By Matthew Soderberg | Sports Writer, Video by Drake Toll | Broadcast Reporter
No. 2 Baylor women’s basketball walked out of the Ferrell Center Friday night 2-0 after a 120-46 win over Grambling State. Sophomore forward Nalyssa Smith led the way for the Lady Bears, finishing with 21 points and 13 boards.
It was a team effort Friday, as a school-record eight players ended in double digits, and all eleven who suited up scored at least two. The 120 points were also the sixth most in school history.
Graduate transfer guard Te’a Cooper led the team with just under 23 minutes played as the game-time was spread fairly evenly for the Lady Bears. Head coach Kim Mulkey said the deep bench on this team is something that should be taken into account.
“We have depth,” Mulkey said. “We have depth at all positions, and we have depth in that I can move some to another position if I just need to go even bigger … if we get in foul trouble late in the year and I want to go extremely big, we’ve got enough depth to do a different look.”
The Green and Gold dominated the first half, finishing with a score of 60-18 through only 20 minutes of play. The differential of 42 points fell short of the season opener though, as Baylor finished their first half Tuesday with a 51-3 lead, another school record set in the first two games of this season. Mulkey said the team’s dominance is good and bad at this point in the season.
“I know we’re good. I don’t know how good we are yet. I know in practice, I have to be very careful because when we have intersquad scrimmages, we hurt each other,” Mulkey said. “That’s how competitive this team is, and that’s good to a point. But I don’t want them hurting each other in November — I want them making each other better.”
Baylor focused on hurting the Tigers tonight, forcing 24 turnovers against Grambling. Junior guard DiDi Richards said after the game she takes defense personally.
“I play on-ball defense really hard,” Richards said. “I take that to heart. I feel like if someone goes by me, it kind of hurts my feelings, you know. It’s like when you get broken up with in a relationship.”
And on a Friday night, the Lady Bears had some good student support in the stands. Mulkey said she is thankful for the fans that come out for her team.
“We had great students here tonight,” Mulkey said. “For Friday night, high school football, football team out of town … our student section was really good tonight.”
The students will get another chance to cheer on their Lady Bears against Houston Baptist at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Ferrell Center. The game can also be streamed on ESPN+.