By Jessika Harkay | Sports Writer
No. 2 women’s basketball opened its first two regular season matchups out-scoring their opponents 217-75. Now coming off a 120-46 victory over Grambling State last week, Baylor has the chance to continue the longest active NCAA win streak to 32 as they face off against the Houston Baptist Huskies Thursday night.
To head coach Kim Mulkey, the key to their success isn’t by outplaying the other team though — it’s by playing at the highest level against one another.
“Our practices are pretty intense when they go against each other, and I’ve always thought that if you have depth, your practices are going to be harder than games,” Mulkey said. “Up to this point, I think that’s true. You focus on you.”
That focus means that everyone knows their job.
“You kind of figure it out with other players. You know how ever the players play,” sophomore post Caitlin Bickle said. “I played with the posts every single day, when we split I know exactly the shots they’ll take. I know exactly the shots the guards will take or how they’ll pass. […] I think just playing with players you kind of know what to expect. You know what you’re supposed to do and you know your purpose on the court.”
Being familiar with everyone’s position and becoming each other’s hardest opponents has shown on the court. Against Grambling State, Baylor set a single-game record with eight players in scoring double figures, racked up 30 assists and 80 points in the paint.
The Lady Bears last faced off against the Huskies in 2016, taking a 118-43 win with them. Houston Baptist comes into the matchup with a 2-0 record with victories over LSU-Shreveport (67-44) and Paul Quinn (63-34).
The Huskies in their latest win against Paul Quinn were led by freshman forward N’Densasija Collins with 11 rebounds and 11 points. In comparison, sophomore post NaLyssa Smith nearly doubled Collins with 21 points and 13 rebounds last week.
Along with Smith, junior DiDi Richards recorded 15 points on perfect 7-of-7 from the field and senior forward Lauren Cox had 13 points and 10 rebounds marking her 30th career double-double.
Even with a successful game, Cox is expected to miss time with a stress reaction on her foot. Sophomore center Queen Egbo will take her place for the time being. Egbo has rallied 28 points on the season, shooting at .550.
Though the Lady Bears will be missing their starting senior post, Mulkey expects her team to continue playing the same brand of Baylor basketball.
“Baylor. That’s the only thing I’m looking at,” Mulkey said. “We’ve looked at film and we’ll guard them, but you’re gonna see the same type of stuff you’ve seen in the previous games. Maybe a two-to-one press, two, three zone will be bigger, will be more athletic. Nothing any different than what you’ve seen in the previous games.”
The Lady Bears will tip off at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Ferrell Center.