By Jeffery Swindoll
Coming off a big road victory against Oklahoma State, Baylor jumps back into conference play against Texas Tech at 7 p.m. today at the Ferrell Center.
Although Tech’s record (6-13, 0-8) may indicate it is an inferior team to Baylor (16-3, 6-1), the Lady Raiders are a team with grit and determination.
“If you just look at [Texas Tech’s] record, you’ll be misled,” head coach Kim Mulkey said. “If you look at the games, you’ll see they’re battling. Our players understand that Texas Tech is not going to come in here and just lay down.”
The Lady Bears have outscored opponents 281-175 this season but continue to struggle in maintaining that margin in the second half, tying opponents 236-236 in total.
Mulkey admitted her team has not yet put together two productive halves against Big 12 Conference opponents.
Mulkey stressed Texas Tech’s record is not a representation of the team’s ability and overall production in conference play.
“They are working hard, and they’re running some good stuff,” Mulkey said. “I really like what they’re doing on the out-of-bounds plays.”
Texas Tech head coach Candi Whitaker, in her first season coaching the Lady Raiders, will face Baylor for the first time in her seven-year career.
Texas Tech lost in overtime 85-76 against Iowa State, another game the Lady Raiders came up just short, but Baylor is well aware of the mental and physical preparation a conference game demands.
“We’re going into this game like we go into every other conference game,” senior guard Makenzie Robertson said. “They’re big games, and we know from the Kansas game that anyone can pull out a win. So we know we’ve got to come into this with the right mindset.”
Robertson posted an impressive outing against OSU, converting six out of 10 three-point attempts and led all scorers in the game with 18 points.
Freshman forward Nina Davis was named the Big 12’s Freshman of the Week on Monday after earning her fifth straight double-double in the OSU game.
Davis averages 13.5 points a game and leads the team with 8.2 rebounds a game, and has developed into one of the most consistent freshmen for the Lady Bears this season.
“I think it gives me more confidence,” Davis said. “I feel like I’ve earned more of the team’s trust.”
The Lady Bears have struggled with taking the open look shots in the past. Robertson said the team improved in that area in the past few games, which saw senior guard and league leader in points per game, Odyssey Sims uncharacteristically struggle.
“We’ve all got to step up and take the shot when it’s there,” Robertson said. “We need to help [Sims] and alleviate some of that pressure from her.”
Sims’ points per game average has dropped from 34 to 29.7, but Mulkey said it is simply a rough patch in the season.
“Sometimes players just go through that wear-and-tear in the season,” Mulkey said. “I’m glad she’s missing the shots now rather than later.”
The game will be televised on Fox Sports Southwest.