After Baylor's upset loss to Kansas yesterday, both coach Kim Mulkey and senior star Odyssey Sims commented on the team's struggles to find five players who could contribute anything consistently.
Sims' quote in the AP recap was particularly representative of what appeared to be happening from watching the game.
After her explosive first half, Sims made only 4 of 19 shots in the second half, and her teammates weren't much help offensively.
"I expect them to try and step up and score," Sims said. "We didn't really have that tonight so it makes things a little harder when they're looking for me every possession when I can't get the ball every single possession when I'm being denied the ball."
People are quick to note Sims' inefficient numbers, but it's really difficult to ignore the context that she and Mulkey discussed after that game.
Similar to UConn, Kansas directed the entirety of their defensive attention toward Sims - they were in a box-and-one for most of the game, with one player face-guarding Sims and trying to turn the game into a four-on-four affair with the rest of Baylor's lineup. In other words, they were willing to bet that those other four players on the floor couldn't beat their junk defense.
Yet Baylor still looked to Sims repeatedly to score because they simply could not find any other consistent options.
Were some of Sims' shots rushed? Absolutely. But those that were rushed were clearly either out of frustration or relief that she finally found any breathing room - that's what the defense was designed to do and when the rest of the team is shooting 26.19% Sims really was the best option on the floor just to create a shot (or facilitate the creation of a shot for someone else).
Sims is putting up this many shots because Baylor doesn't have many other options. Every opponent knows that. And Sims' teammates continue to give her the ball waiting fo her to score. Over the course of a game, that takes a toll on a player, both mentally and physically...which is the defense's goal.
But once again, we can't ignore what an impressive talent Sims is: unable to find any breathing room and constantly finding herself surrounded by defenders on the drive, the 5-foot-8 Sims managed to find scoring opportunities off of her game-high 7 rebounds and scored 21 (on 9-for-18 shooting) of Baylor's 32 points in the first half.
To no fault of her own, Sims is a one-woman show right now. And Baylor will be limited until one of her teammates steps up.