WACO (AP) – When Odyssey Sims caught a pass in transition, Baylor coach Kim Mulkey figured her star guard was headed toward another fast-break layup.
Instead, Sims pulled up at the 3-point line and knocked down the long shot from the left wing.
“I mean, she looked like LeBron out there just stopping and popping,” Mulkey said, drawing an aw-shucks look from the nation’s leading scorer after Sims scored 18 of her 24 points in the first half of an 89-51 victory against Iowa State on Wednesday night.
“You just don’t see girls do that,” Mulkey continued. “She catches it on the move. She didn’t dribble. She just … flick of the wrist. I just turned around and said, ‘There’s just not many girls can do that.'”
Sims fell short of her 30-point average because she went to the bench with 8 minutes left and the sixth-ranked Lady Bears (23-3, 13-1 Big 12) leading by 35 on their way to a ninth straight victory and 34th consecutive home conference win.
The 3-pointer that got Mulkey’s attention came during a flurry of three Iowa State turnovers that pushed Baylor’s lead from 26-17 to 33-17 and forced Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly to call two timeouts in less than a minute.
Imani Wright scored on a layup after the first miscue, followed by Sims’ 3-pointer after the second. Sims then stole a pass by Jadda Buckley for a breakaway layup.
The Cyclones finished with 19 turnovers — three off their season high — and the Lady Bears had a 20-0 edge in points off turnovers.
“They don’t let you relax,” Fennelly said. “That was the one thing that we kept saying. You can never relax. There’s not a lot of teams you play that you can say that about.”
Freshman Seanna Johnson scored 12 points to lead the Cyclones (17-8, 6-8), who haven’t won two straight games since a 14-0 start capped by a 92-43 win over Texas Tech that put them at 3-0 in the Big 12.
It was the first of two meetings between the teams in the final five games of the regular season and the first since Baylor beat Iowa State 75-47 in the Big 12 tournament championship game last season.
Sims, who tied her season low in shots, made nine of 13 from the field, including six of eight from 3-point range, and added nine assists, five rebounds and four steals. She broke Emily Niemann’s 10-year-old school record of 75 3-pointers with her second from long range early in the game.
“I really don’t look to take a lot of shots, just go with the flow of the game,” Sims said. “I thought our bench did a good job of coming in and finish shots and that helps a lot.”
Baylor frustrated Hallie Christofferson, the No. 2 scorer in the Big 12 behind Sims, with a variety of post defenders. She finished with 10 points but made just two of six from the field, even missing a shot from right in front of the basket after a steal in the backcourt.
“I kind of take this on myself,” Christofferson said. “Yeah, they’re playing good defense and they’re a very scrappy team, but I just didn’t make some shots I should have made.”
Makenzie Robertson, who is Mulkey’s daughter, hit three 3-pointers in the five 5 minutes of the second half to help the Lady Bears push their lead to 56-27.
Robertson, who had 11 points, made all three of her 3s as Baylor went 10 of 18 from beyond the arc. Freshman Nina Davis had 11 points and six rebounds, while Niya Johnson had a game-high 10 assists. Johnson and Sims combined for 19 assists and just two turnovers.
“I just think overall we looked very good,” Sims said. “We came out with a lot of energy, we jumped on them and we stayed on top of them.”
The Lady Bears held another opponent to less than 50 percent shooting. They’ve let just one team get above that mark in the past 279 games. The Cyclones shot 34 percent and were 3 of 25 from 3-point range.
“We’ve got to shoot the ball great,” Fennelly said. “When we’ve lost, we’ve done anything but shoot it great.”
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