WACO, Texas (AP)—Seconds after the final buzzer sounded against Baylor, Texas players whooped and hollered their way off the court and into the tunnel.
The jubilant display was probably as much relief as it was celebration for the Longhorns.
Kathleen Nash had 11 points and 10 rebounds and No. 16 Texas bounced back from consecutive blowout losses to beat No. 4 Baylor 58-55 on Sunday.
“We have had some rough games lately,” Texas head coach Gail Goestenkors said. “When you hit adversity, character reveals itself. I think we saw some great character from our team.”
The Longhorns (15-5, 3-3 Big 12) lost by 20 to No. 2 Oklahoma on Jan. 24 and fell behind 19-3 in the game’s opening minutes before losing by 14 to No. 11 Texas A&M on Wednesday.
On Sunday, Texas scored the first 11 points of the game and then rallied from a seven-point hole early in the second half. This was highest ranked team the Longhorns have beaten since Goestenkors took over last season.
“This win is big for so many reasons,” Goestenkors said. “The road has not been kind to us in general. When you consider it was here at Baylor and at a point in our season where we need a big win, this was great for us.”
Baylor (17-3, 5-2), which lost to No. 2 Oklahoma on Wednesday, dropped two straight home games for the first time since the 1999-2000 season.
Lady Bears coach Kim Mulkey was more concerned with her team’s poor offense than its recent home struggles. After shooting 27 percent in losing to the Sooners, Baylor made 31 percent from the floor and missed half of their 26 throws against Texas.
Baylor’s four post players, Danielle Wilson, Rachel Allison, Ashley Field and Morghan Medlock, were 7-for-32 from the floor.
“To sum it up, we’re just not shooting the ball good,” Mulkey said. “We’re not making layups and we’re rushing shots. It’s us. It’s about Baylor right now.”
Wilson had 18 points and 10 rebounds, Jhasmin Player added 12 points and Jessica Morrow chipped in with 10 for the Lady Bears.
“We have to get better,” Player said. “It is not how you start, it is how you finish. That’s what it is all about.”
Brittainey Raven hit a pair of free throws to put Texas on top 53-51 with 2:46 left. With just a second on the shot clock, Kristen Nash scored her only points of the game—a layup that put Texas on top 55-51 with 1:19 left.
Kathleen Nash hit two free throws to give the Longhorns a 58-55 lead with 6.6 seconds left. Nash thought Texas was up by three, not by one, when she walked up to the foul line.
“I actually didn’t look at the scoreboard because I didn’t really want to,” Nash said. “That helped because I didn’t feel quite as much pressure.”
With a chance to tie, the Lady Bears missed a desperation shot as the final buzzer sounded.
“We will take it and hopefully gain some confidence from it,” Goestenkors said.
Texas went on a 6-0 run and took the lead for the first time since the opening half, 48-47, on Erika Arriaran’s short jumper with 5:55 left. Carla Cortijo, who had 11 points before fouling out, drove for a basket on the next possession to put the Longhorns up by three.
Baylor, which led 30-23 early in the second half, tied it up at 50 when Kelli Griffin nailed a 3-pointer from the corner.
The Lady Bears took a 51-50 advantage on Wilson’s free throw. But they missed their next eight shots from the field as Texas took the lead for good.