Smith 11th double-double for No. 10 Baylor women to beat UNT

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WACO, Texas (AP)NaLyssa Smith had 28 points and 11 rebounds for her 11th consecutive double-double, and four other Baylor players scored in double figures as the 10th-ranked Bears closed out their non-conference schedule with an 86-65 victory over North Texas on Wednesday night.

The only game preseason AP All-American Smith didn’t have a double-double was in the season opener.

Queen Egbo also had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds for Baylor (10-2). Caitlin Bickle added 13 points with three 3-pointers that matched her season total from the first 11 games. Jordan Lewis also had 13 points with seven assists, and Sarah Andrews scored 11 points.

Quincy Noble, the preseason Conference USA player of the year, had 18 points to lead North Texas (6-4). Jazion Jackson had 14 points and Aly Gamez 12, including a jumper just more than a minute into the game to give UNT its only lead at 2-0.

The 11-time defending Big 12 champion Bears then went on a 19-2 run while making eight of nine shots over a span of 4 1/2 minutes.

”I was proud of us. This sounds strange, but I wasn’t sure how good they were because they were good against good opponents,” Baylor coach Nicki Collen said. ”They hadn’t played a Power Five team with kind of our size, so I just knew that they had guards that were going to really attack us and get us in rotations and things like that. So just proud ultimately of how we got in transition.”

The Mean Green did have an 8-0 run midway through the second quarter to cut the deficit to 30-23 before Bickle hit a 3. They got within six in the closing minutes of the first half before another 3 by Bickle.

”We had a stretch, we went on a run, we were shooting it well in the first half. I didn’t think we shot it as well in the second half,” UNT coach Jalie Mitchell said. ”I’m never happy with a loss. I do think there were times where we really competed well, and there were times I think we needed to adjust quicker to slow down or stop the bleeding, in a sense.”

The Bears played their first game since a 74-68 overtime loss to ninth-ranked Michigan on Dec. 19 at the Hall of Fame Women’s Showcase in Uncasville, Connecticut.

North Texas was added to the Baylor schedule after Houston Baptist, which was originally supposed to play in Waco on Wednesday night, pulled out of the game last week because of COVID-19 protocols. The Mean Green had their first game since a loss at Wichita State on Dec. 17, four days before their scheduled game at Oklahoma State was canceled because of virus issues in that Big 12 program.

BIG PICTURE

North Texas: The Mean Green, whose three previous losses were by a combined 10 points, trailed 44-33 at halftime after missing their last four shots, then gave up the first six points after halftime. UNT finished 11 points below its season scoring average of 76.9 points.

Baylor: The Bears are 6-0 at home this season, and have won 67 consecutive non-conference games in the Ferrell Center. Their last home loss against at team from outside the Big 12 was to UConn in January 2014. Baylor’s only losses this season are against fellow Top 10 teams, the loss to Michigan and a 79-76 setback at Maryland.

SPLIT QUARTERS

North Texas outscored Baylor in both the second and fourth quarters, by two points both times. That was after the Bears jumped out a 26-13 lead after the first quarter and then outscored UNT 25-13 in a decisive third quarter.

UP NEXT

North Texas: Now to open Conference USA play Jan. 6 at UAB after Saturday’s scheduled road game was postponed because of COVID-19 protocols in Rice’s program.

Baylor: Set to play its Big 12 opener Sunday at Kansas State.

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

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