Pope leads No. 2 Baylor women to rout of Cowgirls
- Associated Press
- January 6, 2013 - 8:09 PM
WACO, Texas - Baylor coach Kim Mulkey knows the way to win a title — defense and half-court execution.
Her second-ranked Lady Bears did both extremely well in routing No. 13 Oklahoma State 83-49 on Sunday for Baylor's 47th straight home victory. It's the longest active streak in the nation.
"(Those) are two critical areas to win national championships," said Mulkey, who picked up her 350th career win. "I've been fortunate to coach players who understand she's never going to let up on the defensive end of the floor. I was taught that, I played like that. You've just got to make sure they understand that when you recruit them."
Brooklyn Pope scored 18 points and Brittney Griner added 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Lady Bears (12-1, 2-0 Big 12).
With the victory, Baylor could move back into the No. 1 spot in the poll Monday. Fifth-ranked Notre Dame beat top-ranked UConn 73-72 on Saturday.
Mulkey isn't concerned where her team is ranked when the new Top 25 comes out.
"I never worry about it because I've come to learn that the only thing that matters is championships in your conferences, a good seed in the NCAA tournament," she said. "You don't have to be ranked number one to get a number one seed or to even be the overall number one seed. I think the (NCAA) selection committee uses it as a gauge, but because you're number one in the country doesn't mean you're going to be the number one seed. I don't put much stock in it, other than it might bring a little recognition to your school, your program."
Liz Donohoe scored 13 points and Toni Young had 12 points and 11 rebounds for Oklahoma State (11-2, 0-2), which has dropped two straight games after winning their first 11.
The Lady Bears opened the second half with a 20-3 run to take a 62-29 lead with just over 12 minutes left. Sims started the run with a steal and layup for the first basket of the half. She made another layup on an out-of-bounds play and Griner scored five during the stretch which saw Oklahoma State go scoreless for five minutes until Donahoe hit a 3 with 11:55 to play.
Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell called Baylor "probably a team that is the best defensive team in the history of collegiate women's basketball."
"They do so many things to you. It's so difficult to score. I thought our team played pretty well in the first half and then they've got a way of speeding you up and forcing you to take hurried shots or get out of your offense," he said.
Oklahoma State had averaged 85.9 points a game, third best in the country.
And while Pope appreciated Littell's compliment, she was hesitant to agree with him.
"That's great, but in practice, we're pretty bad. So that keeps us humble and we just want to keep doing better on defense as much as we can. That's good that he said that, but he's not our coach," she said, laughing.
Baylor took a 23-15 lead on a Pope layup with an assist from Sims. Oklahoma State answered with a 8-0 run that included three layups from Tiffany Bias and a pair of free throws by Donahoe that tied the game with 10:07 left in the first half.
From there, Baylor went on a 15-2 run that was sparked by a 3 from Sims and ended with a 3-point play by Sims that put Baylor up 38-25 with 3:47 remaining.
Prior to the game, the Washington Redskins playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks was broadcast on the video board above the court. While waiting for tipoff, fans were able to watch Baylor graduate Robert Griffin III.
Fortunately for Baylor fans, the Redskins' game was turned off before Griffin got hurt in the fourth quarter and Washington's 24-14 loss.
Griffin's status was the first thing Mulkey mentioned in her post-game media conference.
"I want to start by asking about Robert Griffin," she said. "They didn't act like it was an ACL?"
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