Baylor women bring ‘angst’ to Allen Fieldhouse

Kansas guard CeCe Harper, right, and Baylor guard Odyssey Sims eye a possession in the Bears’ 75-55 victory Sunday in Waco, Texas.

Kansas guard CeCe Harper, right, and Baylor guard Odyssey Sims eye a possession in the Bears’ 75-55 victory Sunday in Waco, Texas.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Probable starters

Kansas (8-9 overall, 1-4 Big 12)

G — Keyla Morgan, 5-8, fr.

G — CeCe Harper, 5-8, sr.

G — Natalie Knight, 5-7, jr.

F — Jada Brown, 6-0, fr.

F — Chelsea Gardner, 6-3, jr.

Baylor (14-2, 4-0)

G — Odyssey Sims, 5-8, sr.

G — Niya Johnson, 5-8, so.

G — Makenzie Robertson, 5-9 sr.

F — Nina Davis, 5-11, fr.

F — Sune Agbuke, 6-4, jr.

There’s never really a good time to go up against Baylor University’s women’s basketball team.

Still, the timing couldn’t be worse for Kansas University, which plays host to the No. 7 Bears at 2 p.m. today at Allen Fieldhouse.

Baylor (14-2 overall, 4-0 Big 12) lost for just the second time this season in its last outing, a 66-55 home defeat on national television against No. 1 Connecticut.

“They might be a little fired up,” Jayhawks coach Bonnie Henrickson said, “but it is what it is. We ought to be fired up, because we lost the other night, too (70-58 at Texas). I hope we’ve got as much angst as they’ve got.”

The Jayhawks (8-9, 1-4) know exactly what they’re up against, because they already played at Baylor, losing 75-55 on Jan. 5.

Like she does against most opponents, Baylor senior guard Odyssey Sims lit up KU. One of the nation’s elite talents, Sims scored 30 against Kansas, hitting 11 of her 22 shot attempts and seven of her nine free throws.

Henrickson said the 5-foot-8 guard’s one-on-one ability makes her a problematic matchup every time she steps on the court. She scored at least 40 points three times this season, including a career-best 48 at West Virginia.

“She shoots the three, she shoots the floater in the lane, she can finish at the rim with contact, she’s got a pull-up jump shot,” Henrickson said of Sims. “She scores in all the ways you have to to be an elite perimeter player at this level. Then she’s unselfish, and she’ll pass and let go of it to get other guys shots.”

Sims only dished two assists against KU in the first meeting, but she averages 4.4 a game, to go with 31.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.0 steals.

The last thing Henrickson wants her players to do is foul Sims, an 83.1-percent shooter at the free-throw line.

“Then she’s scoring and resting,” the 10th-year KU coach said.

Kansas has dropped eight straight games against the Bears, and Henrickson admitted it can be difficult just to put a team in position to win against Baylor, coached by Kim Mulkey.

“It has to be an aggressive mentality. You’ve gotta believe you can win,” Henrickson said. “We’ve got to take from what we did really well there (at Baylor). I thought we tried to muddy it up defensively.”

KU held Baylor to 40-percent shooting in the first meeting, but the Jayhawks, led by CeCe Harper’s 15 points, only made 31.7 percent of the shots they took and were dominated in the paint, where the Bears held a 44-16 scoring advantage.

KU’s coach said the players’ attention to detail and concentration faltered at times at Waco, Texas.

“We had layups. We had really good looks offensively, and we didn’t finish,” Henrickson said.