By Parmida Schahhosseini
It was the Odyssey Sims show as the senior guard put on a dominating performance Monday, leading No. 9 Baylor to a 79-46 win at the Ferrell Center to move to 3-0 this season.
Sims finished the night with 33 points, three assists and two rebounds and outscored Rice at halftime 21-16. When head coach Kim Mulkey took Sims out, she only trailed the entire Rice team by one point. This is the fourth straight game Sims has scored more than 20 points dating back to last year’s Sweet 16 game.
“She’s got the whole package,” Rice head coach Greg Williams said. “She can get to the rim, she’s improved going to her right even though she’s left handed. She’s a great 3-point shooter, she’s got the floaters, the hangers and coming into the game she’s an 87 percent free throw shooter, so you can’t foul her. She’s got a strong body, so she can take the bump.”
Sims scored the first points for Baylor, but Baylor remained quiet on offense. Rice would score every time Baylor tried to pull away, but Sims asserted herself by scoring 12 straight points, enabling the Lady Bears to go on a 16-1 run.
Sims started the run with back-to-back fast breaks after creating two steals. The team fed off her energy and began to pick up their game offensively. Baylor used it to go on a 23-9 run to take control of the game.
With less than a minute left in the half, Mulkey called timeout and drew a play. Rice opted to play zone, allowing Sims to get free and make the 3-point shot with less than three seconds in the half.
Sims was in the game for 30 minutes and didn’t turn the ball over. Despite taking 23 shots, Sims choose her shot selection carefully and wasn’t selfish with the ball.
“Being a senior, I value the ball,” Sims said. “I have to lead. The upperclassmen and I know that we can’t have a lot of turnovers and we have to take care of the ball. We have to set an example for the younger players.”
Baylor got off to a slow start offensively in the second half, but Sims began to set pace and dictate the game.
Rice had trouble offensively, only scoring 27.8 percent from the field.
Senior guard Makenzie Robertson finished with two points, but it was her defense that made an impact for the Bears.
“I thought we defended their break pretty well because their first two games in transition, their posts really get out and run the floor,” Williams said.
Sims did have help from her supporting cast with freshman forward Nina Davis and freshman guard Imani Wright scoring 10 and 11 points respectively.
Freshman post Khadijiah Cave was active on the boards tying junior post Sune Agbuke with seven rebounds apiece.
“They’re a very balanced team,” Williams said. “They’re big inside and very good defensively.”
Freshman guard Ieshia Small struggled throughout the game, but has high potential. Small continued to push through and played with fight, but got into foul trouble in the game. Wright was 4-5 from the field and had the hot hand late in the game.
“I enjoy coaching this team,” Mulkey said. “There’s talent out there and it’s just so untapped. It’s there and experience and tough lessons learned. They want to do well and they’re all good students. It’s fun to coach kids that want to do right and kids that do right in the classroom. They’re going to fight and that’s all you can ask of them.”
Baylor hopes to extend its home winning streak to 61 games against Savannah State at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Ferrell Center.