Rellah Boothe provides spark off the bench
Freshman forward Rellah Boothe entered the game earlier than expected after junior center Jatarie White got into foul trouble.
Boothe played the final three minutes of the first quarter once White was called for her second foul, and held her own against Baylor’s experienced frontcourt. Texas head coach Karen Aston kept Boothe in at the start of the second quarter and played her more throughout the game.
Boothe racked up eight points and five rebounds in a career-high-tying 18 minutes.
“Every moment like this is a really good teaching moment for her,” Aston said. “She’s learning, as all the young players are.”
Longhorns can’t contain Baylor’s Kristy Wallace
In the first meeting with Texas this season Jan. 25, Baylor senior guard Kristy Wallace scorched the Longhorns for 27 points.
On Monday night at the Frank Erwin Center, the Longhorns struggled to keep up with her again. She cashed in on numerous layups and mid-range jump shots, torching Texas again for 23 points on 10-of-19 shooting.
“I think she’s had an unbelievable year for them,” Aston said. “She’s a senior that has got that sense of urgency about her. She has people setting great screens for her that she comes off of and really has an intention to shoot the ball.”
Brooke McCarty finds her stroke
Senior guard Brooke McCarty has struggled from deep all season. Entering Monday’s game, McCarty was shooting a career-low 32.4 percent from three, down from her 38.7 percent career average.
But the senior turned things around against Baylor. McCarty made a career-high seven triples on nine tries, including a buzzer-beating running hook shot from the right wing just before the end of the third quarter.
“I was just trying to do whatever I could to get my team the points,” McCarty said. “We have to take this, watch film and then prepare for the next game.”
McCarty finished the game with a career-high 32 points on 12-of-18 shooting.
Baylor boxes out
While Boothe and sophomore forward Joyner Holmes combined for 14 rebounds, they didn’t get much help from their supporting cast.
Texas started the game off even keel on the boards with Baylor. The teams were tied with nine rebounds each at the end of the first quarter. The Bears took over from there. They grabbed 11 more than the Longhorns in the second quarter and finished the game holding a 42-27 advantage.
The extra possessions proved fruitful for Baylor as the Bears scored 11 second-chance points.
“We couldn’t get any offensive rebounds,” Aston said. “It’s been a long time since we only had six offensive rebounds in a game. Credit to them.”
Baylor crushes Texas inside, clinches Big 12
The Bears also didn’t need much space to dominate inside. Baylor only drained one of its five attempts from outside, but still finished the game with 93 points.
A lot of Baylor’s offense came at the free throw line or in the lane. The Bears were 18-for-22 from the charity stripe and outscored Texas 54-36 in the paint.
Baylor’s win over the Longhorns earned the Bears the Big 12 regular season title. The Bears are now 16–0 in conference play and 26–1 overall, ranking third in the AP poll.
“I’m just so blessed to even be competing for this team and competing for this championship,” Wallace said.