By Matt Larsen
The Big 12’s No. 2 and No. 3 leading scorers face off for the second time this season as the No. 3 Lady Bears travel to Norman, Okla., to take on the No. 15/16 Oklahoma Sooners.
“She’s everything she’s billed to be,” head coach Kim Mulkey said of the conference’s third-best scorer and Oklahoma’s driving force, senior Danielle Robinson.
The first time the two squads met in Waco, the Lady Bears (25-2, 12-1) didn’t exactly contain the senior point guard as she posted 25 points.
The Big 12’s second-best scorer had a big night as well, though.
Sophomore post Brittney Griner managed 29 points in the first three quarters of play en route to her team’s 92-70 win.
While the Sooners (19-8, 9-4) feature a handful of perimeter threats, they seemed to have no answer for Griner and company in the paint.
Baylor put up 52 points in the lane compared to Oklahoma’s six.
If the Sooners find a way to pull those numbers back within reason, their outside weapons will make the Lady Bears trip to Norman more difficult than the matchup in Waco.
“She’s a senior. She’s quick,” Mulkey said of Robinson. “She can shoot the mid-range jumper. She can drive by you. She can find the open player. She guards well. She’s a special player.”
Trailing closely in the shadow of the All-American’s 18.7 points a contest, freshman guard Aaryn Ellenberg adds 16.4 a game, a heavy dose of which come from behind the arc.
“Ellenberg, she can just flat out shoot,” Mulkey said. “She has a mid range jumper as well as a three point shot.”
The freshman leads her team in 3-point percentage with a .419 mark.
Ellenberg is just one of six Sooners who see the floor consistently and shoot above .300 from 3-point land.
Newcomers like Ellenberg and Morgan Hook compliment the return of redshirt sophomore Whitney Hand from injury in 2010.
“They’re a lot different this year because their ability to shoot the 3-ball,” senior guard Melissa Jones said. “So it’s going to be real hard to defend.”
The Lady Bears’ biggest perimeter threat, freshman point guard Odyssey Sims, has struggled as of late. The freshman averages the second most points per game on the team (12.9) but combined for just five points in the last two matchups.
The last time Sims and Robinson met, Sims managed 10 with the senior guarding her.
If Sims doesn’t find her shot again on the road, Baylor will need its post play to be just as dominant as before to counteract Robinson.
While Sims has yet to rebound from the loss to Texas Tech last weekend, Griner came back in full force against Kansas State on Wednesday, leading her team with 26.
“Well, you never want to lose, but it opened our eyes. And it helped us, we learned from it,” Griner said following the Kansas State game. “I stood too much in the Texas Tech game. So tonight, I was trying to move around and get open and just demand the ball.”
The Sooners should not be surprised to see the same tomorrow in Norman.