The #11 Baylor Women’s Basketball team (14-4) bring a certifiable winning streak into Morgantown to take on the West Virginia Mountaineers (10-7). But given who Baylor plays next (Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas), this game has the potential to be looked over. Let’s hope Coach Collen can keep her team focused on the task ahead and keep the winning streak alive.
Here are three Baylor stats that should decide the game.
Three Point Offense
Baylor has worked hard to improve their three point shooting this season, and their three best shooting nights have occurred in the last four games. The Bears are now making 34% of their attempts from deep (53rd in the country) to complement their excellent shooting inside (50%, 35th in the country).
I expect Baylor to shoot a lot of threes against West Virginia and to have a lot of success doing so. The Mountaineers have a good interior defense — opponents shoot 4 percentage points below their season average against WVU (58th in the country) — but a lousy perimeter defense. West Virginia allows their opponents to shoot 4 percentage points better from deep (324th in the country).
Two Point Defense
In my last preview, I wrote that Texas Tech was not a good three point shooting team. Naturally, the Red Raiders made an absurd 73% of their threes against Baylor. I’m going to say the same about West Virginia and I hope I don’t jinx it again!
West Virginia does not attempt many threes, and they don’t shoot particularly well on the ones they do attempt. Only a quarter of their shot attempts are from behind the arc (310th in the country), and they typically make 30% of them (184th in the country).
The Mountaineers substitute poor three point shooting with simply average two point shooting. WVU makes 46% of their two point attempts (120st in the country). This is where Baylor has more success on defense, holding opponents to a 4 percentage point lower two point shooting percentage than their opponents average in other games (58th in the country).
If Baylor can trade quality threes for WVU’s contested twos, there’s a really good chance Baylor wins this game. The final stat might complicate things, however.
West Virginia’s greatest strength on defense is forcing turnovers. Their opponents have a 7 percentage point higher turnover rate when they play WVU than they average in other games (11th in the country).
Baylor is pretty good at avoiding turnovers; they have a turnover rate of only 19% (34th in the country). If West Virginia is able to sneak in extra possessions due to sloppy play by Baylor, they can overcome their offensive disadvantages and make this a close game.
Her Hoops State Prediction: Baylor 70, West Virginia 64