No. 4 Baylor women rebound, win 78-68 over No. 18 Oklahoma
WACO, Texas (AP) Niya Johnson was back for No. 4 Baylor, and the Lady Bears quickly rebounded from their first loss.
Johnson returned Sunday with 10 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds, playing all 40 minutes in a 78-68 victory over No. 18 Oklahoma, four days after the Lady Bears lost their Big 12 opener with their senior point guard sitting on the bench because of a bone bruise in her ankle.
''She almost had a triple-double today, and she hasn't practiced in 12 days. It's just hard to explain the value of a point guard who only averages six points a game,'' coach Kim Mulkey said. ''It's what she does when the game's on the line. One big pass. One big loose ball. One transition stop. One transition run. One long rebound. Not to mention all the shots she gets to teammates in positions to score easily.''
Duke transfer Alexis Jones scored a career-high 25 points for Baylor (14-1, 1-1 Big 12), Nina Davis had 24 points and Johnson was in the middle of some key runs.
Oklahoma (10-3, 1-1) had an early five-point lead, but never led again after Baylor finished the first quarter with an 8-2 run that was started by consecutive jumpers by Johnson.
''Niya Johnson makes a bit of a difference for this team, don't you think? Eleven assists,'' Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said. ''All of a sudden they've got 24 assists again. That's the reason they average that, because she's such the anchor for them. The brains and the toughness and the vision and the leadership. She's all that. She was very impressive again tonight.''
Peyton Little scored 19 points for Oklahoma. Gabbi Ortiz added 14, and Kaylon Williams and T'ona Edwards had 11 each.
Little had a layup and a 3-pointer to cap an 11-2 run in the third quarter for the Sooners, getting them to 53-50. But they got no closer, with Johnson converting a third-play play late in the quarter to end that spurt and make it 56-50 - and Baylor maintained at least a six-point lead the rest of the game.
In their 52-45 loss at Oklahoma State on Wednesday night, the Lady Bears had their season-low in points and field-goal shooting (30 percent) along with seven assists and 18 turnovers. They had 24 assists on 30 field goals against Oklahoma.
''It felt great being around my teammates again, pushing the ball,'' said Johnson, describing her ankle as so but not painful. ''I'm just trying to have fun out there, make my teammates better. Just compete. Just trying to get my groove back.''
NO MORE ZERO
At halftime, Baylor retired the No. 0 jersey of former All-America point guard Odyssey Sims, who was part of Baylor's 2012 undefeated national championship team and left two seasons ago as the school's career assists leader. It is the fifth jersey retired by the Lady Bears. Sims is No. 3 on Baylor's career scoring list with 2,533 points and now No. 2 in assists with 641, behind the 815 by her predecessor, Johnson.
Oklahoma: Ortiz and Little each had four 3-pointers. ... The Sooners committed turnovers on three consecutive possessions late in the first quarter that that led to six Baylor points. Oklahoma finished with 16 turnovers, two fewer than Baylor.
Baylor: Mulkey is 98-40 against ranked teams, 42-8 since 2011-12.
Oklahoma: at TCU on Wednesday night.
Baylor: at Kansas on Wednesday night.