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Lady Bears hope to keep focus at OSU

Feb. 1, 2001

Mulkey: Defense to play pivotal role in coming game


Sports writer

The No. 20-ranked Baylor women's basketball team returns to the court tonight at 6 with a game against the Oklahoma State University Cowgirls at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater. The game was originally scheduled for Wednesday, but was pushed back because of a memorial service for the eight people associated with OSU's men's basketball team who died in Saturday's plane crash.

Baylor travels to Stillwater with a record of 15-3 overall and 4-3 in the Big 12 Conference. The Cowgirls are just above .500 at 10-8 overall and 2-5 in league play.

Oklahoma State does not boast one true superstar, but instead features 'balanced scoring from top-to-bottom,' according to Baylor head Coach Kim Mulkey.

Forward Kara Faulk leads OSU with 9.8 points and more than seven rebounds per game, while center Jessica Bates and guard Jessica Spinner contribute 8.4 and 8.2 points per game, respectively.

'They're very well-coached and fundamentally sound,' Mulkey said. 'They play within themselves and they're very patient offensively.'

For the Bears, guard Jessika Stratton might be asked to play a big role again with her outside shooting. She tied her career-high with 15 points in Saturday's win over the University of Texas and should have plenty of opportunities to shoot the ball tonight.

'They play a sagging man-to-man defense,' guard Brittany Bruns said of the Cowgirls. 'They kind of dare us to shoot. They don't let us feed the post.'

After Baylor sprang upsets on then-No. 17 Texas and then-No. 7 Iowa State University last week, Mulkey said there was no sign of a letdown coming into tonight's game.

'We've had very good practices this week,' she said. 'We've been working on some defensive things and we're going to need to play good defense.'

Baylor defeated Oklahoma State 81-69 on Jan. 3 in Waco. Faulk led the Cowgirls with 16 points, but Baylor guard Sheila Lambert stole the show with a 32 point, nine assist, seven steal performance while playing all 40 minutes. That game, however, was played at the Ferrell Special Events Center, and the mood at Gallagher-Iba Arena will be decidedly different with the OSU deaths still on the minds of fans and players from both teams.

'Dr. [Milton] Cunningham came to practice this week and we prayed for OSU,' Bruns said. 'It will be difficult to play, but like coach said, they're in our prayers but we have a job to do.'