The Baylor Women’s Basketball team narrowly missed out on a one seed in the NCAA Tournament, but they are still in a great position to make a deep run. The Bear’s first opponent is the Hawai’i Rainbow Wahine, who won the Big West regular season and conference tournament to make it to the NCAA Tournament.
Here are three stats that will determine the outcome of today’s game.
Three Point Defense
Hawai’i likes to take a lot of shots from beyond the arc, and they make a fair number of them. For the season, the Rainbow Wahine attempt 39% of their field goals from deep (48th in the country), and they average a 33% three point shooting percentage (63rd in the country).
Baylor does an above average job contesting shots from the perimeter, holding their opponents to a 1 percentage point lower three point percentage than their opponents average in other games (122nd in the country).
I don’t think Hawai’i has played against a team as athletic as Baylor all year, and the Bear’s length and speed may be too much for Hawai’i’s shooters to handle.
Free Throw Differential
When Hawai’i isn’t scoring from deep, they are scoring at the charity stripe. The Wahine have a 40% free throw rate, which is 4th in the entire country. They don’t shoot their free throws incredibly well, averaging only 69% (222nd in the country), but their high volume can overcome a lack of efficiency.
Baylor is below average in defending without fouling. Their opponents register a 0.7 percentage point higher free throw rate against Baylor than they do in other games (211st in the country).
The Bears also foul good free throw shooters more often than poor ones, and their opponents shoot 3 percentage points better from the line than their opponents typically do (314th in the country).
To their credit, Baylor is no slouch at getting to the free throw line, either. They have a 32% free throw rate (58th in the country), and they make 74% of their free throw attempts (76th in the country). Hawai’i is fairly average when it comes to their opponent’s free throw numbers.
In their conference championship game, Hawai’i went 2 for 20 from deep, but they made 27 free throws on 32 attempts. Baylor will be on upset alert if they send Hawai’i to the line 30+ times.
Neither team is particularly adept at forcing turnovers, but only one team is elite at preventing turnovers of their own.
Baylor’s offense does an excellent job protecting the ball. For the season, they have a 17.8% turnover rate (15th in the country). Hawai’i is a below average team in terms of protecting the ball. They have a 22.7% turnover rate (185th in the country).
Both teams are ranked in the 200s for turnovers created. Baylor’s opponents turn the ball over 0.7 percentage points less often when they play Baylor (205th in the country), and Hawai’i opponents turn the ball over 1.5 percentage points less often when they play Hawai’i (249th in the country).
Hawai’i needs a lot of things to go their way to win this game. Losing the turnover battle will make an upset that much more unlikely.
Her Hoop Stats Prediction: Baylor 79, Hawai’i 56