Queen Egbo had a career-high 26 points along with 10 rebounds, DiJonai Carrington also had a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds, and No. 6 Baylor beat No. 17 West Virginia 96-73 on Monday night in the Big 12’s final regular-season game.
NaLyssa Smith had 13 points for the Lady Bears (22-2, 17-1 Big 12), who had already wrapped up their 11th consecutive regular-season conference title. They clinched it outright with a win at Texas a week ago.
Kirsten Deans had 22 points to lead West Virginia (19-5, 13-5) before fouling out of the game, while Esmery Martinez had 13 points.
Kysre Gondrezick had seven points, well below her 20.6 average that was fourth in the Big 12. She sprained her ankle midway through the third quarter and exited for good with 9 minutes left.
“I think she’ll be OK. … We’ve just got to make sure we keep the swelling down, and get her back,” coach Mike Carey said. “That’s the frustrating thing. The biggest thing I wanted to come out of this game is nobody hurt.”
The makeup game to end the regular season, which had no impact on the standings, matched the top two seeds in the Big 12 tournament. Neither plays until the quarterfinals Friday in Kansas City.
“It was a tough game for me as a coach, and Mike, too, as a coach. Neither one of us understood why we had to play this game,” Baylor’s Kim Mulkey said. “It was a very difficult game because what you worry about are injuries, and I hated to see Kysre (get hurt) for them.”
Baylor went ahead to stay with an 11-0 run in the second quarter, with Egbo scoring seven points in that span. Egbo started the run with a jumper before Carrington’s fast-break layup got the Lady Bears within one. Egbo then put them in front with consecutive jumpers, the second a three-point play when she was fouled and made the free throw.
“I think Queen’s playing the best basketball she’s played since she’s been at Baylor,” Mulkey said.
“I personally feel like my guards were just able to give me the ball when I was open and they were putting me in a good position to just score offensively and be successful and not do too much out of my area,” Egbo said. “So I was real comfortable.”
That came right after West Virginia took the lead with a 12-2 run — the only score by Baylor in that four-minute span was a jumper by Egbo. Jayla Hemingway had all seven of her points in that spurt, starting it with two free throws then ending it with a 3-pointer and a fast-break layup to put the Mountaineers up 28-23 midway through the second quarter.
Carrington opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer while scoring seven of Baylor’s points in another 11-0 run that stretched the lead to 19 points.
“We played four straight away games. I knew we were not going to have any gas in the second half,” Carey said.
West Virginia: The second-place finish in the Big 12 is the best for the Mountaineers since 2013-14, when they shared the league title with Baylor when both teams were 16-2 in conference play. They were outscored 64-22 in the paint and outbrebounded 53-28. Three WVU players fouled out.
“We were right in the game with them, had a lead, and got in got foul trouble and they pound us on the boards,” Carey said. “We got lazy in the paint, and you can’t get lazy on Baylor in the paint. That’s what happens. … We were giving up offensive rebounds on foul shots.”
Baylor: The Lady Bears finished with one conference loss or fewer for the ninth time in Mulkey’s 21 seasons. … DiDi Richards, who made the transition to being Baylor’s starting point guard for her senior season, had nine assists and moved to third on the school’s career list at 533. She is well behind Odyssey Sims (641) or Niya Johnson (988)
The Big 12 tournament in Kansas City.