By Parmida Schahhosseini
The No. 9 Baylor Lady Bears overcame a slow start to defeat the San Jose State Spartans 113-73 on Tuesday at the Ferrell Center. The win marked Baylor’s 64th straight home victory to extend the nation’s longest home winning streak. Baylor has started the season 7-0 for the ninth time in school history, with six of those seasons coming under Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey. Despite the win, Mulkey still wasn’t impressed with the defense.
“We gave up entirely too many points, not getting out at the three and not stopping dribble penetration,” Mulkey said. Mulkey pointed out that the Bears conceded 38 points in the first half.
“I thought we did good in the second half and held them to about nine,” Mulkey said. “Until I took Odyssey Sims and a couple more out and we just let them start hitting it and it became a track meet out there.”
Senior guard Odyssey Sims continued her dominant play, scoring 29 points and adding 13 assists for her fifth career double-double. It was the first time in her career to have a double-double before the half. Sims became the all-time leading assist holder with 505, breaking Angela Tisdale’s previous record of 493.
“It’s really not that important, not to me,” Sims said. “I came here to win championships and to have a good senior year.”
Senior guard Makenzie Robertson’s 11 first half points were the most she’s scored in the first half in her career, and she finished with a season high 13 points. Freshman forward Nina Davis scored 15 points to start her collegiate career in double figures in every game. Sophomore guard Niya Johnson had a career-high eight rebounds and her 14 assists tied for second in Baylor single game history.
Baylor’s bench outscored San Jose State’s bench 46-16. Freshman post Khadijiah Cave added 12 points and eight rebounds as she was active inside the paint while sophomore forward Chardonae Fuqua’ added 10 points going 4-5 from the field.
San Jose State has struggled on defense all season, getting outscored by an average of six points. Today, that margin was different because Baylor controlled the game. Baylor took 98 shots compared to San Jose State’s 74. The Lady Bears were able to create the critical turnovers. In the first half, the Spartans committed 15 turnovers, but settled down in the second half to finish with 24. Baylor only turned it over nine times in the game.
The start of the game had a similar feel to the Sweet 16 game against Louisville in that San Jose State got the opening tip after snatching it up in the air and junior guard Rebecca Woodberry raced down the court for the quick score. On Baylor’s first crack at the ball, sophomore guard Niya Johnson passed the ball to a wide-open Agbuke, who missed the open layup. Mulkey quickly called for sophomore post Kristina Higgins, but Agbuke redeemed herself when she got her own rebound and scored on the next play.
Baylor continued to struggle on both sides of the court as the Lady Bears found themselves trailing multiple times in the game. Baylor struggled with San Jose State’s 3-point shooting.
“We just shoot a lot of threes,” San Jose State head coach Jamie Craighead said. “When you can make them, you shoot them and sometimes when we don’t, we still shoot them. It’s good they were going in today, we needed those points.”
The turning point of the game came when Robertson made back-to-back 3-point shots to spark a 26-4 run. Once Robertson began to hit three’s, Sims began to make shots from beyond the arc opening up the offense as the defense was forced to stretch out to defend the perimeter. Sophomore forward Chardonae Fuqua’ got in on the action with a score and forcing a turnover on San Jose State’s next possession.
During this run, Baylor was aggressive, chasing down every ball. After a Baylor turnover, Sims chased down the opposing player and forced a steal to get possession of the ball. The hustle plays became more common. Freshman guard Imani Wright hit a shot from beyond the arc.
In the second half, Baylor came out in attack mode and did not allow a field goal in the first five minutes. Baylor scored eight straight points, until San Jose State got on the board with a free throw. Baylor continued to score points and after building a big lead, Mulkey took out the starters. Once the starters came out, San Jose State began to pick up the offense. The team shot 48 percent from the 3-point line, but Baylor’s big lead was too much for the Spartans to overcome.
Baylor will play against No. 5 Kentucky at 6:30 p.m. Friday at AT&T Stadium in Dallas.