WACO, Texas (AP) — Surely there had to be some sense of relief for 11th-ranked Texas after beating second-ranked Baylor, holding on after letting all of a big lead slip away in the second half.
“I would say definitely not. I know coach always talks about being in the moment,” junior guard Brooke McCarty said. “That game was really tough, and we have to keep building from there.”
Well, this was a fine moment to embrace for the Longhorns after an 85-79 victory at Baylor on Monday night. While winning its 17th consecutive game, Texas ended the Lady Bears’ 21-game winning streak and handed them their first home loss in nearly three years.
“I’m glad we were really competitive, because that’s what we’re trying to learn to be,” Texas coach Karen Aston said. “We’re trying to learn how to be competitive on every play, and I thought we did a good job of that.
Texas (19-4, 13-0) never trailed in the first-ever matchup of teams both 12-0 in Big 12 play, but the Lady Bears came back from a season-high 16-point deficit to tie the game before Joyner Holmes drove for a layup with a minute left.
Baylor (23-2, 12-1) was even at 76-all when Alexis Jones made a jumper with 1:28 left. That wrapped up a 27-11 run in which she scored 15 of her 19 points.
“We played with intensity, we played with urgency, we played like we were 15 behind,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “Well, that’s how you’ve got to start the game. And this team hasn’t done that for about two weeks.”
Holmes, who finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds, had her tiebreaking score and added two free throws after a Jones miss.
The Lady Bears had won 55 straight home games since losing to West Virginia on March 2, 2014. They also had a 14-game winning streak in their series against Texas since 2010.
McCarthy had 22 points, Ariel Atkins 20 and Lashann Higgs 16 for the Longhorns, who take over the nation’s second-longest winning streak behind top-ranked UConn’s 97 wins in a row.
Kalani Brown had 24 points for Baylor. Alexis Prince added 14 points with four 3-pointers.
Texas: The Longhorns certainly found a formula to beat Baylor for the first time since 2010. They shot over 50 percent from the field, which had allowed only Stanford and West Virginia had done in the Lady Bears’ previous 348 games. Texas was also the first team this season to outrebound the Lady Bears (38-37), and outscored them 42-38 in the paint.
Baylor: After winning their first dozen Big 12 games by an average margin of 34 points, the Lady Bears fell behind early. Mulkey briefly replaced all five starters less than 4 minutes into the game. “You’ve got to come out of the gates ready to play with focus, with energy, with intensity,” Mulkey said. “That being said, we came back and had a chance to win. … Give our team credit for that. We never quit fighting, we never quit playing.”
DOWN TO THE HUSKIES
UConn was the only other team to beat Baylor, but the Huskies’ largest lead over the Lady Bears was 14 back in November. All of the losses by the Longhorns were to Top 10 teams in their first six games of this season, the last setback coming against UConn on Dec. 4.
SEE YOU AGAIN SOON
After not meeting until their 13th Big 12 game, the Longhorns and Lady Bears will play again in two weeks. Their next matchup in Feb. 20 in Austin.
The Longhorns won their 13th consecutive Big 12 game, breaking a school record. They beat Kansas State on Saturday for their 12th in a row, matching the school record set between January 2003 and January 2004.
Texas: Longhorns return home to play Kansas on Saturday.
Baylor: After four games in a nine-day span, Baylor gets a little bit of a break before playing Sunday at TCU.