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NO. 14 BAYLOR 82, KANSAS 79

Baylor women rally in final seconds, down Kansas, 82-79

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Baylor Kansas

Baylor guard Ja’Mee Asberry watches a 3-point shot in the Bears’ victory at Kansas on Sunday.

LAWRENCE, Kan. — The Baylor Bears women’s basketball team showed true grit to earn their first Big 12 win of the season.

Kansas built a four-point lead on its home court with less than 30 seconds to play, but Bears guard Ja’Mee Asberry hit a 3-pointer and a couple of free throws that helped lift No. 14 Baylor to an 82-79 victory over the Jayhawks on Sunday afternoon at Allen Fieldhouse.

Sarah Andrews, who had been red hot from 3-point range earlier in the contest, got a crucial offensive rebound with 14 seconds left and found Asberry for a trey that cut Kansas’ lead to 79-78.

After a timeout moved the ball into the Jayhawks’ end of the court, Baylor guard Jordan Lewis stole the inbounds pass and Kansas’ Julie Brosseau fouled Asberry with eight seconds left.

Asberry calmly stepped to the line and made two free throws that put the Bears in front to stay.

Baylor forward NaLyssa Smith fought for a rebound following a Kansas miss with less than five seconds on the clock. The Jayhawks fouled Andrews, who connected on two more free throws for a three-point edge. When Kansas couldn’t get a shot off in the final 1.5 seconds, the Bears had survived another closely contested Big 12 scrum.

Bears coach Nicki Collen called timeout with 24 seconds left and designed a play to get Asberry a 3-point shot. The graduate transfer guard missed on the first one, but Andrews corralled the rebound and sent the ball back to her teammate.

“I knew she was going to knock that down when I threw it right back to her,” Andrews said. “I knew it was going in as soon as it left her hands.”

Andrews scored a game-high 25 points and dished out six assists, including the final pivotal pass to Asberry. Andrews tossed in 7 of 10 from 3-point range, the most made treys for a Lady Bear since Juicy Landrum hit 14 in December of 2019.

“It really built a lot of confidence, especially for Sarah,” Asberry said. “That will definitely build up her confidence the rest of the year. She knows she can hit 7, maybe 8, maybe get to that 10 mark. I’m very happy for her.”

As a team, Baylor (11-4, 1-2 Big 12) hit 14 from beyond the arc, the second most in program history.

The Bears needed all of them as Kansas (11-3, 2-2) kept coming all afternoon long. The Jayhawks shot 50% from the field and made 10 3-pointers of their own.

But Kansas, despite winning its previous game at No. 13 Texas, couldn’t continue Baylor’s rough patch at the start of conference play.

Baylor lost its Big 12 opener at Kansas State on Jan. 2 when the Bears suited up just seven players due to COVID-19 health and safety protocol. After that, Baylor had to pause due to protocols and postponed two home games. The Bears finally returned to the court earlier this week and dropped a six-point decision at Oklahoma.

“(The Baylor players) needed that weight lifted more than I did, to be honest with you,” Collen said. “I think this team needed to be rewarded.”

Baylor was 0-2 in conference play for the first time since Sonja Hogg’s final season at the helm in 2000. Now the Bears can look forward to a home game against Oklahoma State on Wednesday.

Collen said her team showed resiliency throughout the last few weeks.

“Even after the last game, kind of the challenge in the locker room was I asked each of them, I looked at them in the eye and said ‘Are you ready to quit or are you ready to figure this out?’” Collen said. “Our practices have been great, our energy’s been great, our positivity’s been great.”

Baylor trailed for a large portion of the first half until the Bears heated up from 3-point range late in the first quarter and early in the second.

Andrews hit Baylor’s first trey of the contest with 35 seconds left in the first quarter, cutting Kansas’ lead to 17-14. Andrews followed with a bucket from deep 15 seconds in the second quarter and two more in the first two and a half minutes of the period.

Asberry added another 3-pointer in that stretch as she and Andrews fueled an 18-7 run that put the Bears in front for the rest of the first half.

Jaden Owens got in the act with a trey that gave Baylor a 34-26 lead midway through the second quarter. The Bears hit 6 of 10 from beyond the arc in the second quarter alone.

Queen Egbo hit a mid-range jumper from the baseline for Baylor’s final basket of the second quarter, which it won, 27-16.

Kansas guard Zakiya Franklin made a 3-pointer with the clock winding down in the first half that sliced Baylor’s lead to 41-36 at intermission.

Andrews led Baylor with 14 points and four assists in the first 20 minutes. Kersgieter paced Kansas with 12.

Both Smith and Egbo finished with double-doubles. Smith scored 15 points with 10 rebounds, while Egbo had 10 points and 10 boards. Asberry finished with 20 points and pulled down five rebounds.

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