By Rachel Roach
Having sophomore Brittney Griner and redshirt sophomore Brooklyn Pope dominate in the paint has helped the Lady Bears’ to their 8-1 record. However, the backcourt has also played a big role in Baylor’s success.
The quickness of starting guards Kimetria Hayden and Jordan Madden coupled with explosive freshman Odyssey Sims provide the sparks while Griner and Pope battle down low.
Having a backcourt threat has kept defenses honest.
Sims commented on her personal efforts after helping to lead the team to a victory against Montana State.
“Now I’m getting a feel for it and getting more comfortable as far as running the floor, running the break, getting my team involved and creating opportunities for my teammates,” Sims said.
Head coach Kim Mulkey said she is delighted with her guard’s efforts but still sees room for growth.
“I have to tell you how pleased I am with Kimetria Hayden and Odyssey Sims. They are trying to do what I need them to do and understanding everyone’s position and running a half-court offense, but sometimes I really want them to run more than they are,” Mulkey said.
Mulkey said she understands why the guards are reluctant to run, but says confidence is key and their speed could work to their advantage if they will let it.
“They’re so conscious of not turning it over, they need to let go. They’re quick, let’s get it and let’s go. They’re doing a great job,” Mulkey said.
Although the guards ran less than Mulkey would like, their efforts are paying off and benefiting the team. By paying attention to Mulkey’s instructions and being aware of the rest of the team, the backcourt has proven to be a huge contributor to the team’s momentum.
After the Michigan State game, Mulkey commented on the Lady Bears’ ability to keep each other motivated.
“We started out great with our point guards doing well pressuring the ball and irritating the guards and we were able to cause a little havoc there. We got some steals and from there it was just a snowball effect,” Mulkey said.
Sims was 4 of 7 from the field in that game and had three steals.
Even earlier in the season Mulkey could see her guards’ potential. Hayden tallied six steals, and Sims was a perfect 4 of 4 shooting in an 83-36, season-opening win over Florida International.
“I think you saw that in the second half when you saw Jordan Madden, Odyssey Sims and Nae-Nae [Hayden] out there, that is a quick back court. When we get Odyssey in the flow and start getting her well, and you get Nae-Nae in shape, I would like to see those three do some of that,” Mulkey said.