No. 13 Texas falls to No. 9 Baylor, 63-55 in third straight loss

Amsal Madhani, Sports Reporter

Midway through the fourth quarter, Texas led Baylor 50-47 and was looking to make a big-time play on defense to help stretch its lead out.

Baylor put the ball in senior forward Caitlin Bickle’s hands to try and cut the Longhorns’ lead down. However, sophomore forward DeYona Gaston had different plans. Gaston had been anchoring the paint for Texas the entire game, and she wasn’t about to let up in clutch time.

Bickle tested Gaston, driving into the paint to try and get off a layup. Gaston swooped in at the right time and swatted her shot into the stands. The crowd at the Frank Erwin Center roared after the terrific play, and momentum seemed to have been shifting to the Longhorns’ side.

That wasn’t the case, however. Things started to go south immediately after as Baylor went on a 13-5 run to end the game behind star player NaLyssa Smith and closed out Texas 63-55.

“It was a possession game tonight, and I think the last tie was 50-50,” Texas head coach Vic Schaefer said. “From there it kind of got away from us, and, just the execution, I mean we got some good looks, some good looks inside. We also had some free throw opportunities where we didn’t make free throws. So, this is what happens when you go up against a top 10 basketball team.”

Following Friday’s loss to Baylor, the Longhorns hoped to get vengeance against the team that had just beat them and won the last twelve matchups. Throughout the first half, it was starting to look that way as the Longhorns forced the Bears into 11 turnovers and were playing physically.

In the second half, however, things started to turn as Baylor began to protect the ball and break down Texas’ press defense at the half-court line.

Along with that, the Longhorns could not buy a stop in the final minutes of the game. Smith just found a way to hit tough shots in crunch time, scoring six straight points after the Lady Bears led the Longhorns 51-50 late in the fourth.

“It was kind of a mindset where we were like, ‘We’re not going to lose this game,’” Smith said. “We worked way too hard to lose that game, so I just knew I had to do what I had to do and get the team together. We all have the same goals, so I just went out and executed.”

With back-to-back losses to Baylor this past weekend and its loss to Oklahoma on Jan. 29, Texas now falls to 15–6 with its third straight loss.

“These kids are resilient,” Schaefer said. “They’ll bounce back. They were good yesterday in practice, and they were good in shootaround today. They’re kids, so.”