By Matt Larsen
The point guards duked it out to the final buzzer as No. 3 Baylor’s Odyssey Sims notched 37 points to get the better of senior Danielle Robinson and No. 16/15 Oklahoma 82-81 Sunday afternoon in Norman.
“They’re 14 and 1 on this floor this year,” head coach Kim Mulkey said. “Their only loss was down to the wire against A&M. We knew it would be a great crowd. We knew that they would play extremely hard. Everything that we expected did happen.”
This included Robinson’s performance.
Robinson and freshman Aaryn Ellenberg, the Sooners’ (19-9, 9-5) leading scorers Sunday and on the year, posted 25 points apiece.
But it was the Lady Bears’ (26-2, 13-1) freshman point guard, Sims, who had the game’s closing and most crucial bucket.
After Robinson snatched the lead back for Oklahoma by driving to the basket with 17 seconds left, Sims took the initiative with a slice through the lane and a running jumper that floated through the net with eight seconds left.Robinson, an All-American senior, found a way to drive the court and cut through the middle of Baylor’s defense once again, tossing a floater over the outstretched arm of sophomore Brittney Griner. The ball hung on the rim and rolled off the front iron as time expired.
“It was a good look for them and it rimmed in and out and we would be in here talking about a loss if it goes in,” Mulkey said.
The game featured 14 lead changes and just one double-digit lead for the Lady Bears for a period of 10 seconds in the first half.
It was just the second Big 12 game in which Griner did not lead her team in points. Sims outscored her Jan. 30 in the first matchup with Texas A&M.
Sims, now a five-time Big 12 Freshman of the Week after earning the honor again this week, also finished a game-winning floater to lead her team past the Aggies in College Station.
“[Sims] grew up a lot tonight,” Mulkey said. “She made that shot at A&M, too. She is a tough kid to guard. She understood the importance and the value of her offense for us tonight. She didn’t mind shooting it and thank goodness she did.”
Griner’s self-proclaimed off-night still yielded 21 points, five boards and two blocks.
“They never strayed away from me because I had a bad game and I’m just happy to have them all on my team,” she said of her team.
The sophomore finished 9 of 17 from the field and 7 of 8 from the free throw line.
The double and at times triple teams did not keep the 6-foot-8 post from noticing the space her teammates had on the perimeter.
“The whole night they were trying to double-down on me and it was open out there,” she said.
Griner’s willingness to kick it back out to her guards netted her three assists and led to her team going 13 of 27 from behind the arc.
Sims tied a Baylor record for most 3-pointers in a game, with nine treys.
“Coming into today’s game I just felt confident,” Sims said. “I knew it was going to be a tough game and when I’m open to shoot it. So every time I was open I would shoot it and I just nailed it.”