For the past three seasons Baylor has been virtually unstoppable in Big 12 play.
However, on Sunday Kansas pulled off an improbable upset in beating No. 7 Baylor 76-60, snapping the nation’s longest active conference win streak at 44 games. Baylor’s last Big 12 loss was Feb. 19, 2011 against Texas Tech.
“It is a great win for us in conference play against a team that’s had the history and the success that were all working our tails off every day,” Kansas head coach Bonnie Henrickson said.
Kansas improved to 9-9 and 2-4 in conference play, while Baylor dropped to 14-3 and 4-1. It also ended an eight-game losing streak to the Bears and was the Jayhawks’ first win against them in Allen Fieldhouse since 2009.
Kansas faced an early 13-4 deficit but took a one-point lead with 32 seconds left in the first half and trailed 32-31 at the break. Kansas was just the second team this season to hold Baylor to 32 points or less in a half, joining Connecticut, which allowed 27 points in the first half and 28 in the second last Monday.
The teams traded leads in the second half before a 7-0 run by the Jayhawks, which including five straight points from junior guard Asia Boyd, that gave them a 53-47 lead with 9:47 left in the game. Kansas pushed the lead to double digits with a 9-0 run in the final minutes.
“We haven’t been on the road a whole lot this year by choice, because we’ve got to grow up,” Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey said. “There are a lot of little things that we will fix, but it will take time.”
The Bears lost four starters from last year’s team, including Wade Trophy Award winner and three-time Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Player of the Year Brittney Griner, who is now playing the WNBA. Their only returner, senior guard Odyssey Sims, entered Sunday averaging a nation-best 31.1 points per game and scored 31. She also pulled down a career-high 12 rebounds and was the only Baylor player to break double figures.
Baylor shot just 30 percent from the field for the second straight game, both losses. Kansas shot 42.6 percent.
Junior forward Chelsea Gardner led the Jayhawks with 28 points and 13 rebounds. Junior guard Natalie Knight and senior guard CeCe Harper added 18 and 10 points, respectively.