WACO, Texas — Jim Littell's Oklahoma State team came into its contest with Baylor as the third highest scoring team in the country.
The 13th-ranked Cowgirls, who averaged 85 points, were way below that in a 83-49 loss to No. 2 Baylor on Sunday.
“It's probably a team that is the best defensive team in the history of collegiate women's basketball,” Littell said afterward. “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. Their length on the perimeter as well as their length inside is just awful hard to handle.”
Baylor opened the second half on a 20-3 run and held Oklahoma State to 32 percent shooting.
Brooklyn Pope scored 18 points and Brittney Griner added 14 points and 10 rebounds for Baylor (12-1, 2-0 Big 12), which extended the longest active home-winning streak in the country to 47 games. Odyssey Sims had 13 points and Destiny Williams 11 points for the Lady Bears.
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.
Baylor coach Kim Mulkey hesitated before commenting on Littell's assessment of her team.
“I can't ever just say that,” Mulkey said. “That's like picking a favorite child. I just know this. Defense and half-court execution of your offense are two critical areas to win national championships. 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.”
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 could move back into the No. 1 spot in the poll on Monday after No. 5 Notre Dame beat top-ranked UConn 73-72 on Saturday, but that doesn't really concern Mulkey.
“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,” said Mulkey, who picked up her 350th career win on Sunday. “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.”
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.
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.
Before 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 postgame media conference. “I want to start by asking about Robert Griffin,” she said. “They didn't act like it was an ACL?”