Give credit to the Oklahoma schools for giving the top two Texas squads all they could handle this past week.
In No. 1 Baylor’s closest victory of Big 12 play so far, the Lady Bears were up by just two points heading into the final quarter Wednesday where they proceeded to outscore Oklahoma State 20-10 to wrap things up. For the Cowgirls, holding top scorer Kalani Brown to just four points from the floor was an achievement of its own.
Meanwhile, in Norman, an Oklahoma squad that’s now on an eight-game losing streak showed glimmers of their past selves — the team has posed a legitimate threat in the NCAA Tournament a handful of times this decade — in hanging in there with with No. 14 Texas after a dreadful first quarter.
There was a difference between the stories behind these performances, though. While a close game is something of an anomaly for this year’s Baylor squad, Texas was coming off a loss to third place and unranked West Virginia. The Longhorns had the last three quarters to rectify their woes after falling behind early, but they couldn’t.
Baylor, on the other hand, followed up its close game with a 59-point shellacking of Texas Tech — seemingly no harm done.
Considering Texas’ struggles in Big 12 play — their other loss being an 18-point rout courtesy of sixth-place Kansas State back on Jan. 16 — it’s hard to imagine tonight’s meeting being as close as last season’s game in Austin, which Baylor won by just six points. This, plus the fact that the Longhorns’ only three conference losses last season were to Baylor twice and TCU once in a two-point heartbreaker.
Texas’ most recent win over Baylor isn’t ancient history; it was in 2017, and in Waco, no less. But with the Longhorns unable to grab a top-10 home win in the chances they’ve had this season against then-No. 6 Mississippi State and then-No. 9 Tennessee, it feels unlikely — not impossible, but unlikely all the same — that their first would be against the top-ranked team in the country.
No. 1 Baylor Lady Bears (19-1, 9-0) at No. 14 Texas Longhorns (18-4, 8-2)
When: Monday, Feb. 4, at 7 p.m. ET
Where: Frank C. Erwin, Jr. Special Events Center, Austin, TX
How to watch: ESPN2