By Parmida Schahhosseini
After the unveilings of its three 2012-2013 banners, No. 10 Baylor Lady Bears kicked off its regular season with a 110-55 win over the Grambling State Lady Tigers Saturday at the Ferrell Center.
The Lady Bears 55-point victory was the largest margin of victory in a season opener under Baylor Head Coach Kim Mulkey. Senior guard Odyssey Sims led the team with 28 points, four rebounds, four assists and five steals.
“Odyssey Sims never ties out,” Mulkey said. “She’s the same way right now in practice I have to take her off the floor and make sure I don’t ware her out. She’s like a muscle out there. She never tires, she’s strong for her size and a lot is going to be asked of her this year and it’s understandable why.”
Baylor’s offense looked balanced as five Lady Bears reached double digits with three of the five players coming off the bench. Freshman guards Breanna Hayden and Ieshia Small finished with nine points off the bench. All five Lady Bears newcomers contributed to Baylor’s win scoring for a combined 42 points.
Post players graduate student Mariah Chandler and junior Sune Agbuke received most of the touches early in the game taking advantage of the Lady Tiger’s zone defense. The two combined for 16 points leading to a 16-0 run to start the game. Baylor guards were active in the game making assists and creating shots.
“We had a really good practice yesterday and our legs felt really fresh,” Chandler said. “Our guards were penetrating and making everybody take them [the shots] so we just stepped up and made big shots.”
Sims’ leadership in this game was on display as she drove the offense and set the tone on defense. At one series of the game Sims assisted on a pass to freshman guard Imani Wright for a 3-point basket. The ensuing play, Sims creates back-to-back steals and drives the last one in and draws the foul.
Sims remained active leading her team to remain aggressive, which led to 34 turnovers. Baylor scored 48 points off the turnovers compared to the six points, which Grambling State scored off of Baylor’s 14 turnovers.
Baylor’s depth allows the team to be balanced leading to better bench production. While the team is still trying to improve on its chemistry, a win like this can give the team momentum going forward. Sims skill as an elite point guard draws defenders enabling other players to get open shots.
Grambling State improved in the second half, but Baylor was too much to handle. Despite cutting down its turnovers from 20 to 14 Baylor’s offense was consistent throughout both halves shooting 47 percent from the field.
“When you get down you’re not out,” Grambling State Assistant Coach Lou Hamilton said. “There’s 40 minutes in a game and we always express to our players don’t give up until the game is over. One of the things we showed tonight was a lot of fight.”
The Lady Tigers made the first shot of the second half, but Sims responded with a layup seconds later. Sophomore post Kristina Higgins was active in the paint area leading the team with nine rebounds but Grambling State senior forward Victoya Ricks lead both teams with 14 rebounds.
Baylor extended its home win streak to 58 games, which is the longest active winning streak in the NCAA and will hope to add on to that streak with a game against Nicholls State at 7 p.m., Thursday at the Ferrell Center.