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Lady Bears Basketball at West Virginia, Preview and Game Thread

Baylor’s Top 25 Gauntlet continues at Morgantown as the No. 3 Lady Bears take on the No. 20/19 Mountaineers.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Texas at Baylor Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday, the No. 3 Baylor Lady Bears will play game two of their late season gauntlet of eight games against top 25 opponents when it takes on No. 20/19 West Virginia Mountaineers at 2:00 PM CT in Morgantown inside the WVU Coliseum. Sunday’s game will be televised on FS1.

The Lady Bears are coming off an 81-56 curb stomping of rival Texas on Thursday. In that game Baylor guard Kristy Wallace scored a career high 27 points and forwards Kalani Brown and Lauren Cox each had double doubles. Thursday’s game was supposed to be Baylor’s big test but they handled the No. 6 Longhorns just like they handled every other Big XII team they have faced this year, with “suffocating defense” and a “perfect text book passing” offense that resembles a “well oiled machine.”

Baylor is 18-1 with their only loss coming in a game at UCLA for which Head Coach Kim Mulkey could not attend due to a tragic family matter and second leading scorer Lauren Cox was hospitalized with a complicated illness.

The Mountaineers are 17-4 on the season with all four losses coming from Big XII opponents, Texas, Kansas State, TCU and Oklahoma State.

Coach Kim Mulkey and company might be in Morgantown with a bit of chip on their shoulder as their last loss to a Big XII team was a loss to the Mountaineers, 77-66, in last season’s Big XII tournament final. In that game the Lady Bears out shot the Mountaineers 45.6% to 37.9% but 15 Baylor turnovers and 11 made threes by the Mountaineers left the Lady Bears looking like this year’s Baylor men’s team. West Virginia’s Tynice Martin scored 32 points in the game. Martin was a team co-captain and unanimous All-Big 12 First Team. Unfortunately, the Lady Bears won’t get a chance at Martin this season as she is red shirting due to a foot injury sustained at USA basketball trials in August.

Sunday’s game will be the fifth time both programs have been nationally ranked. From WVU Sports dot com:

Baylor is WVU's second top-10 opponent of the season as the Mountaineers fell to No. 8 Texas on Dec. 31.

WVU is coming off an 82-52 win over Texas Tech at the Coliseum on Wednesday. The win, the largest margin of victory in a Big 12 game this season for WVU, was also the program's 400th all-time win at the WVU Coliseum.

Junior guard Katrina Pardee tied her career-high with six 3-pointers, producing her fourth 20-point game of the season as WVU nailed a season-high 13 3-pointers in the win. Senior forward Teana Muldrow entered the program's all-time top 10 in scoring with 1,551 points, while senior guard Chania Ray posted a season-high 18 points in the win. The Mountaineers also forced a season-best 30 turnovers, marking the first time since 2011 they have achieved the feat.

The main thing for Baylor fans to worry about for Sunday’s game is ball control. In Thursday’s game against Texas, the Lady Bears had 18 turnovers. Kalani Brown and Kristy Wallace combined for 11 of those turnovers. West Virginia is averaging 10.7 steals per game, higher than any opponent Baylor has faced this year. The Mountaineers were 54.2% from 3 point land in Wednesday’s game against Texas Tech for 39 points. Right now the Mountaineers are hot. This lines up as the exact same recipe for disaster that brought down the Lady Bears in last year’s Big XII tournament. Hopefully the Lady Bears have learned a lesson from Thursday’s game against the scrappy Longhorns.

Baylor wins the height advantage in the paint as West Virginia’s starting forwards Kristina King and Teana Muldrow are 6’3” and 6’1” (respectively). We just might get to see another post to post basketball ballet as 6’7” Kalani Brown and 6’4” Lauren Cox enjoy the air up there during another “text book perfect” afternoon. West Virginia’s 6’6” center Theresa Ekhelar has seen very limited action off the bench.

Look to see freshmen Didi Richards and Alexis Morris come in for the Lady Bears when Coach Mulkey decides it is time to open the throttle.

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