By Marquis Cooley | Sports Editor
It was business as usual Wednesday afternoon as No. 5 Baylor women’s basketball cruised to a 94-40 victory over winless Alcorn State University in the “I’m Going to College Day” game at the Ferrell Center.
Over a thousand elementary school students cheered on as four Bears scored in double figures. Senior forward NaLyssa Smith led the way with her ninth-consecutive double-double, scoring 25 points and notching 10 rebounds. Junior guard Ja’Mee Asberry tied a career-high for three pointers, knocking down six from behind the arc on her way to a season-high 20 points. Head coach Nicki Collen said she expects these types of performances from Asberry.
“This is honestly what I expect every game,” Collen said. “I think she’s a player that if her footwork is right, if her head is right, then she’s capable of stepping up and making five or six threes a game. I mean, I just think she’s that good a shooter that when she gets it in a rhythm that she can knock it down … I think she’s one of the best shooters in America. And it should be her goal to be the best shooter in America.”
After missing 14 free throws in Saturday’s 70-68 win against Missouri, Baylor (9-1) shot 81% from the charity stripe, hitting 17-of-21. Senior forward Caitlin Bickle made 9-of-10 from the line on her way to 13 points.
“Free throws are mental,” Collen said. “If you over talk about it, then you make people nervous about it. We were shooting 72% going into that game [against Missouri], we didn’t shoot it well, and it was kind of across the board. It’s kind of one of those things, ‘Hey, you’re going to get another opportunity. The next time you get it, step up.’ And I’ve always believed [that] you become a great free throw shooter on your own. There is no coach in America that has made a good free throw shooter. Free throw shooters are made by them getting extra shots up.”
The win came at a cost however, as senior center Queen Egbo suffered an ankle injury in the second half and had to be helped off the court. Egbo had nine points, seven rebounds and three blocks before exiting the contest. Collen said it appeared as if Egbo rolled her ankle rather than a high-ankle sprain, but nevertheless they will be cautious.
“I certainly think it’s probably going to be pretty tender, I know it hurt,” Collen said. “If there’s such a thing as a good time, we’ve got two days off and then have this length of time because of finals before our next game. We’ll be super careful. It’s not about how quickly you can get somebody back but how quickly you can get them back comfortably … just being super careful right now, because we can’t win a conference championship today but we can lose one. It’s about keeping people healthy to the best of our ability.”
After a 10-day break, the Bears will face No. 13 Michigan (8-1) at noon on Dec. 19 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. as part of the Naismith Women’s Challenge.