Sims, Baylor top McNeese 82-57, set for Big 12

Odyssey Sims had more than a point a minute, right in line with

the season averages for the nation’s leading scorer, and was the

only Baylor scorer in double figures.

Get used to it, coach Kim Mulkey says.

Sims scored 27 points, and the No. 9 Lady Bears extended their

nation-leading home winning streak to 67 games with an 82-57

victory against McNeese State on Saturday night in the last game

before the start of conference play for both teams.

”That’s probably a lot of what you’re going to see,” Mulkey

said. ”You’re going to see Odyssey in double figures and then

you’re going to see it spread a little bit.”

Sims, the top scorer in the country at 30.1 points per game, led

a 14-2 first-half run to take control heading into a visit to

Kansas State for the Big 12 opener on Thursday.

Allison Baggett scored 22 points for McNeese State (7-4), which

had a three-game winning streak snapped. The Cowgirls play host to

Southeastern Louisiana in their Southland Conference opener

Thursday.

Baylor (10-1) won by at least 25 points for the ninth time in 11

games, which meant Sims sat for a long stretch of the second half.

That’s part of the reason she has more points (331) than minutes

(318) this season.

Mulkey unflinchingly agreed that it will probably take somewhere

around 30 points a game from Sims if the Lady Bears want to extend

their streak of three straight Big 12 regular-season and tournament

titles.

That’s fine with Sims.

”I’ll do whatever I need to do to help my team win,” she said.

”If it’s 15, if it’s 20, if it’s 10, as long as we win, that’s all

I can do.”

Alexis Prince, who had offseason foot surgery and made her debut

in a four-overtime loss to Kentucky only after the Lady Bears ran

out of players because of fouls, scored Baylor’s first four points.

She finished with eight to lead six Lady Bears with at least six

points apiece.

Before the game, Mulkey presented Sims with a ball commemorating

the school assists record she broke with a career-high 13 against

San Jose State on Dec. 3. She had two assists against McNeese to

put her at 524. Angela Tisdale had 493 from 2004-08.

”I’m not sure she’s not seen everything you can throw at her,”

Mulkey said. ”She’s developed into a better passer and she’s

finding players to where all they’ve got to do is catch and

finish.”

It won’t be long before Sims becomes the school’s career 3-point

leader. She was 5 of 7 from long range against McNeese and needs

six to break Jennifer King’s record of 195 from 1989-93.

Sims had back-to-back 3-pointers and 10 points overall during

the 14-2 run that put Baylor in front 27-12 with 7:47 remaining in

the first half.

Jalyn Johnson opened the second half with a 3-pointer to get

McNeese within 12, but Sims hit two free throws and made a

crosscourt pass to Imani Wright for an opener 3-pointer. Prince

added a putback layup for a 51-32 lead.

”Obviously we wanted to come here and compete,” McNeese coach

Brooks Donald Williams said. ”We really did. Certainly a great

game to play right before conference. Just makes us better.”

Sims put the Lady Bears up 61-39 with 11:58 remaining on a steal

and layup in the backcourt right after a bucket from Sune Agbuke

and went to the bench for good less than a minute later. She has

played at least 30 minutes just four times.

Agbuke, Baylor’s leader in rebounding and blocks, had eight

rebounds and four blocks while freshman Nina Davis led Baylor with

10 boards.

Cecilia Okoye had 14 points and six rebounds for McNeese, and

Haily Jenkins scored 11.