Feb. 27, 2011
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - After Odyssey Sims had two straight subpar games, Baylor coach Kim Mulkey talked to her freshman guard about taking a more active role in the offense.
After Sunday, Sims has every reason to be confident in her shot going forward. Sims matched a school record with nine 3-pointers and scored 37 points, including the go-ahead basket in the closing seconds that lifted No. 3 Baylor past No. 16 Oklahoma 82-81.
After Sims' floater in the lane with 8.3 seconds left, Danielle Robinson went coast-to-coast for Oklahoma, getting away a shot over Baylor's 6-foot-8 Brittney Griner that hung on the rim before rolling off as the buzzer sounded.
"We knew it would be a great crowd," Mulkey said. "We knew that they would play extremely hard. Everything that we expected did happen. What we didn't expect was Brittney to shoot as poorly as she did, but we kept going to her. We persevered.
"Odyssey grew up a lot tonight," her coach added. "She's a tough kid to guard. She needs to be shooting more."
Baylor (26-2, 13-1 Big 12) won for the second time since its only conference loss, at Texas Tech eight days earlier. The Bears maintained a one-game lead over Texas A&M in the league race with two games remaining.
It was only the third time this season that a conference foe played Baylor within single digits; Texas A&M did it twice. The Bears had been outscoring Big 12 foes by an average of 18.4 points.
Before a crowd of 9,858 that included NFL players Gerald McCoy of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers -- the brother of Oklahoma senior Carlee Roethlisberger -- Sims stole the show from Griner, her more famous Baylor teammate.
The freshman guard finished 9 of 12 from behind the arc, tying the school record set by Mandy Hayworth against Southwest Texas State on Dec. 7, 1999. Sims finished one off the Big 12 record for 3s in a game, held by three players. Thanks in good part to Sims, Baylor tied its school record with 13 3-pointers, coming in 27 attempts. Baylor also had 13 3-pointers in the game against Southwest Texas State.
Sims' 37-point outing was the second-best this season by a Big 12 player, trailing only a 40-point effort by Texas A&M's Danielle Adams against Kansas on Feb. 12.
The outburst followed a 1-for-3 outing for Sims in a win over Kansas State on Wednesday. In the Bears' previous game, against Texas Tech, Sims went 1-for-10 from the field.
"I didn't shoot the ball in the last couple of games," Sims said. "Coming into today's game, I just felt confident. That's why I knew it was going to be a tough game and when I'm open, to shoot it. So every time I was open I would shoot it and I just nailed it."
The Bears needed every point as Oklahoma played considerably better than it did at Baylor on Feb. 2, when the Sooners fell behind by 40 and evenutally lost by 22. Guards Danielle Robinson and Aaryn Ellenberg each scored 25 points for Oklahoma and Roethlisberger had 11 points and 11 rebounds for her second career double-double.
"Credit our guys, we stayed the course," Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said. "We wanted to limit their points in the paint and I thought we did a fabulous job of that. Right down the stretch they beat us off the dribble a couple of times ... but I thought our attention to the game plan was really good."
Griner scored 21 points on 7-of-19 shooting for Baylor, which led 57-49 with 14:56 left. Oklahoma answered with an 8-0 run, capped by a coast-to-coast drive by Ellenberg that tied the game with 12:30 left. As Baylor called timeout, McCoy -- a former Oklahoma football star -- stood on his chair by a courtside table and raised his arms, encouraging fans to make more noise.
With the Sooners up 75-74, Baylor's Destiny Williams was called for tripping Robinson on a drive with 3:08 remaining. Williams fouled out and Mulkey received a technical foul. Robinson only made two of the four free throws, though. Those were Oklahoma's only misses from the line in 22 attempts.
Baylor guard Melissa Jones hit her head on the floor while diving for a loose ball in the final minutes and was taken to a local hospital for tests, Mulkey said after the game. Baylor spokeswoman Julie Bennett said it's suspected that Jones suffered a concussion.
Griner made two free throws with 1:06 left to put Baylor ahead 80-79. The teams traded turnovers before a driving layup by Robinson over Griner with 16.6 seconds left gave the Sooners an 81-80 lead. Sims quickly answered, setting the stage for the final sequence.
Robinson said she "got a good look. ... I just looked at the rim and I think it was a great shot. It was on the rim for awhile, and Whitney (Hand) ended up getting the rebound but by that point it was too late."