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Mulkey, Lady Bears focused on fixing problems before thinking about Mizzou

Jan. 22, 2010

Sarah Groman | Lariat staff
Women's basketball head coach Kim Mulkey displays her frustrations with a call during Sunday afternoon's 65-56 loss against the University of Nebraska. Mulkey and the No. 10-ranked Lady Bears travel to Columbia, Mo., Saturday afternoon to take on the Tigers.

By Chris Derrett
Sports writer

On Wednesday, head coach Kim Mulkey was asked at the Lady Bears' weekly press conference if she could talk about the team's next opponent, Missouri. The answer was no.

"I'm not going out today to talk about Missouri with this bunch. We've got to go and continue to do some things that we've got to do better," Mulkey said.

Baylor spent due time on focusing on the Tigers (11-7 overall, 0-4 Big 12) in the latter half of the week, but in the days following a 65-56 loss to Nebraska all the attention went to areas of needed improvement.

With a combination of youthful inexperience, an injury to junior guard Melissa Jones and upperclassmen Kelli Griffin and Morghan Medlock struggling, Mulkey said the result has been confusion and uncertainty on the court. Freshman Shanay Washington explained some of Baylor's complexities.

"During the (Nebraska) game I can remember times where Brittney was open, but the shot was open," Washington said. "I thought, 'I don't know; I'll just wait to pass it to Brittney.'"

Executing drills and set plays with ball movement is where they begin. Right now, in Mulkey's words, the team simply makes one or two passes before tossing the ball in to Brittney Griner and expecting a basket.

"Well, it doesn't work like that against the good teams when the game's tied at 48 with seven minutes to go in the game," Mulkey said in reference to the Nebraska game.

With teams double- and triple-teaming Griner, the Lady Bears have struggled to respond. Medlock was a combined 2-15 from the field in the team's first three conference games, while Griffin went 10-26 in those decisions.

In place of injuries and slumping upperclassmen, Mulkey has rotated younger guards, sophomore Terran Condrey and freshmen Kimetria Hayden and Jordan Madden, into the game in search of more quality minutes.

While Mulkey says the effort has been outstanding, building a good team requires cohesion among teammates that can only be acquired with more time and practice.

"(Being a good team) is when you can call a timeout and say, 'Go run this play,' and all five of them know where to go."

Defense is still a work in progress as well. Too often the Lady Bears allow dribble penetration, Mulkey said, which she believes resulted in the combined 71 3-point attempts taken by the Oklahoma State and Nebraska squads that beat Baylor.

Tomorrow the Lady Bears have a chance to respond to a tough loss as they travel to Columbia, Mo., for an afternoon matchup against the Tigers. In their last game the Tigers nearly dropped No. 13 Oklahoma at Mizzou Arena, falling 62-61 on an Amanda Thompson jumper with nine seconds remaining.

Mulkey acknowledged the importance in rebounding from a home loss but also said she cannot predict the outcome of upcoming games with her team's inconsistency.

"We are very talented, but we're just not on the same page. We're wild out there right now. Effort (from the players) is outstanding. But it's not going to win many ball games against good teams," she said.

Lady Bears gain transfer

The Lady Bears will welcome Destiny Williams to their roster beginning in the fall of 2010. Williams, a 6-foot forward, transferred from the University of Illinois and is currently enrolled at Baylor.

Ranked the No. 8 senior by ESPN HoopGurlz out of high school, she also averaged 4.5 points for the U.S. U19 National Team at the 2009 U19 World Championships.