By Jeffrey Swindoll
It was clear in the first few possessions that Texas Tech was going to be in an uphill battle against the No. 9 Lady Bears. Baylor handily defeated Texas Tech 92-43 at the Ferrell Center on Wednesday.
The Lady Bears (17-3, 7-1) started the half with poise, finding quality looks for senior guard Odyssey Sims, senior guard Makenzie Robertson and freshman forward Nina Davis throughout the half.
Sims and freshman guard Niya Johnson tallied six assists in the first half. The Lady Bears felt the momentum behind them and the confidence was noticeable in their 19-0 run to start off the game, shooting 50 percent from three-point range.
After nine minutes, Texas Tech (6-14, 0-9) finally got on the board, making it 19-2, but the body language from the Lady Raiders showed they knew it was going to be a long night against the Lady Bears in Waco.
Baylor’s full court press in the first half made it difficult for Texas Tech to produce anything. The Red Raiders missed several open looks, turned the ball over 10 times, and made eight-of-25 shots from the floor.
Comfortable with a massive double-digit lead, Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey rotated the bench into the game with 2 minutes left in the first half, giving young players valuable playing time and experience for the coming games.
Baylor made shots all over the court and all game long, shooting 50.7 percent from the floor and 50 percent from downtown.
The outcome of this game was evident before the halftime buzzer.
As Baylor’s lead grew larger, the youth in the Lady Bears started to show. Even after missing shots and trick passes, Mulkey could not say much to get her players to be a little more serious about their play. The Lady Bears were all smiles and enjoying the game.
Players from the starting lineup jumped and cheered for their teammates from the sideline. The Lady Bears cruised on their way to their seventh Big 12 win this season.
“I think you’ve got to give Baylor a lot of credit, they’re a good team and they’ve played well,” Texas Tech head coach Candi Whitaker said. “We played timid. We’ve got to be more aggressive. That’s the only way to play the game.”
Texas Tech picked up its ninth straight Big 12 loss on Wednesday night, shooting just under 31 percent against Baylor.
Robertson made three out of seven three-pointers and finished with 11 points in her second-straight game with double-figures. Sims earned 25 points, 12 from downtown and dished out six assists in her 31st-straight game scoring in double-digits.
“I’ve always trusted [my team],” Sims said. “I feel like it’s less of them just watching me now. We’ve got a good freshmen group and it was just fun to watch on and off the court tonight.”
For the first time in the past four games, Baylor outscored the opponent in both halves, taking care of the ball and shooting over 48 percent from the floor in both halves. The Lady Bears had five players in double figures against the Lady Raiders.
“We actually put two halves together, and that’s a plus, especially for coach,” Sims said with as Mulkey chuckled beside her.
The Lady Bears’ average attendance ranks in the nation’s top 10, and Wednesday was anotherstrong showing from the fans with 6,700 in attendance. Mulkey expressed her appreciation for their loyal support of the Lady Bears.
“Most fans that have teams that go up that much at halftime just leave,” Mulkey said. “Most of the people came out tonight stayed all game. Our fans appreciate our effort, and we appreciate their support.”
The Lady Bears play the Texas Longhorns at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Ferrell Center. The game will be on Fox Sports Southwest.