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Texas showdown: Baylor wins duel, hands Longhorns 1st loss

In one of the biggest matchups of the season, the undefeated No. 4 Texas Longhorns sought to continue their winning record against the No. 6 Baylor Bears in Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

AUSTIN, TX -- In one of the biggest matchups of the season, the undefeated No. 4 Texas Longhorns sought to continue their winning record against the No. 6 Baylor Bears in Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.

The Longhorns were the first to get on the board with a 3-pointer and a jump shot early in the first period. Multiple turnovers prevented Baylor from putting any points up until the third minute of the first quarter, when they struck back to bring the game to a tie.

Texas countered relentlessly, taking a 9-point lead with 4 minutes left in the quarter, to which the Lady Bears answered tying it back up with 2:30 to go in the period, eventually taking their first lead of the game 18-16.  Baylor kept the lead through the remainder of the quarter, finishing it leading 26-20.

The Lady Bears held the lead through the first half of the second quarter, bringing it to 35-25 with 5 minutes to go.  Baylor guard Alexis Jones was on fire for the Lady Bears, leading the team with 16 points in the first half, followed by forward Nina Davis, who accounted for 10 points in the period.

"Everybody on the team had a great, outstanding game," Jones commented after the game. "Everybody did exactly what they were supposed to do and what we practiced."

Clumsy turnovers made the Longhorns suffer in the first period, as they gave up 14 compared to Baylor's 5. Texas also struggled at the free-throw line, making only 50 percent, while the Lady Bears sunk every opportunity. Baylor closed out the half on top 41-29.

The Lady Bears continued with the momentum through the first half of the third period, pulling nearly 20 points ahead of the Longhorns. Jones continued to put on a show for the Lady Bears, putting up 21 points in the quarter. Texas showed some life in the last two minutes of the quarter, cutting Baylor's 19-point lead to 12, ending the period 60-48.

"We're a work in progress," Lady Bears head coach Kim Mulkey said following the win. "This win today doesn't win a championship for us, but it gives us more confidence that we're heading in the right direction, and getting healthier. And a road win is big. And when you're doing it against a team that's undefeated and ranked high, it shows what I've said, patience is a virtue, we're gonna get there."

Baylor extended their lead 68-52 at the beginning of the fourth period after capitalizing on multiple turnovers and fouls by the Longhorns. Texas started to fire back late in the fourth quarter, cutting the Lady Bear's lead to eight with 2:38 to go in the game.

The Longhorns weren't done; they continued their electrifying counter-attack in an attempt to hold onto their undefeated record. Their effort was not enough, Baylor closed out the game with an 80-67 victory, giving Texas their first loss of the season.

"We just didn't play the way we've been playing all year long." The Longhorns head coach Karen Aston said following the loss. "And I have to obviously give them some credit, they did some things that challenged us in a way that we haven't been challenged in awhile.

"But also we did some uncharacteristic things, like foul repeatedly, and just couldn't get a grip on how the officiating was going in the first half. That's uncharacteristic of our team right now because we've been so mature.

Jones finished off with 29 points in the outing followed by Nina Davis with 24. The win puts the Lady Bears at 18-1 and 5-1 in the Big 12, and puts Texas at 16-1 and 5-1 in the Big 12. The Longhorns and Baylor are tied for first place in the Big 12.