By Krista Pirtle
The Lady Bears, Big 12 conference champions, are headed to Boulder, Colo., to take on the Buffaloes in their last conference game at 3 p.m. Saturday, before heading to the Big 12 Tournament.
Colorado is 15-13 for the season, 6-9 in conference play, ranked No. 9 in the Big 12.
Offensively, senior forward Brittany Spears leads Colorado averaging 17.8 points per game, followed by sophomore guard Chucky Jeffery with 13.7.
As a whole, the Lady Bears shoot better percentage-wise within the arc than Colorado, which has much to do with the height and accuracy of sophomore Brittney Griner and the physicality and offensive rebounds that junior Brooklyn Pope and sophomore Destiny Williams pull down for Baylor.
Offense will tell the tale this game, as the Lady Bears are No. 1 in the Big 12 for scoring offense, while Colorado is next to last.
However, Baylor’s defense will prove tricky for Colorado, as they sit dead last in assist-turnover margin in the Big 12.
To help seal a win for Baylor, the Lady Bears will need to focus on their rebounding game, which has been a focus this team has had the entire season.
“Regardless of what happens at Colorado, you want to go ahead and win, but you know that you’re Big 12 champs,” Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey said.
This game will be a great way to prepare Baylor for the Big 12 tournament and also give some playing time to the bench, strengthening the depth of the team.
Even though senior Melissa Jones did not get to play in senior night on Wednesday’s matchup against Missouri, she hopes to be able to play in front of her friends and family in Colorado.
Mulkey said the team doctor won’t keep Jones off the floor, and Jones will work with a trainer on Thursday.
“While MJ will do fine defensively, it’s the shooting and depth perception we’re worried about,” Mulkey said.
If she is not able to play, fellow senior Whitney Zachariason will be ready to fill in for the role of rebounder.
As for the 3-point shooting threat, Griner is willing to shoot some more treys.
“You know, I’m thinking about being a guard now,” Griner joked. “You saw that step back. I thought I was MJ.”
For Jones, she is glad their last conference game is so close to home.
“It’s great to have that supporting cast around you, not only with your team, but I mean back home, with the people you grew up with, played high school ball, and your family, the people that mean the most to you,” Jones said. “You can’t ask for a better way to end it. It’s just a blessing to be able to do that.”
After Colorado, the Lady Bears will head to Kansas City, Mo., to play in the Big 12 Tournament starting Tuesday.