The conversations started several weeks ago, before the No. 2 Baylor women’s basketball team began Big 12 play.
Yes, the Lady Bears opened the Big 12 last year with a loss at Oklahoma State, 52-45. Yes, they finally get a chance for redemption on Saturday afternoon in Stillwater. No, they haven’t forgotten about it.
And despite reeling off 23 straight wins after last year’s loss in Stillwater – Baylor would not lose another game until falling to Oregon State in the Elite Eight – the memories are still fresh.
“They came out and stunned us,” Baylor senior forward Nina Davis said. “We came out and we weren’t ready to play. You can make plenty of excuses as to why that happened, but it was definitely all on us and we don’t want it to happen again.”
That Baylor (14-1, 3-0 Big 12) was somehow unprepared for the Cowgirls last season is a common refrain.
“(Oklahoma State) came out ready to play us, and I don’t think we came out ready to play at all,” Baylor junior guard Kristy Wallace said. “But this time, we’ll be ready. We feel like we know what they’re coming out trying to do.”
What Oklahoma State (12-2, 2-1 Big 12) will try to do isn’t hard to discern. The Cowgirls use their size to win games – 6-foot-4 junior center Kaylee Jensen leads the Big 12 in both scoring (20.1 points) and rebounding (10.4 rebounds).
The Cowgirls’ second-leading scorer is 6-3 junior forward Mandy Coleman at 12.6 points and 7.1 rebounds. Baylor will counter with depth in the post that Oklahoma State has yet to see this year. Davis, at 5-11, is the shortest of the bunch and a returning All-Big 12 selection and 6-7 sophomore Kalani Brown also starts.
“They have dominant post players,” Wallace said. “And they have the guards to facilitate to them.”
The Lady Bears bring two 6-4 forwards – freshman Lauren Cox and sophomore Beatrice Mompremier – off the bench, along with 6-3 senior Khadijiah Cave. Baylor leads the Big 12 in every team rebounding category, is outrebounding opponents by 26.7 rebounds per game and averages 19.6 offensive rebounds.
Baylor is coming off a 91-56 win at No. 17 West Virginia on Wednesday and has won all three of its Big 12 games by at least 30 points. Oklahoma State defeated TCU 82-67 on Wednesday in Fort Worth.
“You do bring up (last year’s loss), but you don’t harp on it,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “If I do have to bring it up a lot, then we’re in trouble … but we ran off how many victories after that? That’s hard to do, so I think we learned from that loss immediately.
“Our freshmen have no idea what it’s like to play (at Oklahoma State), so every time on the road it’s new for them. The upperclassmen have to show them the right way to do it.”