By Jerry Hill
Baylor Bear Foundation
Upset-minded Oklahoma found itself in the perfect storm, with Baylor's 6-foot-7 junior All-American on the bench in early foul trouble and the Lady Bears missing their first four shots.
Down by six at the end of the first quarter, the fifth-ranked Lady Bears rode senior co-captains Dekeiya Cohen and Kristy Wallace to a 74-52 victory over the Sooners Sunday afternoon despite off games from Brown and 6-4 sophomore Lauren Cox.
"You can't be any more proud of your two seniors," Mulkey said of Cohen and Wallace, who scored 16 and 15 points, respectively. "Your two seniors carried your ball club today."
Brown came in averaging a Big 12-high 21.5 points per game and a national-best 72.3 field goal percentage, but picked up her first foul just 43 seconds into the game and was called for an unsportsmanlike penalty at the 6:38 mark of the first quarter when she inadvertently hit OU center Vionise Pierre-Louis with an elbow to the face.
Even with Brown sitting out the rest of the first half, the Lady Bears (15-1, 5-0) came back from a seven-point deficit to tie it up at 16-16 on a three-point play by Wallace at the 1:15 mark of the first quarter. Freshman guard Ana Llanusa, who finished with a game-high 19 points, drained back-to-back 3-pointers in a 30-second stretch to give OU a 22-16 lead.
Baylor's defense took over in the second quarter, holding the Sooners to 2-of-13 shooting from the field, forcing four turnovers and giving up just eight points.
"We did the same thing in the second quarter that we did in the first. We just made baskets in the first and didn't in the second," said OU coach Sherri Coale, whose team fell to 8-9 overall and 3-3 in the Big 12. "I wish I had an answer for why you miss layups or why you miss open shots. I don't."
"We knew the moment that Kalani got called for her second foul that everyone had to step up," Chou said, "because Kalani is such a big factor on our team. We just had to go out there and play hard for her."
After shooting 53.3 percent in the first quarter, including 4-of-6 from outside the arc, the Sooners were just 7-of-41 (17 percent) over the last three quarters and 3-of-14 from 3-point range.
"Sometimes, you have to win ugly," Mulkey said. "We tried our best to not let them get on a roll and hit a lot of threes. . . . I thought our defense was pretty good. We held them to less than 30 percent from the field for the game (26.8 percent). When it got ugly on one end, just make sure you make it just as ugly on the other end."
Wallace, who came in needing just four points to become the Lady Bears' 35th 1,000-point scorer, had a baseline drive for a layup at the 6:30 mark in the third quarter to reach that milestone and finish off an extended 15-2 run that gave Baylor a 41-32 lead.
"She has had a remarkable career, and she's such a great ambassador not just for our program but for all of Baylor," Mulkey said of Wallace, who finished 6-of-12 after missing five of her first six shots. "What you see in the game is what we see every day in practice. That's how she plays."
With both Brown and Cox plagued with foul trouble and scoring less than half of what they average, Cohen stepped up to have "one of the best performances of her career," Mulkey said. She had 16 points, six rebounds and two blocks and was a standout on the defensive end.
"She guarded (Pierre-Louis) when Kalani was sitting on the bench and Cox was playing behind and wasn't moving her feet," Mulkey said. "Dekeiya took it upon herself, `OK, Coach, I'll guard her for you.' And she banged with her. And then the next minute, we asked Dekeiya to go outside and guard (Gabby Ortiz). She had a couple big putbacks for us and then she just nailed wide-open shots."
Brown (nine points, eight rebounds) and Cox (eight points, 10 boards) did help Baylor dominate the rebounding battle, 47-29, and outscore OU, 38-14, on points in the paint.
The Lady Bears also got 12 points from Chou, while Pierre-Louis had 14 and Ortiz 11 for the Sooners. They scored the last six points for OU after Baylor had stretched its lead to 72-44.
"I hate the way the game ended," Mulkey said. "Those weren't mop-up minutes in my eyes, those are valuable minutes. And we didn't end it very well. It's a win, I understand that, but you're not going to beat teams that are extremely good and will shoot the ball better than OU did today."
Baylor, which extended its winning streak to 12, finishes a three-game road swing with a matchup against Iowa State (8-9, 2-4) at 8 p.m. Wednesday in another FS1 telecast.