Kentucky Baylor Basketball (copy)

Juicy Landrum and the Lady Bears prepare for a noon tipoff against McNeese State on Wednesday inside the Ferrell Center.

Staff photo — Rod Aydelotte

Juicy Landrum said she was going to quote her coach. The sophomore guard has played well to start the season. Landrum is averaging six points in 16 minutes per game with a total of 14 assists to only two turnovers. But the biggest area of improvement for her has come on the other end of the court.

“Juicy, your defense has improved,” Landrum said with a grin in reference to what Kim Mulkey has told her this season. As Landrum quoted her coach, Mulkey sat to her right and smiled. Landrum has definitely grown as a player in her second year as a Lady Bear.

But it’s not just Landrum who has improved defensively. The effort on that end of the floor by the Lady Bears has helped No. 6 Baylor win eight games by an average margin of nearly 40 points, a stat that leads the country.

Overall, the Lady Bears have held their opposition to an average field goal percentage of 32, which ranks fourth nationally. Keep in mind, this defensive effort has come against three Associated Press Top-25 teams in UCLA, Kentucky and Stanford.

Mulkey said at this point, she thinks that Baylor is “a tad better defensively” than she thought they would be at this stage with so many new players. When it comes to what she wants her team to work on with Big 12 play looming the end of December, Mulkey said she wants the Lady Bears to keep doing what they’re doing.

“Right now we’ve been working on a lot of defensive stuff,” Mulkey said. “There’s not a whole lot more to put in offensively. … I’m a firm believer that you’re going to have off nights. We’re not going to shoot the ball great many times, but if we can get a big rebound, make a defensive stop or get a steal, I just think that’s important for this team.”

While Mulkey has been impressed by the play of her team defensively, she’s also learned that this Baylor squad shoots the ball pretty well at all positions. Just looking through the starters, Kristy Wallace I shooting 53.3 percent, Natalie Chou is shooting 38.2 percent, Dekeiya Cohen is shooting 50 percent, Lauren Cox is shooting 51.4 percent and Kalani Brown is shooting 77.3 percent. Brown’s percentage leads the country.

This high-powered offense welcomes in a McNeese State team that is 4-4 on the season. The game tips off at noon as thousands of elementary school students will be in attendance.

“I hope we have a good crowd,” Mulkey said. “I’m always concerned. Noon is a difficult time for our season ticket holders. I imagine they probably have to work, so I hope that it’s a decent crowd for TV.”

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