By Parmida Schahhosseini
The No. 9 Baylor Lady Bears will put their 60-game home winning streak on the line with a three-game home stand for the Athletes in Action Classic at the Ferrell Center.
The three-day tournament will pit the Lady Bears against Savannah State today, Northwestern State Friday and UTSA Saturday.
“You get a lot of basketball,” Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey said. “You get to continue to see a lot of combinations. We’ll attack a lot of different defenses. I’m sure we’ll see a lot of zone, and we need to do that. We need to attack zones. We need to do a better job with rebounding.”
The Savannah State Lady Tigers (2-0) have held opponents to under 50 points in both games, but that will be a difficult feat to repeat against the Lady Bears.
Baylor senior guard Odyssey Sims is starting strong this season, averaging 28 points, four assists, 3.7 rebounds and 2.3 steals as a senior. Sims had her second-highest scoring game against Rice with 33 points, while creating matchup problems with her versatility.
“She’s lived up to everything that was said about her,” Rice head coach Gregg Williams said.
The freshman contributions cannot go unnoticed as they account for 44.3 percent of the team’s points and haul down 43 percent of its rebounds while playing 41.2 percent of the minutes.
Freshman forward Nina Davis earned Big 12 Freshman of the Week honors and averages 16.3 points per game. Freshman guard Imani Wright averages 12 points. The post players have been effective for Baylor as senior Mariah Chandler and junior Sune Agbuke make plays inside the paint. Freshman post Khadijiah Cave has been a surprise as she leads the team with 7.7 rebounds per game.
The Lady Tigers average 81.5 points a game with senior guard Ezinne Kalu leading the way, averaging 15 points a game.
The Lady Tigers also have productive freshman with guard Kenyata Hendrix averaging 14.5 points per game and Tiyonda Davis leading the team, averaging five rebounds. Both teams average positive turnover margins with the Lady Bears plus-12 and the Lady Tigers plus-11. Both teams like to score and get out in transition. The Lady Tigers are not shy with passing the ball, averaging 23.5 assists per game.
The Northwestern State Lady Demons (2-0) are coming off a four-point win against Houston. Northwestern State is averaging 75.5 points per game, while allowing 61.5 points per game.
“Baylor is a top 10 team and we know what we’re going to get with them,” Northwestern State co-head coach Brooke Stoehr said. “It’s a different look for them this year. They’ve lost five seniors, a lot of experience and length on the perimeter. The main thing is that they have Odyssey Sims and she’s arguably the best point guard in the country. She just makes them go. She’s so aggressive on the offensive end and her defense doesn’t get enough credit. She’s extremely talented.”
Northwestern State has been outrebounded by an average of six rebounds per game, but it has been able to win games due to a philosophy of defensive pressure.
The University of Texas at San Antonio has struggled thus far this season, dropping its first two games at Texas and against Lamar, but rebounded with a win over UT Arlington. UTSA struggled offensively against Texas, scoring 42 points. Baylor and UTSA have split the previous 12 matches, but Baylor has won four straight, including an overtime win at the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
With a canned food item, fans can receive admission at a reduced price of $5.