MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) – Baylor coach Kim Mulkey knows teams will always be looking to beat her Lady Bears. Howeve, with Odyssey Sims’ leading the offense, Mulkey us confident in her team entering conference play.
The senior guard did little to disappoint in the opener of her final Big 12 season.
Sims scored 40 points, Sune Agbuke had 16 points and 14 rebounds, and No. 9 Baylor beat Kansas State 92-63 on Thursday night.
Sims shot 12 for 19 from the field and 12 for 16 on free throws as the Lady Bears (11-1, 1-0 Big 12) won their 50th straight league game.
“You want the ball in her hands,” Mulkey said. “When people make a run, make sure the right people on your team are shooting the ball. That’s what we did. We took good shots.”
Sims, who came in averaging just over 30 points per game, scored 15 in the first half points on 5-for-7 shooting.
“I just kept attacking in my mind, coming off screens whether it was a hedge or a double,” Sims said. “The ball is going to be in my hands almost every time and I just cannot stop being aggressive no matter what.”
Ashia Woods scored a career-high 27 points to lead Kansas State (6-6, 0-1), and Leticia Romero added 20 points and five rebounds.
Two free throws from Woods cut the Bears’ lead to 15-10 with 13:13 left in the first half and that was as close as the Wildcats got the rest of the way.
Sims anchored play outside the paint, paving the way to a career night for Agbuke.
The San Antonio, Texas, native posted a career high in points and fell just short of a career in rebounds.
“Sune was outstanding,” Mulkey said. “She for two years had to battle every day in practice with Brittney Griner and that senior group of post players that we lost. It’s her time to shine and she played the most minutes tonight that she has ever played. She was just solid.”
Baylor began the day second in the nation in scoring at 99.2 points per game, trailing only Oregon’s 105.3.
Woods and Romero kept the Wildcats within breathing distance in the first half, scoring nine points apiece.
Sims was even stronger in the second half. The senior stymied the Wildcats with 25 second-half points including a final 3-pointer to stretch the lead to 30 points with 1:52 left in the game.
“There is more distribution of the ball,” Kansas State coach Deb Patterson said. “It’s obviously Odyssey Sims’ team and she can be very, very dominant with the ball now. There’s more movement because she moves more.”
Agbuke anchored a strong presence in the paint for the No. 9 ranked Lady Bears. They outrebounded the taller, but more inexperienced Wildcats 42-30.
“You’ve got to have a post presence in this league,” Mulkey said. “We know what we get in Odyssey Sims, but Odyssey Sims can’t do it by herself. I’ve challenged the post players to have somebody step up and Sune was outstanding.”
Sims finished seven points short of her career high, set earlier this season against Kentucky.
Baylor beat Kansas State for the 17th straight time since the Wildcats’ last win in the series on Jan. 27, 2004.
“We had moments in this game that showed the kind of basketball game that we could be,” Patterson said of Baylor’s 51.7 percent shooting performance. “But those moments were brief in relation to the full 40 minutes. We’ve got to keep building on those positive and those good moments.”
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