Kim Mulkey knew that Kristy Wallace’s point totals from a week ago — 27 against Texas and 25 against West Virginia — would be what stood out the most to people from the senior’s monster two-game stretch against back-to-back ranked teams. But for the Lady Bear head coach, it was Wallace’s performance on the defensive end that was most impressive about the reigning espnW National Player of the Week.
While Wallace didn’t finish with the eye-popping scoring that she had a week ago, the lockdown defense remained the same. She was tasked with guarding the Big 12’s leading scorer, Loryn Goodwin, and held her to half of her average offensive production as No. 3 Baylor defeated No. 23 Oklahoma State, 77-64, Wednesday night inside the Ferrell Center.
“(Wallace) guarded Goodwin, guys, and that kid is an unbelievable scorer,” Mulkey said. “She leads the league, and to think that Kristy guarded her 40 minutes and she only had, what, 10 points. Only four free throws, and she’s been shooting unbelievable from the foul line and getting a lot of free throws.
“Kristy missing the layups that she did is uncharacteristic, but you’ve got to go back and think what was she doing on the defensive end.”
Goodwin shot only 4-of-19 from the floor for 10 points, just under half of her 21.4 scoring average. Wallace finished with nine points off 4-of-15 shooting and nine assists.
“I think I personally just need to make more shots,” Goodwin said. “Credit to her and their whole team for playing pretty solid defense.”
Baylor’s defense held Oklahoma State to 35.3 percent shooting from the floor, but the Lady Bear offense couldn’t get going enough to get some separation. Baylor led by two points after the first and four points after the third.
A 3-pointer by Kaylee Jensen out of an Oklahoma State timeout had the Cowgirls within six of Baylor with seven minutes left to play. Needing an answer, Kalani Brown passed it out to Natalie Chou who drained a 3-pointer.
And the biggest smile spread across Chou’s face. Not because her bucket put Baylor back up by nine, the closest Oklahoma State would ever get the rest of the game, but because it was her first made 3-pointer since Baylor played at Oklahoma more than two weeks ago.
The sophomore broke her scoring slump on Saturday at West Virginia as she attacked the basket for layups and jump shots and finished with 13. Chou hit another triple two-and-a-half minutes later to give Baylor its first double-digit lead over Oklahoma State of the night.
“Natalie was able to hit a few big shots which really helped, guys,” Mulkey said. “I guess that’s why you call it a team sport. Kristy hit the big shots at West Virginia tonight. She’s worn slap out, and Natalie hits the big shot. She hadn’t hit those shots in three or four games. It’s why they call it a team sport. Somebody has to step up and do something at the right time.”
Chou finished the night with eight points, while Lauren Cox led the Lady Bears with 23 points and Brown added 19 points and 18 rebounds. Dekeiya Cohen had 15 points. The senior forward was a big part of Baylor’s offense early, as she had seven of Baylor’s 19 points in the first quarter off 3-of-4 shooting.
Without Cohen’s baskets in that opening quarter, the Lady Bears would have shot 6-for-20.
“At the beginning of the game, (Mulkey) told me to go in there and do what I do, which is offensive rebounds,” Cohen said. “I know it was important for me to do that, just to give us second chance shots. I mean, once you get second chance shots, most likely you’re going to start making them. It definitely helped us out a lot.”
Second-chance points were also key to Baylor’s victory as the Lady Bears scored 23 points off 21 offensive rebounds in their 13-point victory. Overall, Baylor outrebounded the Cowgirls, 54-33.
“That was the difference in the ball game, but their size and athleticism, we got caught (out of) rotation sometimes,” Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell said. “When you’re rotating, sometimes it’s hard to get back and keep people off the backside boards. But every time we would make a run, they’d get a second-chance opportunity.”