By Pranay Malempati | Sports Writer
On a special night for Baylor women’s basketball, the Lady Bears took down the No.17 West Virginia Mountaineers 91-51 Saturday at the Ferrell Center.
Before the game, Baylor retired the jersey of 2015 Big 12 Player of the Year and Baylor’s all-time sixth-leading scorer Nina Davis.
Five players scored in double digits for the Lady Bears, including junior guard Moon Ursin, Baylor’s spark plug off the bench. Ursin had a team-leading 22 points in just under 26 minutes of playing time.
The Lady Bears once again had success spreading the ball during their possessions and finding the open player. They had 24 assists on 34 made field goals. Junior guard Didi Richards led the team, dishing out seven assists.
Ursin said the way her teammates spread the ball was a major factor in her success Saturday night.
“My teammates were finding me a lot tonight,” Ursin said. “They always just talk about, Coach especially, shoot the ball. Tonight, I saw the first two go down, then the third and I just got in a rhythm after a while.”
Head coach Kim Mulkey said that a major benefit of Baylor’s margin of victory is that it allows her to send players lower on the depth chart onto the court.
“When you have an opportunity to play as many kids as we played, not just tonight but in Kansas, the last game, that’s only going to make us better,” Mulkey said. “It’s going to allow a lot of people to rest. I don’t feel like. . . we missed a beat no matter who was on the floor.”
In fact, Baylor’s bench, with 46 points, slightly outscored the starting lineup, who combined for 45 points.
The Lady Bears played with a lot of intensity throughout the game, both in transition and when their offense was set up. They had 17 fast break points as well as 23 second chance points on 19 offensive rebounds.
Against West Virginia, Baylor was propelled by their success inside, as opposed to its last four games, where the Lady Bears found victory from the perimeter. They scored 38 points in the paint and only took eight threes. Mulkey said that wasn’t necessarily part of the game plan but just where the flow of the game took them.
“I think a lot of that has to do with West Virginia’s defense,” Mulkey said. “They really pressure you a lot and usually they have good help-side. They would stand out on Juicy [Landrum] and [Te’A Cooper] and those guys, so we were able to get a lot of mid-range shots in the paint. . . they were coming off our low stack, which is just a pick-and-roll.”
Baylor’s defense was also terrific. They held West Virginia to a mere 17 points in the first half. In addition, the Mountaineers, who shoot over 40 percent from the field on average, only made under 27 percent of their shots for the game.
Baylor continues their season at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in Fort Worth against TCU.