WACO, Texas (AP)Preseason AP All-America forward NaLyssa Smith scored 23 points, Queen Egbo had a double-double and seventh-ranked Baylor beat Texas State 77-70 on Tuesday night in the Bears’ first game with new coach Nicki Collen.
Smith scored nine of her points in the fourth quarter, including a three-point play after being fouled on a made putback basket. She followed with a steal that led to a breakaway layup with 1:52 left after the Bobcats got within 73-67 on back-to-back 3-pointers by Da’Nasia Hood.
Egbo finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds and Jordan Lewis had 14 points and seven assists for Baylor, which played its first home game without Kim Mulkey as its coach since February 23, 2000.
Mulkey, who won three national championships and 12 regular-season Big 12 titles in her 21 seasons, left in April and returned to her home state as LSU’s coach. Collen was preparing for her fourth season as head coach of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream when Baylor hired her.
Hood, a preseason All-Sun Belt Conference pick, led Texas State with 20 points, all coming after halftime. Jaeda Reed and Lauryn Thompson each had 10 points.
The Bears, who have won the last 11 Big 12 titles and made the NCAA Elite Eight last season, led throughout the opener despite a choppy performance. They jumped out to a 22-7 lead after the first quarter – and it was 15 going into the fourth quarter against a team picked to finish fourth in the Sun Belt Conference.
Texas State: Hood had a tough start. She missed her first seven shots and was scoreless until making a 3-pointer midway through the third quarter. The team’s leading scorer (15.7 per game) and rebounder (6.5 per game) last season finished 8-of-21 shooting overall with four 3s.
Baylor: Along with the new coach, transfer guards Jordan Lewis (Alabama) and Ja’Mee Asberry (Oklahoma State), made their Baylor debuts. The two had a combined 125 3-pointers last season, 15 more than the Bears had as a team. Both had one 3 on Tuesday, and the Bears finished with four (on 25 attempts).
Texas State: Hosts Huston Tillotson on Sunday.
Baylor: Travels about 100 miles to play Texas-Arlington on Thursday night.
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