By Krista Pirtle
Winning on the road is always tough, even if your opponent is winless in conference play.
The No. 1 Baylor Lady Bears hit the road to take on Missouri (10-9, 0-8) at 7 p.m. today.
“No one likes to play on the road,” head coach Kim Mulkey said. “Shots you make at home you miss on the road. We’ve been successful on the road but we’ve also been beat. We can’t look at the fact that we have played them already. It’s 0-0; let’s go play.”
In the previous matchup between the two in Waco, Baylor took the 90-46 victory with six players scoring in double figures (senior Terran Condrey, sophomore Odyssey Sims, juniors Brittney Griner, Kimetria “Nae Nae” Hayden, Jordan Madden and Destiny Williams).
“You approach them like they’re 8-0,” Mulkey said. “You have to go do what you do best. You’re in uncommon surroundings.”
Anchoring the Missouri team is senior forward Christine Flores, who is second only to Griner in both scoring and blocked shots.
By her side is fellow senior BreAnna Brock, the Tigers’ second leading scorer.
Earlier this month the Lady Bears held Flores to 10 points and two blocked shots, and Brock led Missouri with 14 points; however, the tables could turn with the ball in the Tigers’ court.
From the perimeter, Missouri is No. 3 in the Big 12 averaging 6.74 3-pointers made per game.
Baylor is No. 8 with 4.14.
Tempo will be a large factor in the game, creating a breaking point for the Tigers.
Transition buckets for Baylor will provide runs that Missouri can’t catch up to.
That being said, defense will be intensified, as the Lady Bears are second in the country to UConn by two-tenths of a point.
“Defense makes the game way easier for us because it gives us more opportunities on offense,” Williams said.
Mulkey and company take pride in their defense. With such a prolific offense, Baylor knows not to be complacent on the opposite end of the floor.
If the other team keeps scoring, an upset could happen.
“Coach always tells us to go out there and stop them from scoring because the post players are going to get theirs,” Madden said.
After the game in early January, Missouri head coach Robin Pingeton mentioned the caliber of athleticism that Baylor has compared to her own team’s youth and inexperience.
“Our team isn’t ready for that yet,” Pingeton said.
Missouri may not realize that the Lady Bears aren’t the same as they were earlier in the season.
“They’ve gotten better and they keep playing hard,” Mulkey said.
Today Baylor can prove that it has become more than Missouri can bargain for.