By Jerry Hill
Baylor Bear Foundation
With Natalie Chou sidelined by a wrist injury for the last three games, the third-ranked Baylor Lady Bears needed someone to fill those shoes.
They're fitting quite nicely on Juicy Landrum.
Making her third straight start, the sophomore guard from nearby La Vega High School drained a career-high five 3-pointers for all 15 of her points, dished off a career-high eight assists and added six rebounds to help Baylor knock off 24th-ranked TCU, 83-63, Saturday night before a crowd of 6,524 at the Ferrell Center.
"She's just stepped right in," said Baylor coach Kim Mulkey, whose team ran its winning streak to 20 in a row with its 23rd straight victory over TCU (16-8, 7-6), improving to 23-1 overall and 13-0 in the Big 12.
"It's important that Juicy just understands, shoot it. Nobody's going to tell you not to shoot it. She started out and hit that big 3, and we should have gone right back to her. She's just playing with a lot of confidence right now."
With Landrum launching them from deep, Baylor's post duo of Kalani Brown and Lauren Cox scored 23 and 16 points, respectively, and combined to hit 15-of-21 from the floor. Brown bounced back from a subpar game in Monday's 74-65 win over Oklahoma with 23 points, seven rebounds, two blocks and two assists, hitting 8-of-12 from the floor and 7-of-9 from the line.
TCU coach Raegan Pebley said Landrum's 3-point shooting is "gigantic," because "when you have kids that don't hit those shots, then you can congest those post players quite a bit, which makes it pretty challenging for them."
Landrum knocked down her first trey just 36 seconds into the game and added two more in the second quarter as Baylor jumped out to a 44-24 lead at the break.
"I feel pretty confident," said Landrum, who has scored 39 points and hit a combined nine 3-pointers in the three games Chou has missed. "I wasn't as confident about my defense in the beginning of the season, but then I started coming to the gym extra and working on my defense. I really pride myself on my defense."
Baylor stretched it out to 68-40 in the third, then went up 75-42 when freshman Didi Richards fed Brown for a layup with 7:42 left in the game.
"That girl can penetrate and look awkward doing it, she looks like a contortionist out there," Mulkey said of Richards, who had seven points, nine rebounds and two assists. "There's no substitution for dribble penetration. When you've got a kid that can take it off the dribble and make things happen, you've got to play them. And Didi does that for us."
"If you've got three guards that are scoring the ball and also having that many assists, then you'll be hard to guard," Mulkey said. "They really rewarded our posts. Everybody wants a bit of that."
As much of a positive as Landrum's performance was, Mulkey will harp on the defensive giving up 23 fourth-quarter points and allowing the Horned Frogs to go on a 13-0 run to whittle into the lead.
"I'll put a lot of stock in it," Mulkey said. "How do you lose a 30-something-point lead. We need to rest Kristy. I'm going to break the film down with a couple of them tomorrow in that fourth quarter and say, 'Tell me why you do this, explain to me why you look so good in practice and the lights come on and you do this.' If I don't, how do I make them better?"
Baylor goes back on the road to face No. 22/25 Oklahoma State (18-6, 9-4) at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Stillwater. Kaylee Jensen scored 16 points in a row in the fourth quarter and a career-high 35 points overall to help the Cowgirls hold off Iowa State, 81-73, Saturday in Ames.