By Jeffrey Swindoll
The No. 3 Lady Bears kept the fire burning on Sunday. After a nip-and-tuck game against conference rival No. 16 Texas went down to the death, Baylor’s bright and young squad snuck away with yet another Big 12 victory under its belt and a 21st-consecutive win.
“We were in control of the game. We were up nine with 3:55 to go and we were shooting two free throws,” Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey said. “Everything that could go wrong in the last 3:55 did. We made the defensive stop at the end to win the game, but we have lots of film work on that last three minutes to teach.”
Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey said it herself, her team mustered up the grit to win the game on the last possession, but what is invaluable about Sunday’s result are the many lessons to be learned from the final four minutes of the ball game.
Free throws have yet to cost the Lady Bears a loss thanks to scoring sophomore forward Nina Davis and sophomore Guard Imani Wright scoring the run of play on a consistent basis. Baylor has not broken past an 80 percent free throw success rate in any its games in 2015. However, somewhere down the road, the Lady Bears’ inability to make important free throws could come back to haunt them when it matters most.
Texas edged out the Lady Bears on the boards, but not by a lot. Had Texas’ Nneka Enemkpali been in the game, it could have been a much different story.
Among the issues Mulkey saw with her team on Sunday was ineffectiveness against Texas’ zone defense.
“I didn’t think that we handled their zone very well and I’m disappointed in that because we’ve seen lots of zone,” Mulkey said. “I honestly think that we’re a better zone offensive team than we are a man to man, but we either got fatigued and stood around and didn’t flash or screen the zone. I thought we battled as hard as we could on the boards with their bigs and we’ll take a win.”
Mulkey has said she takes wins over losses any day, regardless of the circumstances, but Sunday’s matchup against Texas came a little too close for comfort. Mulkey’s diligence with her team and staff in the film room will be key to the Lady Bears moving forward as a better team.
The Lady Bears will host the Oklahoma Sooners at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the Ferrell Center.