Odyssey Sims came up limping in the first four minutes of the game, distressed enough by the pain in her right ankle to head to the sidelines.
Unfortunately for Texas Tech, she needed two minutes to recover instead of two hours.
Baylor’s All-American guard scored 30 points – she came in averaging 30.2 – as the seventh-ranked Lady Bears beat the Lady Raiders 75-58 Wednesday night at United Spirit Arena. The lefty sharpshooter from Irving MacArthur made six 3-point goals, two that thwarted Tech’s last good run midway through the second half.
“Most of the time we had a hand in her face,” Tech’s Amber Battle said, “but she’s the leading scorer in the country. She’s going to hit those shots.”
Baylor (21-3, 11-1 in the Big 12) won its seventh game in a row since an uncharacteristic two-game losing streak. Tech (6-18, 0-13) had its program-record losing streak extended to 14.
“We made runs at times, and I felt like we had a chance at different parts of the ball game,” Tech coach Candi Whitaker said. “Baylor is a very good team, and Odyssey is a tremendous player. Right when we were getting going, she would answer and put her team up, but I’m proud that we continue to fight, particularly at home in front of our fans.”
Sims passed two players – one of them former Slaton andOklahomastar Phylesha Whaley – to get to seventh place on the Big 12 career scoring list. That was after she got hurt and came out at the 16:12 mark of the first half, reluctant for a moment to put any pressure on her right leg. A couple minutes on the bench was all she needed.
Sims turned her ankle, but she and Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said there was nothing to worry about as Sims played 37 minutes.
“I thought maybe she got kneed in the knee,” Mulkey said. “I didn’t know it was an ankle, but she just needed to get it taped and get back out there.”
The Lady Raiders, blasted by Baylor in the first round of conference play, made much more of a game of it this time with the announced crowd of 4,390 cheering any little positive. A 3-point goal by Minta Spears moved Tech within 46-37 with 9:59 left, and another by Jasmine Caston made it 48-40 at the 9-minute mark as the noise level rose.
Then Sims and company put an end to any upset ideas.
The 5-foot-8 senior hit her fourth and fifth 3s of the game on consecutive trips to push the lead back out to 58-42, cinching Baylor’s sixth straight victory over Tech.
The Lady Bears eventually got the lead to 21 in the late stages.
Two weeks ago inWaco, Baylor beat Tech 92-43.
“I think we played a hundred percent different than we did at Baylor,” Whitaker said. “At Baylor, we were very tentative, really didn’t hook it up and play, and I thought the feel of our team was totally different – that they wanted to compete and wanted to do whatever they could to give themselves a chance to win.”
Mulkey said the biggest difference was the Lady Raiders’ increased aggression on the offensive end, being more willing to drive into the lane.
“We put on (the scouting report) that we wanted to get more paint touches,”Battlesaid, “and I feel like we did that tonight.”
Caston led the Lady Raiders with a season-high 19 points and set a tone. Spears had 14 and Battle 13.
“I told Jas after the game, I thought she played fearless,” Whitaker said. “She was ready to make plays. She did that for her team. She was moving well defensively and battling on the rebound with two hands and did a great job.”
Sims’ 30-point performance was her 11th this season, and she’s scored 20 or more in every game except one. That consistency is handy for a team with only two other seniors and no juniors.
“It’s been extremely important,” Mulkey said. “When you have as many freshmen and sophomores … . There’s nobody on our team that has played like Odyssey has. They don’t have the minutes. They don’t have the experience. So I can only think where we would be without her leading us and guiding us.”