By Ben Everett | Sports Writer
No. 4-ranked Baylor women’s basketball returns home to face Kansas State at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Ferrell Center.
The Lady Bears (16-1, 6-0) have won thirteen straight after dropping a road game to UCLA on Nov. 18.
Baylor hasn’t played a home game since Jan 3, having played three straight contests on the road.
Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey said the upcoming home stretch should be good for the team.
“We’ve been gone a while,” Mulkey said. “But it’s good to get back home for three out of the next four. Hopefully we’ll have a good crowd.”
The Wildcats (11-7, 3-4) lost their first two conference games, but have won three of their last five, including an upset win over then-No. 12 West Virginia in Morgantown, Wva.
Mulkey said the Wildcats have a successful defensive blueprint that they stick to.
“They are committed to their zone defense,” Mulkey said. “Very rarely have I seen them get out of their zone regardless of the score of game.”
As for the offense, K-State has three players who have made 18 or more three-pointers on the season.
Mulkey said the Lady Bears will need to run the Wildcats off the three-point line and keep them from getting easy baskets in transition.
“You’ve got to defend their three-point shooters,” Mulkey said. “They take off and you’ve got to get back in transition defense. They run a lot of different things that if you don’t communicate defensively, they can make you look bad.”
Junior guard Kayla Goth leads the Wildcats in scoring and assists with averages of 16.3 points and six assists per game on the season.
Sophomore forward Peyton Williams is second on the team in scoring, averaging 14.1 points per game, and leads the Wildcats in rebounding at seven rebounds per game.
The Lady Bears have found success this season by limiting opponents attempts and securing defensive rebounds. Baylor leads the conference in total rebounds at almost 50 per game, and is first in rebounding margin having out rebounded their opponents by 18.2 rebounds per game.
Junior center Kalani Brown said Mulkey stresses rebounding in practice, so the Lady Bears always have their mind on crashing the boards.
“Rebounding is one of the things Coach [Mulkey] focuses on,” Brown said. “It’s one of the first things we do in practice. Securing a rebound is how we start the break and how we get off to those quick starts so it’s very important.”
Brown leads the team with averages of 21 points and eight rebounds per game while sophomore forward Lauren Cox chips in 15 points and nine rebounds per game.
The Lady Bears won the first meeting 88-58 on Dec. 28 in Manhattan, Kan.
Baylor continues its home stretch with a battle against No. 9 Texas at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Ferrell Center.