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Big 12 Bi-Weekly Roundup: Taylor Robertson Breaks A Record
Catching up on the latest happenings in the Big 12.
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Welcome back to the Big 12 Bi-Weekly Roundup. Two weeks ago, I wrote about how the Big 12 was going through a weird period, with the standings all shaken up by injuries.
Two weeks later, things make a little more sense. Iowa State has won four in a row and Texas has won three in a row, putting both teams at 7-2 in conference play, ahead of third-place Oklahoma. That’s a Big 12 that makes sense—not the one two weeks ago that had Iowa State behind Oklahoma State and Kansas below Texas Tech.
Before we take stock of the last two weeks though, let’s talk about Taylor Robertson, who now has the Division I record for 3-pointers made.
Taylor Robertson is an elite shooter
Move over, Kelsey Mitchell. There’s a new career 3-point leader in women’s college basketball, and it’s Oklahoma’s Taylor Robertson.
On Saturday against Texas, Robertson connected on the 498th three of her career, moving her past Mitchell. And with a lot of basketball left to play this season, Robertson has a chance to really put this record out of reach for everyone.
To be fair, Robertson’s record happened because of a unique circumstance, as she’s played five seasons for the Sooners because of the COVID year. But while that’s contributed to her volume, she’s shot over 42% from deep in every one of her seasons at OU.
In fact, Robertson is the only player in the Her Hoop Stats database to have shot over 42% from three on five or more attempts per game in more than three seasons—she’s done it four times and is well on her way to making it five. No one—since 2009, at least—has been this efficient from deep on this kind of volume. Kelsey Mitchell might have had the 3-point record before Robertson, but hers was more about volume than it was about efficiency, as she shot over 40% from deep just once.
Robertson doesn’t really get a lot of attention, though, because she’s a fairly one-dimensional player. She only averages 1.1 field-goal attempts per game this year inside of the arc; her offensive game is almost entirely predicated on shooting the basketball from long distance, though she does average 2.6 assists per game as well.
But it’s okay to be one-dimensional when you’re so good at that dimension. Per CBB Analytics, the Sooners have an offensive rating of 114.1 when Robertson is on the floor, which ranks in the 98th percentile. When she’s not on the floor, it falls to 99.9, which ranks in the 73rd percentile.
Robertson’s lethal 3-point shooting really opens the floor up for the Sooners: more room for Madi Williams and Skylar Vann to drive to the basket, and more open space for other players to shoot. Without her, OU likely wouldn’t be third in the country in scoring.
What’s happened in the Big 12 these last two weeks?
As I mentioned above, Iowa State and Texas have jumped to the top of the conference. Both teams have 7-2 records in conference play and multi-game win streaks—three for the Longhorns and four for the Cyclones.
On the Texas side…well, the Longhorns are really just finally playing like the team that the AP voters thought they were before the season began, when Texas was ranked third in the initial AP poll. The Longhorns rank 18th in the country in defensive rating, and during this win streak, held Oklahoma to 58 points.
For some context there: the Sooners average 85.4 points per game. Prior to the Texas game, Oklahoma’s worst scoring effort of the year was 69 points. But Texas held the Sooners to 35.6% shooting and forced 24 turnovers in the 20-point victory.
As for Iowa State, the Cyclones had to adjust to not having Stephanie Soares after her season-ending ACL tear. While it was a little rough at first, they’ve now run off four straight wins, including a 40-point takedown of TCU. Morgan Kane has stepped into a bigger role, scoring in double figures in three of the last four games.
Oklahoma, West Virginia and Baylor are the other three Big 12 teams with conference records above .500. Oklahoma had looked like it could put up a fight to win the conference, but with those two losses coming to Texas and Iowa State…well, it complicates that, though Oklahoma still has plenty of time to get back to the top of the standings. It helps that they don’t play the Cyclones again.
West Virginia has been a good story, winning two in a row and five of its last six games. Only one of those wins was against one of the conference’s top teams, though, and the schedule is about to get really tough for the Mountaineers. They play Texas two more times and still have dates with Oklahoma, Iowa State and Baylor.
Speaking of Baylor, Aijha Blackwell has seen limited action over the last two weeks. It’s clear, though, that she’s still dealing with her leg injury and that the team is playing it safe with her. Head coach Nicki Collen essentially said as much to ESPN early in January:
“She didn't sign a medical release, so I can't really speak on the specifics," Collen said of Blackwell's leg injury. "But we're not going to bring her back until she's close to 100%. Her future's too important. This is about protecting her. It's about extending her career, and her being able to make money playing this game someday.”
Kansas sits at .500 in conference play, while Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Kansas State and TCU are all under .500. The Horned Frogs are 0-9 in Big 12 play right now and remain the only Big 12 school with an overall record under .500, as they sit at 6-14.
HHS Big 12 Player of the Week(s): Ashley Joens (Iowa State): Joens has been huge over the course of the Cyclones’ winning streak, including scoring 32 points in the team’s recent win over Oklahoma. In her last four games, Joens has three double-doubles, as well as three games with multiple steals. The star wing is averaging 20.2 points per game on the season.
Runner-up: Shaylee Gonzales (Texas): You could probably award this to a number of Longhorns players, as it’s been a real team effort over this three-game win streak. But Gonzales had 17 points on 7-for-10 shooting against Oklahoma State, and she also filled the stat sheet up the game before against the Sooners: 12 points, six rebounds, seven assists and four steals.
Top Big 12 games to watch over the next two weeks:
All times are Eastern
Texas @ West Virginia - Wednesday, Feb. 1 - 7:00 p.m. - ESPN+
West Virginia @ Oklahoma - Saturday, Feb. 4 - 3:00 p.m. - ESPN+
Texas @ Kansas - Saturday, Feb. 4 - 5:00 p.m. - ESPN+
Baylor @ Iowa State - Saturday, Feb. 4 - 6:00 p.m. - ESPN U
Oklahoma @ Baylor - Tuesday, Feb. 7 - 8:00 p.m. - ESPN+
Iowa State @ West Virginia - Saturday, Feb. 11 - 6:00 p.m. - ESPN+
Texas @ Iowa State - Monday, Feb. 14 - 7:00 p.m. - ESPN2
Big 12 standings:
Here are the current Big 12 standings: