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Smith's career day guides Lady Bears to dominant win in conference home opener

Sophomore forward NaLyssa Smith set career highs in points and rebounds in the reigning national champions' win Sunday.
Credit: Kurtis Quillin/KCEN
NaLyssa Smith (1) goes up for a lay-up as the Baylor Lady Bears face the Oklahoma State Cowgirls in their Big 12 women's basketball home opener on Jan. 12, 2020. Baylor won, 94-48, moving to 13-1 overall, 2-0 in conference.

WACO, Texas — Inside the Ferrell Center, fans clad in green and gold Sunday, entered for a basketball game and left having watched the NaLyssa Smith show.

No. 6 Baylor beat Oklahoma State 94-48 in its conference home opener Sunday, moving to 13-1 overall and 2-0 in the Big 12.

Sophomore forward NaLyssa Smith led the game with a career-high 30 points and 15 rebounds, eight of which were on the offensive end of the floor.

"I felt like I played good in the fourth, last game," Smith said. "I knew I had to be consistent, so I came into this game knowing I had to keep the same mentality."

Smith had eight points in the first 10 minutes Sunday, going into halftime with 18 points.

In the past two games, at UConn and against OSU, Smith has 50 points and 27 rebounds, having set career highs twice in four days.

"That's what they said last game," Smith joked when asked about her performance Sunday.

The sophomore from Converse, saw significant playing time during her freshman season when the Lady Bears won the national championship and has been key for BU in her second season, alongside senior All-American Lauren Cox.

"I had no idea NaLyssa Smith had career highs in both," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said after the game. "It's not like they're sitting there, telling me. That kid is just growing."

Smith was one of three Lady Bears to score in double-figures, with Cox adding 14 and senior grad transfer Te'a Cooper scoring 16.

Adding to her 15 rebounds, Cox had 10 and fellow sophomore Queen Egbo added 15 as BU out-rebounded the Cowgirls 61-21.

On the defensive end, Baylor held OSU to just 25.0% shooting, which was its key as it only forced 8 OSU turnovers on two steals.

Moving forward, Mulkey said the Lady Bears will try to continue to address turnovers, citing Saturday's NFL playoff games.

"Don't turn the ball over," Mulkey said. "Don't turn the ball over, in any sport, and you'll win championships."

With that in mind, Mulkey, Smith and the Lady Bears will continue Big 12 play Wednesday at Kansas.

Tip is set for 7 p.m.

"We're going to see how many of these we can win and try to win a 10th straight championship," Mulkey said of the Lady Bears' Big 12 conference mission. "That's our mission, right now."

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