By Parmida Schahhosseini
Baylor overcame an early first half scare to defeat Northwestern State 88-54 Friday in the Lady Bears second game of the Athletes in Action Classic at the Ferrell Center.
“At halftime, I talked to them about their defense and how we didn’t play very good defense,” Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey said. “It was obvious when they were shooting a higher percentage than us from the field and we were missing too many free throws and we weren’t getting post touches.”
Despite the slow start, senior guard Odyssey Sims had another strong outing with 30 points, five assists and five rebounds. It was Sims’ third career game in which she scored 30 or more points and the second one this season. Freshman forward Nina Davis’ 11 points and five rebounds helped her reach double digits in every game this season.
Baylor got off to a strong start jumping out to an early 10-2 lead with Sims accounting for seven points after drilling a 3-point shot. Unlike other teams this season, Northwestern State was able to overcome the deficit and even tied the game at one point. During that stretch, Northwestern connected on three 3-point shots to cut the lead to two, but Baylor responded with a 4-0 run with back-to-back buckets from Davis and Small.
Free throws doomed the Lady Bears during the rough stretch, keeping the Lady Demons in the game. During that point of the game Baylor was 2-7, shooting 28.6 percent on free throws. Baylor’s defense also struggled, allowing Northwestern State to shoot 43.5 percent. After the game was tied, Baylor responded with a 13-5 run to take an eight point lead at the half.
“We have an offensive philosophy of layup, free throws, open jumpers in that order,” Northwestern State co-head coach Brooke Stoehr said. “We’re not the most athletic team, especially compared to Baylor, so we have to be fundamentally sound and we have to execute. We did a good job of reading defenses and playing loose and fearless.”
The second half was a different story as the Lady Bears jumped out to a 19-4 run, starting with junior post Sune Agbuke’s back-to-back field goals.
“We talked about post touches at half time,” Agbuke said. “We knew that was really important to get us going because we weren’t being very efficient offensively.”
Baylor tightened up its defense and the offense began to open up. The Lady Bears improved to 47.2 percent shooting in the second half, mainly by getting the bench players involved.
In the first half, the Lady Demons’ bench outscored Baylor 12-11, but in the second half the bench picked up its game outscoring Northwestern State 39-25. Sophomore post Kristina Higgins and senior forward Mariah Chandler led the Lady Bears with eight boards apiece. Baylor thrived off of Northwestern State’s turnovers scoring 29 points off of 18 turnovers.
Baylor will finish the Athletes in Action Classic with a game against UTSA at 5 p.m., Saturday in the Ferrell Center.