As stated earlier today, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish played the Baylor Lady Bears nearly even on the offensive boards in the second half of their November meeting after being dominated in the first half.
In tonight’s 80-61 loss to Baylor, they weren’t able to close the differential after halftime, at least in part due to forward Devereaux Peters’ foul trouble.
To summarize the rebounding story, three Baylor players had 4 offensive rebounds while only 2 Notre Dame players had more than 4 rebounds total. Although the rebounding performances of Brooklyn Pope (4, all offensive) and Destiny Williams (6) might have been expected, point guard Odyssey Sims’ 4 offensive boards and 7 boards total speak volumes about what a talent she is.
Sims’ numbers might not otherwise stand out as particularly spectacular in the context of her career, but hat was most impressive is that she found a way to impact the game even as she had a sub-par shooting night (6-for-16). In addition to the offensive rebounds that helped Baylor extend possessions on a 50% shooting night, her defensive presence was a large part of why Notre Dame struggled to establish a rhythm offensively.
Although her two steals were relatively modest, Sims’ pressure helped prevent Notre Dame ball handlers from getting them into their normally fluid offense and shut down passing lanes, which forced the Irish into a quick shot mentality early on.
On the defensive end, Griner’s 12 defensive rebounds were obviously a significant reason for Notre Dame’s inability to get second chance opportunities. But Peters’ quick two quick fouls didn’t help Notre Dame at all on that front.
Peters was limited to only 15 minutes and 3 boards and Notre Dame clearly struggled to contain Baylor on the offensive boards without her presence inside. Natalie Achonwa and Brittany Mallory stepped up admirably to fill that void with a team-high 6 rebounds apiece, but it simply wasn’t enough to overcome Baylor’s advantage in the paint, particularly once they started really clicking offensively in the second half.