There will be plenty of dialogue about Baylor's 65-64 loss to UConn (and plenty for Baylor players and coaches to lament):
- Why did Baylor coach Kim Mulkey call a timeout at the end of the game?
- Why did Baylor guards penetrate so deeply instead of driving more under control?
- Why didn't star center Brittney Griner get more touches early on?
- How might Baylor have performed with senior point guard Kelli Griffin still on the team?
Others will get to those things, but the biggest problem for Baylor was quite clearly their turnovers.
Key statistic: turnover percentage
It's hard to win a game against anyone - much less UConn - if you're turning the ball over on nearly 30% of your possessions while the other team is manages to keep their turnover percentage down to 13.38%. It's especially costly when you have a weapon like Brittney Griner who you can utilize in a half court offense. The blame can't be placed entirely on losing their starting point guard just before the season, but seeing as how none of their ball handlers were particularly efficient, you have to wonder?
UConn statistical MVP: Maya Moore
This was obvious from watching: Moore was just on an entirely different level than anyone on the court. But how dominant was she? Moore accounted for 51.23% of UConn's overall production. She had a 34.43% usage rate - which means UConn relied on her heavily to score - and only turned the ball over on 9.03% of the time and had a true shooting percentage of 53.19%, partially on the strength of threes and 5-for-5 free throw shooting.
Given that she shot 3-for-10 from the three point line and had a 2point percentage of 50%, you might want her to relax on the threes. On the other hand, there was a very good reason not to go into the paint.
Baylor statistical MVP: Brittney Griner
Given that Griner was closer to a double-double with points and blocks than points and rebounds, you know she was dominant. Her presence in the paint forced UConn into 23 three points and an effective field goal percentage of 36.43%. Her scoring efficiency helped get Baylor back in the game with a true shooting percentage of 53.16%, which is solid. But her biggest contribution was unquestionably her free throw rate of over 100% - she got to the line 13 times and foul trouble played no small part in the outcome of this game.
While we can debate whether she got enough touches or if missing 8 free throws was a problem, UConn also deserves praise for preventing Griner from doing more damage by holding her to 1 offensive rebound and preventing Baylor from getting more than 20% of the available offensive rebounds.
Key player: Kelly Faris
Faris didn't have a big scoring game, which means her performance might be overlooked. But she was efficient as a ball handler with a pure point rating of 2.08 and her four steals were critical in creating those turnovers that just killed Baylor - Faris and Moore had 10 steals between them, which is quite remarkable.
What about UConn's depth?
Another interesting note is help these two stars received from teammates: Baylor had three players that outplayed everybody on UConn's roster except Moore and there was a significant gap between those three (Griner, Sims, Hayden) and Faris close. If UConn had lost this game, we'd immediately start questioning their depth.Then again, we could look at Baylor's roster and say that beyond 3-4 players (add Melissa Jones to the above trio) the other players contributed far less than the end of UConn's roster.
Of course, that's part of the folly of the hype about a November 16th game for a sport that gets its greatest attention in March: both of these teams have a lot to figure out and if they are to somehow meet again come tournament time, you'll see two very different units at work.