittney Martin scoreless in the first half.
Martin, also the league’s top rebounder, finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds for Oklahoma State (19-6, 9-5), which beat Baylor 52-45 at home Dec. 30. Kaylee Jensen had 11 points.
The Lady Bears led throughout in the rematch after scoring the first 10 points in the game and finally took control with an 18-2 run that spanned the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth.
Johnson had two baskets in the final minute of the third quarter to cap a 7-0 run that put the Lady Bears up by 11.
She drove the length of the court for a layup after Oklahoma State had a turnover with 4.9 seconds left. As the ball fell through the rim and the buzzer sounded, coach Kim Mulkey was on the court waving her arms to further incite the suddenly loud crowd.
After the Cowgirls scored the first two points of the fourth quarter, Baylor scored 11 in a row to push ahead by 20.
Johnson had a bone bruise on her ankle the first time the two teams played. Prince also missed that game while recovering from arthroscopic surgery for torn meniscus in her right knee.
Only 3 1/2 minutes into Wednesday night’s game, Prince blocked a shot. The ball ended up in the hands of Johnson, who passed ahead to Prince for a breakaway layup in that opening 10-0 spurt.
“I didn’t have to do a lot of motivating. I didn’t have to do any backflips or anything,” Mulkey said. “I just think having our entire team healthy. You can’t go to battle with some of your players not playing.”
ONLY SO CLOSE
Oklahoma State was within 37-33 when Martin made two free throws with 1:31 left in the third quarter. Davis then had a putback layup while being fouled and added the free throw to start Baylor’s big run. “We cut it to four, and then we just did three or four things that just took us out of the game,” Littell said. “You’re going from being in the game and having a little momentum to being down by 11.”
LOT OF HELP
Baylor scored 24 points off 18 turnovers, and the Lady Bears had 19 assists on their 25 field goals. “I really think the assists are wrong here,” Littell said. “We’ll need to add 12 more because we threw 12 layups to them on that.”
Oklahoma State: The Cowgirls have lost two of three games since a six-game winning streak.
Baylor: Since giving up 37 points in the fourth quarter against TCU a week ago, the Lady Bears have allowed 36 and 41 points total in their last two games. … The Lady Bears were 4-of-12 on free throws in the first half, including seven consecutive misses. They finished 13 of 24.
Oklahoma State at TCU on Saturday.
Baylor hosts Iowa State on Saturday.
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