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Baylor overcomes rebounding woes and a tenacious Texas Tech squad in hard fought victory

Published on January 23, 2011


Baylor defeats Texas Tech, 64-51

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WACO, Texas – It was good day for both the Baylor women’s and men’s teams Saturday. The men took the floor in the first game of a doubleheader, bouncing back from a lost to Kansas last week to defeat Oklahoma State 76-57. The women followed, facing fellow Big 12 member Texas Tech.

The Lady Raiders put up a good fight in front of a hostile crowd at the Ferrell Center in Waco Saturday night against No. 1 Baylor, but it was not enough. After leading 29-28 at the half, the Lady Raiders fell to the Lady Bears, 64-51 in front of a crowd of 10, 379, the third largest crowd in program history. The attendance put the season’s total fan numbers above the 100,000 mark for sixth straight seasons.

After starting the game to scattered booing targeted at junior forward Jordan Barncastle, the player who got into a scuffle with Baylor sophomore center Brittney Griner last year and ended up being punched by the Lady Bear, the Lady Raiders seemed oblivious to the hostile atmosphere.

The head coaches of both teams emphasized that last year’s events were a nonfactor in Saturday night’s games.

“I didn’t think anything that happened last year had any effect or anything to do with the way the game was played tonight,” said Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey. “I thought it was hard, aggressive. That is what you are going to see.”

After starting the game with a turnover, Baylor got off to quick 4-0 start but a three-point shot by TTU sophomore guard Chynna Brown put the Lady Raiders within one and the teams went back and forth until they were tied 8-8 at 15:32.

While the crowd booed each time TTU’s Barncastle touched the ball, an intentional foul by Odyssey Sims early in the first half heightened the tension. Mulkey quickly took Sims out of the game and the freshman sat on the bench for the remainder of the half.

While TTU displayed their athleticism and shot versatility among players, Baylor appeared timid, cautious and out of sync in the first half. Mulkey attributed her team’s demeanor to its youth and their failure to carry out instructions given to them during timeouts and lack of follow through of lessons learned in practice.

“I thought a lot of our immaturity showed tonight with facial expressions, with listening in the timeouts,” said Mulkey. “They wanted to do well, our kids wanted to do well, but credit Tech. Odyssey comes to the bench early, a couple of our kids didn’t play well, but we will have to look at film and see why they didn’t.”

Texas Tech head coach Kristy Curry, who said she was “not worried” at all about the future of her team after losing to the top squad in the nation, voiced pride at her team’s performance in the first half. They led 29-28 heading to the locker room.

Texas Tech outrebounded Baylor 22-13 in the first half and made 3 of 7 three point shot attempts.

“I mean to rebound like we did tonight shows that they responded from a couple days of practice,” said Curry about her players. “It has been a point of emphasis. They worked hard, really hard, on the boards. Rebounding and defense are effort and heart. It’s not about size or talent it’s about the size of your heart.”

Baylor attempted no three pointers in the first half and had two second chance points compared to TTU’s seven. TTU’s bench also outscored Baylor’s bench 12-4. In fact, a few TTU players stepped up to contribute, making jumpers and three point shots, surprising Baylor.

“Tech played a little bit better in areas they hadn’t,” said Mulkey. “Some kids hit threes that don’t normally hit threes, some kids scored more that don’t normally score. They changed a lot of what they do offensively.”

Griner led all scorers at the half with 15 while TTU’s Kierra Mallard had 11. While Griner had four blocks, she only managed to pull down two rebounds, both defensive in the first part of the matchup. In fact, offensive rebounding was a major weakness of the Lady Bears before the break.

The second half was a different story for both teams. Texas Tech’s Teena Wickett fouled Griner within a minute and after TTU made a three-pointer to take a two-point lead, 32-30, Baylor went on an 8-0 run and never looked back.

There were only three lead changes after the break, all within the first three minutes of play. Baylor picked up the rebounding, outworking the Lady Raiders on the boards 19-14. Overall scoring production also increased for the Lady Bears as more players contributed to their offensive efforts. Sims was back in the game at point guard and helped Baylor earn 15-point lead at 9:05 when she sunk a trey. However, Texas Tech then went on a 6-0 run, closing the gap 54-46. Their spurt petered out by the last few minutes of the game when their efforts to get within single digits of the Lady Bears waned.

“I thought we missed some shots and we were not as aggressive as we needed to be,” said Curry of her team’s second half effort.” Credit to them, they did a little bit better of a job at being more aggressive, especially in the first eight minutes of the second half, than we were. We just couldn’t make any shots after a little bit. Sometimes you have to credit the defense, and that is a pretty good defense.”

Baylor senior Melissa Jones helped seal the win, scoring half of Baylor’s last ten points including a three point shot at 1:09 that gave Baylor a nine-point lead. She made the last two points of the game, free throws, giving the Bears their 13-point margin of victory.

Jones, who never fails to receive accolades from coaches on the opposing team, was the recipient of copious compliments from the Texas Tech coach.

“She’s just the glue,” said Curry about Jones, “You gotta love that kid.”

Jones finished with 13 points and six rebounds. Griner led all scorers with 25 points and added seven rebounds and six blocks to her stat line. Destiny Williams also scored in double digits for Baylor with 11 plus eight rebounds.

For Texas Tech, four players were in double figures. Christine Hyde had 14 while both Wickett and Brown had 12. Mallard scored 11.

Baylor has the week off from play before traveling to College Station to face No. 6 Texas A&M next Sunday, January 30 at noon CT.

Texas Tech, finishing up a two-game road trip, heads back to Lubbock. They host Texas on Wednesday, January 26 at 7 p.m. CT.


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