I built this game up with a lot of hype. I told my 3 Twitter followers that I was going to live-tweet this game. I got out of family duties so I could watch the game. I couldn't find it on Fox Sports Go. Surely this must be an error! The system is broken! The system was broken, if by system you mean my understanding of the Gregorian calendar. I had convinced myself that yesterday was the 14th. Alas, no amount of will power could make this happen and so I deleted a couple of tweets and retreated into the darkness, knowing my dream was crushed since tonight was date night.
Now, to what you (hopefully) came here for. When I did my review of the non-conference schedule, I didn't even mention Oral Roberts. Their RPI last year was 259. This game was, in my mind, essentially a third exhibition game that actually counts in the win-loss column.
This game was never really in question. Baylor jumped to a 15-2 lead less than five minutes into the game. There were four players that scored in double figures and nine out of the that played scored. Nina Davis also recorded a double-double, the 13th of her career. The three leading scorers were sophomores: Nina Davis (22), Khadijiah Cave (19), and Imani Wright (18).
Aside from Davis' double-double, Junior Kristina Higgins pulled down seven rebounds (five offensive) to go with her eight points. Niya Johnson continued her generous ways with eight assists, coupled with only two turnovers. Johnson, a junior, passed the 350 career assist tonight.
The Baylor stat of the game was that Baylor scored 37 points off turnovers, 35 more than Oral Roberts. Yes, Oral Roberts only scored two points off eight turnovers. This speaks well to Baylor defense, limiting the impact of turnovers, while also ball control, since Oral Roberts turned the ball over 31 times.
Two freshmen saw their collegiate debug tonight. Kristy Wallace, the point guard from Australia, got the start and played 29 minutes while amassing 11 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals before fouling out. She was three for eight inside the paint and one for three behind the arc. Dekeiya Cohen also played for 12 minutes and scored six points on eight attempts while pulling down two board. She ended the game with four fouls. Also, Alexis Prince, making her first debut since sitting out most of last year due to foot surgery, started the game and played for 21 minutes while getting six points, five rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
In her post game presser, Coach Kim Mulkey noted two areas of concern: free throws and defense. Baylor was 27 of 42 from the charity stripe for 64% so I agree with her. As to defense, she commented, "I thought we gave up too many points. 60 is too many for a game like this, and we've got to fix that. If we are going to play a lot of players and switch girls in and out, we have to know the value of defense." I would agree with her assessment. Oral Roberts isn't a quality program and Baylor allowed three different players to get into double figures and six different players to get at least eight points. If Baylor wants to compete with teams like Kentucky, defense must improve.
Up next is the game against Kentucky. I would really like to see a better defensive performance. In their season opener, Kentucky scored 111 points while grabbing 30 defensive rebounds and receiving 21 turnovers. Seven different players scored in double figures. While Kentucky did play Appalachian State, the ball doesn't just fall into the net (I know; I've taken MANY a bad shot). I think that Baylor will match up well offensively and I think we can win the turnover battle, but I think a solid defense will be key.
Baylor opens up 20-8 lead against Oral Roberts. Mulkey subbing liberally.— John Werner (@JohnWernerTrib) November 15, 2014
I see you, Kim, looking like an astronaut in that jacket.— Ryan Resch (@Ryan_Resch) November 15, 2014