LUBBOCK — Juicy Landrum makes a half court shot in shoot around before every game. It wasn’t nearly that far away, but it was deep enough to capture some oohs and aahs from the crowd in Lubbock when she sank a 3-pointer at least a yard behind the line as the first quarter came to a close. That swish set the ground work for a huge game for the sophomore in her first career start as the third-ranked Lady Bears rolled the Lady Raiders, 90-44, Saturday afternoon inside United Supermarkets Arena.
“It was big,” Landrum said with a grin. “Coach (Mulkey) says to get your feet set and you can nail the shot. I know the past few games that I haven’t been making shots. That was a big shot for the team.”
Landrum started out 8-for-8 from the floor as she finished with a career high 20 points off 8-of-10 shooting from the floor and 4-of-6 shooting from the perimeter.
“When I’m open, I just get my feet set and let the shot go,” Landrum said. “I know I have a pretty good shot but coach says take advantage of your opportunity. I think that’s what I did today.”
Kim Mulkey told Landrum that she would start at Texas Tech on Friday as the Baylor head coach rested Natalie Chou and Didi Richards on Saturday afternoon. Chou tweaked her wrist against Texas, and Richards tweaked her ankle against Oklahoma State.
“I saw a very confident kid that’s waited her turn,” Mulkey said of Landrum. “She’s put in a lot of extra work in the gym. I think you saw that it’s paid off for her. Juicy has got an unbelievable shot. She’s got great range on her shot. It’s good to see her step in like we didn’t miss a beat.”
Landrum hadn’t scored a point since the Kansas State game and hadn’t finished in double figures since Baylor hosted Iowa State a month ago. But that didn’t deter her from continuing to put in work in the gym. Not only on her shot but working on every facet of her game.
When asked what the biggest focus has been for her individually, she took no time say toit’s her defense. Back in December, after Landrum put up what was then a career high 14 points against Kentucky, Mulkey raved afterward about Landrum’s work ethic on that end of the floor.
“She took a beating last year because she had to guard Alexis Jones and Alexis Prince every day in practice,” Mulkey said. “Those are two fifth-year seniors last year. She really, really just never griped. She never complained. She just kept taking it. That’s hard when you’re a local kid because you’ve got every family member you even know in the stands, you’ve got all your high school people wanting you to do good. So nobody is more pleased and happy than I am for Juicy Landrum.”
The sophomore played well defensively against the Lady Raiders, sliding over to take a charge in the third quarter and defending in the backside of a zone throughout the fourth quarter.
“When I took the bigs completely off the floor and went five guards, she and Kristy (Wallace) had to battle down there with Texas Tech’s big girls,” Mulkey said. “I was probably as proud of that as I was the 3s that they made.”
Joining Landrum in double figures against the Lady Raiders were Dekeiya Cohen with 19, Kristy Wallace with 16, Lauren Cox with 12 and Kalani Brown with 11. Overall, Baylor shot 51.5 percent from the floor while holding Texas Tech to 27.1 percent.
Every Lady Bear who played scored. Including freshman Moon Ursin who hadn’t played the last three games. She finished with seven points and three rebounds.
“I thought Moon did great,” Mulkey said. “She hit a big 3 there. She ran the floor. She has tremendous speed and quickness. She did some things on the ball. They have to do that now. They don’t know when and how much or how long Natalie and Didi will rest. It’s a long season left to be played. Next man up. Next women up, I guess I should say.”