During a halftime interview, Kansas State Wildcats coach Jeff Mittie was at a loss of words to say. His team down 48-25 to the Baylor Lady Bears. He searched for words, and all he could say was, “We know that we’re playing a team that’s very good. We know that we’re playing a team, but we’re not competing.”
“We didn’t compete, we’re not competing.” Those have been his favorite lines over the years after a game against Baylor. But what he failed to say spoke volumes. He didn’t extol the virtues of Baylor’s big physical post players or the swiftness of their guards. What worried him at that moment, that which was foremost on his mind, was that Baylor was a “team.”
Probably the highest praise that any team could receive. Their cohesiveness masking individual efforts and accomplishments. Perceived as a team, the Lady Bears inspired the Wildcats to fight back. And they fought back hard, outscoring the Lady Bears 23-18 in the third quarter. But it was not enough. Too little, too late, the closest the scrappy Wildcats would cut the lead to would be a 14 point margin in favor of that, team.
Waco Tribune staff writers note:
“It was there from the start. Baylor won the tip and didn’t mess around its first possession. Against the Wildcat zone, the Lady Bears reversed the ball from one side of the court to the other to make the zone move. Then the ball was passed inside to Lauren Cox who immediately turned and found a wide open Natalie Chou on the perimeter. Swish. Chou’s 3-pointer laid the foundation for an 11-0 run to start the game for Baylor.”
The Lady Bears went on to win decisively, 88-58.
Lady Bear Head Coach Kim Mulkey said in the post game press conference, “Its no secret that we’re big inside. We have two of the finest post players in the country but that’s not all we have. We are only nine on the team so everybody has an opportunity to contribute and I really thought everyone of them did positive things tonight. Never a line-up on the floor that I felt uncomfortable with.”
In his post game press conference Coach Mittie had more to say: “You just saw one of the biggest front lines in the country. Probably the biggest front line in the country. But to Baylor’s credit, their ball movement was so fast. They moved it fast so that we couldn’t get double teams in there like we wanted to. And then they, they really I thought moved the ball well offensively tonight, and shot it obviously well, but the ball movement led to really good shots for them.”
Coach Mittie continued with, “They (Baylor) are a young (pause) team. Relatively with the group they have. They had some young players play well. This team played well tonight. They played well beyond their years tonight.”
Full coverage of the game can be found here: Daily Bears Report 12/29/2017.
You can watch Coach Mulkey’s and Coach Mittie’s press conferences here: K-StateHD.
The Lady Bears next face the Texas Tech Lady Raiders on Sunday at 1:00 PM CT in the Ferrell Center.