The No. 21 Baylor Lady Bears (1-0) will face their first big challenge of the year when they matchup against the No. 4 Utah Utes (2-0) on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. ET (Big 12/ESPN+).
Both teams have had easy early games, with the Baylor dominating the Southern Jaguars 85-53 in their opener and Utah winning games over Mississippi Valley State and South Carolina State by an average of 59.5 points.
Regardless of the outcome on Tuesday, the game will be much closer than previous matchups for each team.
Lady Bears must be ready on the boards
With just one game of data, not much has changed from our preview of Baylor’s season. The Lady Bears looked great in their opening game, showing off a deep team with elite guard play paired with a few productive forwards.
The Lady Bears had a balanced attack against the Jaguars, with five players ending the night in double figures. Something they’ll have to watch out for on Tuesday evening is the rebounding battle. Being so guard-heavy leaves them undersized. If Baylor allows Utah to win the battle of the boards and dominate points on the paint, it could be a long night in Texas.
Utah looks ready for prime time
The Utes are picking up right where they left off last year. They’ve registered two blowout wins. Mainstays like Gianna Kneepkens and Alissa Pili look ready not just for the Pac-12 season, but also for basketball at the professional level.
It’s still an incredibly small sample size, but it’ll be interesting to see if this is the first breakout game for Kennady McQueen; the junior guard has yet to hit double digits. McQueen taking a step forward gives the Utes another offensive threat and unlocks another level of excellence for the squad—taking them from contenders to front runners.
Baylor may be at home, but Utah will be favored—and rightfully so. The Utes are stacked and have the better frontcourt and backcourt players. Utah could dominate this game, albeit maybe not by 59 points like their last two contests. But a comfortable double-digit win for the Utes would not be surprising.
The opening minutes will be key for Baylor. They have to get off to a good start and do all the little things—boxing out and protecting the basketball—to keep their home crowd engaged and establish that this game will be highly-contested all night long. If they don't, Utah will demonstrate why they're a top-five team and a favorite to win the Pac-12.
No. 4 Utah Utes (2-0) vs. No. 21 Baylor Lady Bears
When: Tuesday, Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Ferrell Center in Waco,TX
How to watch: Big 12/ESPN+