Moon Ursin scored 20 points and the ninth-ranked Lady Bears recovered from a rare loss to beat the Cowgirls 77-58 on Wednesday night.
Baylor had won 61 straight at home before falling to Iowa State on Saturday. That was Baylor’s first game in two weeks because of a pause in the program after coach Kim Mulkey tested positive for COVID-19.
The Lady Bears (9-2, 4-1 Big 12) bounced back and avoided their first back-to-back losses since the 2014-15 season.
“That was crazy,” Ursin said about the loss to Iowa State. “We have to be motivated this entire season. Whether we do it ourselves as a team, with our coaches — we have to find a way to keep winning ballgames doing the best we can. We’re not trying to break another streak. We’re trying to defend our territory and defend our Big 12 championship.”
Nalyssa Smith had 18 points and 12 rebounds, and DiDi Richards added 11 points, six rebounds and seven assists for Baylor.
Ursin, a senior guard who entered the game averaging 9.4 points, made 7 of 14 shots and had eight rebounds. She worked her way through the program, biding her time behind stars before emerging this season.
“This is an example of the type of athlete and the type of student athlete you need more of today,” Mulkey said. “Most of them would bail out on you after one or two years, but Moon — she’s going to go down in the history of our program as one of the all-time favorite kids.”
The Lady Bears held the Cowgirls to 33% shooting and a season-low point total. Part of the poor shooting was Baylor’s defense, and part of it was the Cowgirls just missing shots.
“We’ve just got to have a better belief in ourselves and play with more poise, hit little shots,” Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell said. “It’s hard to get open shots against them, and when you do, you’ve got to hit your two-footers.”
Natasha Mack scored 21 points, and Ja’Mee Asberry added 17 for Oklahoma State (9-5, 5-3), but Mack made 9 of 22 shots and Asberry made 5 of 16.
“I’ll take that any day,” Mulkey said.
Baylor held Oklahoma State to 30% shooting in the first half to take a 37-23 lead. Ursin scored 16 points in the half on 5-for-8 shooting, and made all five of her free throws. Baylor remained in control throughout the second half, extending its lead to 24 points several times.
The Cowgirls lost their third straight after a 5-0 conference start.
“I thought our kids played a little intimidated, lost some poise and composure,” Littell said.
Baylor: The Lady Bears were only playing their third game of the new year. The offense was a bit off early, but Baylor shot 58% in the second half.
Oklahoma State: It was a missed opportunity for the Cowgirls, who entered the night just a half game behind Iowa State in the conference standings.
Ursin fell two points short of her career high.
“I could have kept her in there in there to get her career high, but the kid was extremely fatigued,” Mulkey said. “She gave you everything she had.”
Littell on Richards’ defense: “When you have a DiDi Richards … that in my opinion, is probably the best defensive player in the country. At 6-2, she can guard from a 1 to a 5. She sets the tone for them defensively.”
Baylor: Hosts Oklahoma on Saturday.
Oklahoma State: At Kansas State on Monday.