Odyssey Sims and the Lady Bears grabbed an early lead and kept it throughout the whole game as they flaunted a 94-56 victory over the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles tonight.
Odyssey Sims proved she was back to 100 percent after suffering a hamstring injury that caused her to miss four games. After a rusty return against Notre Dame last week, Sims had season-highs of 27 points and six steals for her team.
“It was just a matter of time getting [Sims] back on the floor and in the flow of things,” Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey said about Sims’ performance. “Odyssey (Sims) is just pretty dominant with on-ball pressure…she never tires. She does a lot on her own. Sometimes I call the press and sometimes that’s just Odyssey. She just really had a good game tonight.”
Brooklyn Pope, who made her second start of the season, led the Bears on a 15-2 run, scoring six of the 15 points. The run began after Baylor had already captured an 18-7 lead, and the run pushed the lead up to 31-9 about five minutes into the game.
“I just run the court and the ball will come to me,” Pope said. “Somehow, someway, the ball will get to my hands. I just tried to run the whole floor this game, and it worked in my favor. I don’t think that the other team knew that I was on the court during that stretch. It worked.”
Pope totaled eight of nine from the floor and scored 19 points.
Oral Roberts’ top threat to Baylor, Kevi Luper, had only 19 points against Baylor after a slow start – not scoring her first shot until a good seven minutes into the game – compared to the 32 points she scored the last time she met the Lady Bears as a freshman.
“Anytime I come out and hit my first shot, or I hit even my second shot after I missed my first shot, you know it’s going to be a good game offensively for me,” Luper said. “It was a little frustrating, but at the same time, if you’re a scorer and a shooter you just keep shooting and you don’t think about it; you just think about the next play.”
Sims finished off the first half that seemed to be offensively dominated by Baylor, with a 30-foot three-point buzzer beater from about 30 feet. The Lady Bears entered halftime with a strong 51-34 lead over Oral Roberts.
Sims amped up the defensive power in the second half, registering four of her six steals for the Lady Bears and even had two in less than two minutes as she effectively covered Oral Roberts guard Jaci Bigham.
“I could see the expression on (Jaci Bigham)’s face that she kind of gave me,” Sims said. “I just try to pressure the ball as much as I can and get as much turnovers as I could.”
Although Oral Roberts was able to fight back to only a 13-point deficit early in the second half, Sims’ dominating presence and intensively active defense was too much for the Golden Eagles to battle against all night, and they quickly fell fatigued.
“Jaci (Bigham) dealt with Odyssey (Sims) for the first 28 minutes fairly well, but then got tired, and it went south in a hurry,” Cussen said. “I give Odyssey (Sims) a lot of credit with that, with her full court pressure and what she was doing.”
Brittney Griner kept close behind Sims recording 22 points for her team. The Lady Bears finished the game shooting 56.3% from the field and totaled 10 steals from the Golden Eagles, proving they can capitalize on both high scoring offense and the intense pressure and defense required to win games. -- Savannah Pullin