WACO, Texas (AP)Queen Egbo scored 22 points on 11-of-12 shooting and had 11 rebounds as sixth-ranked Baylor improved to 3-0 under new coach Nicki Collen with a 78-39 victory over New Orleans on Monday night.
”I felt comfortable, my guards made it very easy for me in the paint to get easy baskets,” said Egbo, a 6-foot-3 senior center. ”Definitely can’t take anything away from them, they made my life a lot better.”
Preseason AP All-America forward NaLyssa Smith also had a double-double, her second straight, finishing with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Sarah Andrews had 12 points and Caitlin Bickle scored 10.
After three games in seven days to open the season, the Bears have their biggest test so far on Sunday at third-ranked Maryland. They then play games on three consecutive days in the Cancun Challenge, starting on Thanksgiving morning.
”I don’t think any coach is probably happy with a lot of things this time of year,” said Collen, who coached the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream before Baylor. ”I think every game gives you something to look at and to work on.”
The Lady Bears shot 53.6% from the field (30 of 56) but were 6 of 23 on 3s and had 15 turnovers.
Brianna Ellis had 16 points and Jomyra Mathis 14 for the Privateers (0-2), a team filled with newcomers that at least took a lead in another lopsided loss to a Big 12 team and cut down on its turnovers.
”One word, growth, from Texas to Baylor. Very difficult schedule,” New Orleans coach Keeshawn Davenport said. ”But I’ve seen us grow in between these two games, and that’s all I’m asking this team to do, each game get a little bit better.”
New Orleans quickly fell behind 17-0 in losing its opener 131-36 last week at Texas, which moved up from 25th to 12th in the new AP poll earlier Monday after beating defending national champion Stanford on the road. The Privateers had more turnovers (38) than points against Texas, and still turned it over 25 times against Baylor.
The Privateers hit two free throws to open the scoring and then led Baylor 11-10 when Ellis made a 3-pointer from the left corner with 4:38 left in the first quarter. But that was their last lead. Andrews made a go-ahead layup for the Bears and then added a jumper.
Soon after that, New Orleans had a span with five missed shots and seven turnovers while Baylor scored 10 points in a row. The Bears led by double figures the rest of the game.
”Credit to them, but at the end of the day we played our game,” Andrews said.
New Orleans: Freshman guard Ellis, who played in 17 games last season that didn’t count against eligibility because of COVID-19, is the leading scorer for the Privateers. They have seven transfers among the eight newcomers, and Mathis is the only senior listed on the 16-player roster.
”We can’t get up and down the court with these Power Fives,” Davenport said. ”But understanding the chemistry that we have on the floor, work that on both ends of the floor, offensively and defensively, and just get better as the game goes on.”
Baylor: Smith and Egbo are proven returning players for the Bears. But along with a new coach, the 10-player roster is vastly different from last season. Jordan Lewis and Ja’Mee Asberry are transfers who are proven 3-point shooters. Asberry had five points while going 1 of 7 on 3s Monday, missing the first six, after she scored 17 points with five 3s in a win at Texas-Arlington.
New Orleans: Home opener Thursday night against crosstown rival Xavier (Louisiana).
Baylor: At No. 3 Maryland on Sunday.
More AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25