By Parmida Schahhosseini
Baylor’s defense fueled its offense as the Baylor Lady Bears cruised to a 111-52 win in an exhibition game over Palm Beach Atlantic on Wednesday. Senior point guard Odyssey Sims led the team with 21 points, eight rebounds, six assists and five steals.
Without Brittney Griner and last year’s seniors in the lineup, this was a different Baylor team, but it showed its fight as all 11 players scored in the game.
“It was good to see us have energy,” Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey said. “The press, the transition–we’re a team that’s going to have to do a lot of that this year until our post grow up and get more experience. We have to create things on the defensive end of the floor in the full court setting. We stayed with what we wanted to do: press and run, press and run.”
Baylor’s bench provided plenty of production with freshman point guard Ieshia Small and freshman post Khadijiah Cave accounting for 13 points apiece and sophomore post Kristina Higgins adding 12 points. Cave had most of her points in the paint, in which she attacked defenders and drew multiple fouls.
Senior guard Makenzie Robertson gave the Bears a lift on the boards with 15 rebounds and added seven points along the way.
“I just want to do everything I can to stay on the floor and if that means rebounding then I will get my little self in there and do whatever I can to get the ball,” Robertson said.
Baylor’s defense coupled with its effective guard play allowed Baylor to overcome its slow start. Sims set the tone early, scoring the first six points of the game, but slowly Baylor began to extend its lead.
Baylor was held without a field goal with three minutes until Cave’s aggressiveness on the board began to open up the game.
“KK [Cave] has a knack for getting offensive boards and that will get your some playing time because you can’t teach that,” Mulkey said. “That’s instinct and we noticed that quickly in practice, and she did just exactly what she’s been doing in practice. She runs the floor like a deer and is very active.”
With the offense beginning to come together, Sims continued to stay aggressive and attack the ball. She had multiple steals in which she ran down the court and laid it in, drawing the contact for the foul.
The guards continued to press and put pressure on PBA, allowing the Lady Bears to force 23 turnovers.
“We have a lot of guards,” Sims said. “We’re guard heavy and we’ll be able to push the ball more and emphasize on running the wing as fast you can and create open looks to create a lot of open floor, far post when they run over too.”
Baylor came out slow early in the second half when Palm Beach Atlantic scored four points following an Agbuke layup.
Sims responded with back-to-back layups as she aggressively split defenders.
Shortly after, Sims followed it up with a steal, which led to Robertson’s 3-point basket. Baylor continued to tighten up its defense, fueling its offense.
The Lady Bears shot 60 percent from the field in the second half, widening their lead.
Baylor’s 3-point shooting also improved in the second half as the floor began to open up.
Once Baylor began to create open looks, Baylor was able to shoot 5-7 from the field in the second half.
Palm Beach Atlantic had solid production from its guards senior Kasie Parker and graduate student Jaz Green scoring 20 and 14 points respectively, but the rest of the team was shut down by Baylor’s defense.
Baylor will play Oklahoma City at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Ferrell Center.