Baylor Women’s Basketball (#5, 21-5) looks to record their longest winning streak of the season with a road game against the Oklahoma State Cowgirls (8-15). The Cowgirls have lost nine of their last eleven games, including a 67-49 defeat to Baylor over a month ago.
Will Baylor continue their impressive run and maintain their top ranking in the conference, or will Okie State play spoiler? Here are three stats that will determine the answer.
Free Throw Rate
You might not realize it given their poor record, but Oklahoma State plays pretty good defense. They hold their opponents to 8.7 fewer points per game than their opponents average in other games (36th in the country), and they do so with above average interior defense (104th in opponent’s 2-pt fg percentage), average perimeter defense (164th in opponent’s 3-pt fg percentage), and a healthy turnover rate (50th in opponent’s turnover rate).
Where Okie State struggles the most, and where Baylor has a clear advantage, is keeping their opponents off the free throw line. Baylor attempts 3.4 free throws for every 10 field goal attempts (46th in the country), and Oklahoma State only holds their opponents to a 0.2 percentage point lower free throw rate than their opponents average in other games (184th in the country).
This mismatch played a big role in the previous meeting between the two teams. Baylor attempted 25 free throws and converted on 19 of them, earning 28% of their points from the line. Consistent free throw shooting masked Baylor’s anemic 2 for 11 perimeter shooting.
Oklahoma State can do a lot of things right on defense and still lose if they bail Baylor out with fouls.
Opponent’s Free Throw Rate
With a good defense and losing record, you might think that Oklahoma State must have a bad offense. And you’d be correct.
Okie State is 297th in points per game, 342nd in two point shooting percentage, and 310th in three point shooting percentage. Baylor, on the other hand, is 62nd in opponent’s points per game, 13th in opponent’s two point shooting percentage, and 171st in opponent’s three point shooting percentage.
If the Cowgirls score enough points to win, it will likely come from the free throw line. They attempt 2.9 free throws for every 10 field goal attempts (163rd in the country), and Baylor’s opponents have a negligibly better free throw rate against Baylor than their opponents average in other games.
In one of their two recent wins, Okie State attempted 27 free throws. Baylor could be in trouble if that happens tonight.
If this game is close, and it’s not due to a significant free throw disparity, I’d expect it to be a result of turnovers.
As referenced earlier, Oklahoma State does a good job forcing turnovers on defense. Their opponents have a 3 percentage point higher turnover rate when they play OSU than they average in other games (50th in the country).
Fortunately, Baylor is ordinarily very good at protecting the ball on offense. The Bears average an 18% turnover rate (20th in the country).
On the other side of the ball, Baylor is only average in forcing turnovers. Baylor’s opponents have a 0.3 percentage point higher turnover rate when they play Baylor than they average in other games (158th in the country).
Oklahoma State is worse than Baylor, but still above average, in limiting turnovers on offense. The Cowgirls have a turnover rate of 20% (76th in the country).
In the second of their two recent wins, Okie State won the turnover battle 12 to 18. They likely need an even bigger margin if they want to beat Baylor this evening.
Her Hoop Stats prediction: Baylor 69, Oklahoma State 56