Prairie View A&M heads up the highway to face Baylor in Waco in NCAA first round action
#1Baylor (31-2, 15-1 Big 12) vs. #16 Prairie View A&M (21-11, 14-4 SWAC)
Sunday, March 20, 2011, Ferrell Center (10,284)
Tip-Off: 6:30 p.m. CDT
TV: ESPN2/ESPN3.com, Pam Ward (pxp), Stephanie White (analyst)
Audio/live stats: www.baylorbears.com || www.pvamu.edu/kpvu
Radio: 92.9 FM â€“ Rick May (pxp), Lori Fogleman (color) || KPVU 91.3 FM
Series: Baylor leads 13-0 with 10 wins coming in Waco. Baylor coach Kim Mulkey is 2-0 overall vs. the Lady Panthers. This is PVAMUâ€™s first-year head coach Toyelle Wilsonâ€™s first game against Baylor. The Lady Panthers won the SWAC Tournament and earned the league’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
Less than 150 miles separate Prairie View A&M and Baylor but the two schools are worlds apart. While Baylor is competing in its eighth straight and 10th all-time NCAA Tournament (all under head coach Kim Mulkey) this is only the third NCAA Tournament appearance in program history for the Lady Panthers. However, it is the Pantherâ€™s fifth straight postseason game and first-year head coach Toyelle Wilsonâ€™s debut in the tournament.
Wilson is making heads turn since taking over the program from Hall of Famer Cynthia Cooper who left at the end of the 2009-10 season to take a position at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Both of PVAMUâ€™s first two NCAA tournament appearances (2007, 2009) came under Cooper-Dyke. UNCW did not make the NCAA tournament this year and is playing in the WNIT.
Wilson led her team to a 21-11 mark and they won the SWAC Tournament Championship in nearby Garland, Texas. She acknowledges the difficult task of facing the No. 1-seed Lady Bears.
â€œWe know Coach Mulkey is going to try and have them prepared and make a statement game in the first round, but we focus a lot on what we need to do well,â€ said Wilson in a statement. â€œWe know that they’re really good, but we also have to focus on us. They’re number one and like I told the girls, they’re only stating the truth. They are number one in the country in defensive scoring, but we’re number six, so we need to score.â€
Wilson is right â€” Mulkey has no plans on letting her team be complacent in the first round.
"It is do or die. It is get the job done or go home,â€ said Mulkey to the media Saturday. â€œIf any coach of the 64 teams has to motivate their team at this stage of the season they are not going to win anyway, because 64 teams should be excited. 64 teams should be playing at their best level. You can’t hide the fact that some teams are more talented than others, but you can’t hide the fact either that upsets do happen. Prepare them in film room. Prepare them like you always have. Don’t get too high. Don’t get too low and understand that it is probably a little more intense, because everybody’s season is going to end if you don’t win."
Lady Panther forward Robin Jones will have the opportunity to play in front of family and friends Sunday evening. She is a native of Waco and will play in her hometown for the first time in her collegiate career.
â€œI haven’t played in Waco in a long time,â€ she said. â€œIt’s been awhile, four years, so it’s great to be back home with my family close so everybody can come see me play. It’s a great feeling.â€
The Lady Panthers are led in scoring freshman Siarra Soliz’s 13.0 ppg, she is followed by senior Dominique Smith at 12.1 ppg and sophomore Latia Williams’ 10.1 ppg. Williams leads the team in rebounding with 6.5 a contest while Jones follows with 6.2 an outing.
Baylor is led in scoring by sophomore center Brittney Grinerâ€™s 22.6 ppg, followed by freshman Odyssey Simâ€™s 13.5 ppg. In rebounding, Griner averages 7.8 per outing followed by Melissa Jones and Destiny Williams who both pull down seven rebounds per game. Griner also averages 4.48 blocks per game.