By Krista Pirtle
It was a rough start, but the No. 1 Baylor Lady Bears defeated Tarleton State in their final exhibition game 92-49.
“I want to thank Coach[Ronnie] Hearne,” Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey said. “He’s a trooper. He was gracious enough to come play. I thought his team played hard. If you would have asked me, I would have asked them to turn the scoreboard off.”
Senior post Brittney Griner did not play.
“I’m redshirting her,” Mulkey joked.
Junior point guard Odyssey Sims took charge on the defensive end of the floor, which led to 48 points off turnovers for the Lady Bears.
“I thought our guards played extremely hard,” Mulkey said. “I thought they did what they were supposed to do as defending champs.”
Baylor forced Tarleton to turn the ball over 35 times.
“Baylor was nice to us,” Tarleton head coach Ronnie Hearne said. “They kind of backed off us every once in a while and allowed us to get the ball down.”
The Lady Bears continued their streak of holding teams to under 50 percent shooting from the floor as Tarleton recorded 42.6 percent for the game.
Sims finished the game with 12 points, six assists and seven steals.
Senior forward Brooklyn Pope led Baylor with 16 points, four boards and two blocks.
Kiara Wright, Kendall Wright’s sister, led Tarleton with a double-double, 18 points and 12 rebounds.
“Me and Destiny will probably get chewed out for letting Kiara go off like she did,” Pope said.
Sophomore post Sune Agbuke hit the hardwood for the first time this season and finished with a bucket, four rebounds and a pair of blocks. Baylor’s bench outscored Tarleton’s 33-16. Junior forward Mariah Chandler came off the bench and led the Lady Bears with 10 points and three steals, followed by freshman guard Niya Johnson with eight.
The Lady Bears’ season officially starts at noon Friday against Lamar in the Ferrell Center.