By Krista Pirtle
As far as exhibition games go, whether a team wins or loses, the result is not included in the season’s win or loss column. Technically, the season for the defending national champion Baylor Lady Bears doesn’t start until Nov. 9, but they see this game as the start to their season.
“We get to get away from playing each other,” junior guard Odyssey Sims said. “We always make each other better: going against each other we compete, but at the end of the day we’ve got to leave it on the court. Just to know that we play Tuesday, it’s really exciting.”
Baylor will take on Oklahoma City University, defending NAIA national champions, in the first of the Lady Bears’ two exhibition contests at 7 p.m. tonight in the Ferrell Center. Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey’s concerns going into the matchup are not about scouting OCU but getting
a gauge on what her four freshmen will bring to the table.
“It puts them in a setting where the lights are on and it’s a game setting,” Mulkey said. “They’ll be nervous. Of course, we won’t have Alexis Prince, but the other three will be very nervous. They’ll want to do well. At the same time, they’re nowhere near where they need to e in order to contribute, but they’re going to get on the floor and play. They have so many things spinning in their heads right now from offense to defense to inbounds and proper footwork and all those things. They’ll go on that floor Tuesday, and I promise you they’ll forget it all. Just go play.”
One big advantage the Lady Bears have in practice is going against senior post Brittney Griner.
“That’s a big girl,” junior forward Mariah Chandler said. “But the good thing is, she’s on our team. We may not be able to face somebody that’s 6-foot-8-inch with a wingspan of 7-foot-4-inch I don’t remember how long her arms are. But the fact that we go against her in practice makes us better players, because if we can score on her, that means that we can score on an average height person. And then she’s a great blocker. So if you can adjust your shot the right way to get it up past her, that would help anybody getting a shot up.”
Chandler, due to health and depth at her position, was redshirted last season. She is just as eager as the freshmen to play under the lights at the Ferrell.
“I’m just happy to be on the team in general,” Chandler said. “I feel like we faced a lot of things on and off the court, and we dealt with it in a great way. We’ve all grown up. Even the freshmen have grown up to this day, like seeing them in practice every day, Odyssey’s talking to them, B.G.’s talking to them. The two captains of the team, just in their ears as much as Coach Kim is, and they’re being able to respond. That’s what I’m more looking forward to. Of course, me being on the court with them will be fun for me, but actually seeing the freshmen, the newcomers, being able to get out of their comfort zones and being able to get out of practice and actually play a game. I think that’ll be the fun part of it.”