By Parmida Schahhosseini
No. 9 Baylor women’s basketball will put its undefeated streak on the line with a game against the San Jose State Spartans at 7 p.m. today at the Ferrell Center.
The Lady Bears are defeating opponents by an average of 45.5 points per game using a small lineup featuring freshman forward Nina Davis, senior guard Makenzie Robertson, senior guard Odyssey Sims, sophomore guard Niya Johnson and junior post Sune Agbuke.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not the biggest lineup, but until Alexis Prince gets well, it’s the lineup that has the most experience,” Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey said. “It’s the lineup that’s comfortable together out there and it will allow some of the younger players to be spotted in with them.”
No team has been able to defend senior guard Odyssey Sims. Sims is a consistent shooter, averaging 27.3 points per game along with 8 assists and 4.3 rebounds.
In 162 minutes of play, Sims has turned over the ball six times, averaging a turnover per 27 minutes. Sims’ performance against Rice and Savannah State earned her double honors as ESPNW’s National Player of the Week and Big 12 Player of the Week, which was announced on Nov. 25.
San Jose State (4-3) is coming off back-to-back losses.
Baylor is a young team, so there are some growing pains early in the season.
“We’re very young and we’re trying to still work on our transition defense,” Sims said. “We’re letting our young ones in. We’re still trying to teach them and they are trying to learn as we’re teaching them on the court and off the court.”
Baylor has an advantage as the Lady Bears have consistently won on the boards, averaging 16.5 more rebounds than the opposition.
Sophomore guard Niya Johnson is coming off her best performance of the season, scoring a career-high 10 points while matching a season-high with eight assists as she continues to expand her game. Johnson leads the team with 37 assists, as she plays on the ball.
“It’s much easier because I can find her [Sims] as I push the ball and I can get my teammates involved as much as possible,” Johnson said.
Baylor has been effective defending the perimeter this season allowing opponents to shoot 16.5 percent from beyond the arc, while shooting 31.6 percent from themselves.
Baylor has struggled from the free throw line, shooting 75 percent.
If the Lady Bears play like they played this season and take advantage of their opponents’ mishaps, the game shouldn’t be coming down to free throws.