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Lady Bears return to dominance over Oklahoma State

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) - Baylor has a very potent offense, ranking second in the nation in scoring. The Lady Bears' defense though rose to the occasion against Oklahoma State.

Kalani Brown scored 20 points and added 23 rebounds and Dekeiya Cohen totaled 20 points and 11 boards to help lead No. 3 Baylor to a dominating 87-45 victory over No. 21 Oklahoma State.

Kristy Wallace also had 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Lady Bears (24-1, 14-0 Big 12), who won their 21st straight game, tied for the nation's third-longest current streak.

Baylor, which came in sitting 16th in the nation having allowed an average of 55.3 points per contest, built up a big lead during the first quarter and never looked back, limiting Oklahoma State to just 21.3 percent shooting (13 for 61) on the night, establishing the Cowgirls' lowest mark of the season by a wide margin.

"I thought our defense was good," said Baylor coach Kim Mulkey. "Defense set the tone. I just thought we kind of made everything hard for them, we wouldn't let them get in the paint, we contested everything. We never gave them any open looks with the ball in their hands."

Baylor outscored Oklahoma State 52-14 in the paint and the Lady Bears won the bench battle 17-1. They also held the Cowgirls to just 11.8 percent shooting from 3-point range (2 for 17).

"I think we took away a lot of the perimeter 3s," Mulkey added. "Their bench killed our bench in Waco (in Baylor's much more competitive 77-64 win on Jan. 31). We wanted to eliminate all the extra scoring on the perimeter. I thought we contested things, I thought we were outside the 3 every time they touched it. They got a lot of free throws, but we didn't allow the free throws to beat us."

Kaylee Jensen, the reigning Big 12 Player of the Week, scored 18 points and added seven rebounds for Oklahoma State (18-7, 9-5). Lauren Goodwin just missed a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds.

"Obviously, a very difficult night, a very frustrating night, a very disappointing night," said Cowgirls coach Jim Littell. "No excuses, we got dominated in virtually every phase of the game. A big part of our game is based on getting the ball inside and scoring inside and they're very difficult to score on inside. Their length, their size, causes us a lot of difficulty and you just can't shoot 21 percent from the floor and 1 for 11 (in the fourth quarter). I thought we would play better. It's frustrating but I believe in our kids. We've got to be pretty resilient on this, turn the page in a hurry."

Baylor, which began the day leading the nation with a plus-18.7 rebounding margin, out-rebounded Oklahoma State 57-28.

BIG PICTURE

Baylor: The Lady Bears proved once again that they are the class of the Big 12, utilizing a dominant 14-0 run over the course of seven minutes of the opening quarter to take control of the game. And once Baylor established a double-digit lead, they continued to build on it, never letting Oklahoma State a chance to get back in the game. After holding the Cowgirls to just 18.9 percent shooting (7 for 37) in the first half, the Lady Bears carried a commanding 44-23 lead into halftime.

Oklahoma State: As impressive as the Cowgirls have looked for most of this season, their performance against the Bears demonstrates just how much further they have to go before they can be considered among the nation's elite. As good as Jensen and Goodwin are, they had virtually no room out there and each endured difficult shooting nights (Jensen 7 for 23, Goodwin 2 for 16). Oklahoma State had considerable trouble penetrating inside and although they were a bit more competitive in the second half, particularly during a modest 7-2 run early in the third quarter that pulled OSU to within 48-30, it was not nearly enough.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

As impressive a win as it was, Baylor seems unlikely to move up in the rankings at all, given they are already at No. 3, unless either No. 1 Connecticut or No. 2 Mississippi State stumbles this week, which is unlikely. Based on how thoroughly they were defeated, though, it wouldn't be surprising to see Oklahoma State drop a couple of notches.

TURNING POINT

Braxtin Miller gave Oklahoma State a 5-2 advantage with a 10-foot jump shot just 1:05 into the contest, but the Cowgirls couldn't have known at that point that they would miss their next 14 shots from the floor, or that Baylor would go on an 18-2 run over the next eight minutes, or a 26-4 run over the next 11 to take control of the contest. Baylor just kept adding to the lead and the game was never even remotely competitive again.

UP NEXT

Baylor: The Lady Bears return home to Waco to take on Kansas on Saturday. They already beat the Jayhawks 83-48 back on Jan. 6.

Oklahoma State: The Cowgirls remain at home and face another difficult test as No. 6 Texas visits on Saturday.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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