It's another week of Stock Up, Stock Down here, and we're going to spend a little extra time than usual looking at one topic: the two games between Baylor and Texas. We'll touch on some other things later, but any time you get the two best teams in the state playing back-to-back games, you've got to start there.
Stock Up: Baylor, Stock Down: Texas
NaLyssa Smith has a very good chance of graduating college without a loss to Texas.
The Bears took down Texas on Friday in Waco 75-63, then followed that up with a 63-55 win on Sunday in Austin.
That second game saw Baylor score just 18 points in the first half, with the Texas defense looking like it had maybe figured out how to stop the Bears.
But nope. Baylor outscored Texas 27-17 in the third quarter to take control of that game. Smith finished with 28 points and 13 rebounds, while Ja'Mee Asbberry had 13 points.
In the first game, Smith had 25 points on 10-for-12 shooting.
So, what did we learn from these games?
For one, Baylor still has that second gear. Sure, the team is relying more on its shooting than we're used to, but Baylor can still just run things through NaLyssa Smith and swing games wildly because of it.
There are occasions when Baylor can be a little frustrating to watch, but I think a big part of that is the depth concerns. You can't just run 40 minutes of "get the ball to NaLyssa Smith every time down" because you have to keep her fresh and you have to keep her out of foul trouble, because with Queen Egbo's tendency to foul, you can't really afford to have to sit both of them when you don't have a fourth big that you want to play.
But as long as the team's increased shooting quality keeps up, you can win without having to ask Smith to take 25 shots. She took just 12 in the first game, which Baylor won pretty comfortably because Asberry was 4-for-10 from three.
Baylor is now in the 88th percentile in three-point percentage. Remember being worried about this team earlier in the year because they weren't making those shots? They are now.
As for Texas, the defense showed at times in these games that it could slow down Baylor, but the offense had some struggles.
Per Her Hoop Stats, Texas is in the 97th percentile in defensive rating, allowing 77.9 points per 100 possessions. But on the other end, the team is kind of looking like...well, the old Baylor, but without as much top-end talent.
Texas is in the ninth percentile in three-point attempt rate. The team is taking a lot of shots inside the paint and while the team ranks in the top 100 in field goal percentage and effective field goal percentage, the kind of shots they take limit some upside, especially against a team like. Baylor.
Take the second game, for instance. Texas got a combined 3-for-8 shooting night out of its two starting bigs, Lauren Ebo and Aaliyah Moore. Aliyah Matharu was the only Texas played to attempt more than two three-pointers, but she was only 1-for-7.
The offense just isn't really hitting on all cylinders on a consistent basis. Against a team like Baylor, you have to stretch things out to score, but you also need someone who can hit those shots.
Anyway, Texas: maybe not as ready to compete for a Big 12 title as we thought earlier in the year.
Stock Up: UT-Arlington
Y'all, UTA leads the Sun Belt. With a five-game win streak, the Mavs are 8-2 in conference play.
It's a real shame that the team's NCAA Tournament hopes rest on having to likely beat Troy in the conference title game, but anything can happen in a single game.
UTA is coming off of an 88-79 win over App State, with Starr Jacobs scoring 33 points on 13-for-25 shooting in the win with 10 rebounds.
It's just wild how good Jacobs has been. She's exactly what this team was missing.
Also notable for this team: of its five remaining conference games, four will be played at home.
Stock Up: Sam Houston
The win streak is five now.
It took overtime to beat Dixie State and the Bearkats just eked out a 69-66 win over Utah Valley, but this team — which looked basically dead in the water just a couple of weeks back — now has a really strong shot to get to .500 in conference play on Saturday when it plays a 4-15 Chicago State team.
If Sam Houston can upset a strong Lamar team after that, then fourth place in the conference is still very much in play. I can't fully believe this turnaround, but I guess don't doubt that a team with Faith Cook and Courtney Cleveland can go out and beat anyone.