STILLWATER, Okla. — The offense was there for Baylor, as per usual, as the Lady Bears are second in the country in scoring offense (86.8) and field goal percentage (51.4). But Baylor’s defense reached another level. The Lady Bears — holders of the nation’s best field goal percentage defense (31.5) — stifled No. 21 Oklahoma State on its home court where it’s 13-1 on the season.
Baylor held the Cowgirls to just over half their scoring average (82.3) as the third-ranked Lady Bears dominated Oklahoma State inside Gallagher-Iba Arena, 87-45, Tuesday night.
“We played extremely well tonight,” Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey said. “We basically played a game where we could do no wrong. We shot it well. We defended like crazy. It’s just one of those nights, but that doesn’t mean (Jim) Littell’s team isn’t good. They’re third in the league. They play good. It just wasn’t their night tonight.”
Mulkey’s message to her team before the game was to limit every Cowgirl — not just the starters — to below their average. Message received.
Coming off a career-high 35 points, Big 12 Player of the Week Kaylee Jensen finished with 18 points. She averages 18.6. And then there’s Loryn Goodwin. The Oklahoma State point guard is the Big 12 leading scorer with 21.2 points per game. She’s only been limited to single digit scoring two times this season. After Tuesday night, make that three times.
The defense of Baylor senior Kristy Wallace once again held Goodwin to well below her average as she finished with nine points off 2-of-16 shooting from the floor.
Overall, the Lady Bears held every player on the Oklahoma State roster to at or below her average. The first time these two teams met two weeks ago, the Cowgirl bench outscored Baylor’s, 20-3. It was a different story on Tuesday as the Lady Bear reserves powered to a 17-1 advantage.
“I think we took away a lot of the perimeter 3s,” Mulkey said. “You think, well first you need to take away Jensen. Jensen is going to get hers because she’s just that big in there. We match up well with her. Everything she gets she’s going to have to work for. We allowed (LaTashia) Jones to come off the bench in Waco, their bench killed our bench in Waco. Jones hit a lot. She had 13 points (in Waco).
“We wanted to eliminate all the extra scoring on the perimeter. I just thought we contested things. I thought we were outside the 3-point line every time they touched the ball. They got a lot of free throws. They’re a great free throw shooting team. We didn’t allow the free throws to beat us.”
That lockdown defense limited Oklahoma State to 21.3 percent shooting on its home court. That’s the lowest percentage for the Cowgirls all season and marks the only time they’ve shot less than 30 percent from the floor. From the perimeter, Oklahoma State was 2-for-17.
“I thought our defense was good,” Mulkey said. “After the first 3 by Jensen and then the other kid hit a 2, we made everything hard for them. We wouldn’t let them get in the paint. We contested everything. We never gave them any open looks with the ball in their hands.”
While the defense dominated, the Baylor offense continued to do its thing. For the fourth-straight game, the Lady Bears shot better than 50 percent from the floor at 55.1 percent as four Lady Bears finished in double figures.
Senior Dekeiya Cohen and junior Kalani Brown led the way each with 20 points. It marked a career best for Cohen as the senior also added 11 rebounds for her third career double-double. Wallace, in addition to her play on the defensive end, finished with 18 points along with six assists. Freshman Alexis Morris was the fourth Lady Bear in double figures with 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting.
While Brown put up 20 points for the 14th time this season, she also pulled down a career-high 23 rebounds against Oklahoma State.