Monday, April 12th, 2021

2020-21 Big 12 Virtual Media Day: Social Media Recap

Preseason Poll || Social Media Recap || Conference Schedule

The Big 12 Conference held its annual media day in a virtual setting Wednesday. Baylor tops the league’s preseason coaches’ poll for the tenth time since 2006 with Texas, Iowa State, Kansas State, and West Virginia rounding out the top five.

2020-21 Big 12 Conference Women’s Basketball Preseason Poll

1. Baylor (9) 81
2. Texas (1) 73
3. Iowa State 69
4. Kansas State 50
5. West Virginia 45
6. Texas Tech 36
7. Oklahoma 33
8. Oklahoma State 26
9. TCU 23
10. Kansas 14

(first place votes in parentheses; coaches not allowed to vote for their own team)

The conference began media day by announcing a televised preview of the conference’s teams. Fans can view the multi-episode format preview on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ on Friday, November 20. The episodes will feature comments from head coaches with LaChina Robinson providing commentary on the women’s teams. The women’s basketball regular season tips off on Wednesday, November 25, and league play begins a week later on Dec. 2 with Iowa State visiting TCU.

Below are some interesting tidbits from media day followed by the league’s composite schedule.

Big 12 Conference Women’s Basketball 2020-21 Composite Conference Schedule

Wednesday, December 2
Iowa State at TCU

Thursday, December 10
Baylor at West Virginia
Oklahoma at Kansas

Monday, December 14
Texas Tech at Baylor

Tuesday, December 15
Oklahoma State at Oklahoma

Thursday, December 17
Kansas at Texas

Friday, December 18
K-State at Iowa State
West Virginia at Oklahoma State

Saturday, December 19
TCU at Texas Tech

Monday, December 21
Texas at K-State

Saturday, January 2
Baylor at TCU
West Virginia at Kansas
K-State at Oklahoma
Texas Tech at Oklahoma State

Sunday, January 3
Iowa State at Texas

Tuesday, January 5
West Virginia at K-State

Wednesday, January 6
Kansas at Iowa State
Oklahoma State at TCU
Oklahoma at Texas Tech

Saturday, January 9
Iowa State at Texas Tech
TCU at Oklahoma
Kansas at Oklahoma State
Texas at West Virginia

Sunday, January 10
K-State at Baylor

Tuesday, January 12
Oklahoma at Texas

Wednesday, January 13
Baylor at Kansas
Oklahoma State at Iowa State
Texas Tech at West Virginia

Thursday, January 14
TCU at K-State

Saturday, January 16
Iowa State at Baylor
West Virginia at Oklahoma

Sunday, January 17
Oklahoma State at K-State
Kansas at TCU
Texas at Texas Tech

Tuesday, January 19
Oklahoma at Iowa State

Wednesday, January 20
Baylor at Oklahoma State
Texas Tech at Kansas
TCU at Texas
K-State at West Virginia

Saturday, January 23
Oklahoma at Baylor
Texas at Iowa State
K-State at Kansas
Texas Tech at TCU
Oklahoma State at West Virginia

Tuesday, January 26
TCU at Baylor

Wednesday, January 27
Iowa State at K-State
Kansas at Oklahoma
Texas at Oklahoma State
West Virginia at Texas Tech

Saturday, January 30
Oklahoma State at Kansas
West Virginia at TCU
Texas Tech at Texas

Sunday, January 31
Baylor at Iowa State
Oklahoma at K-State

Wednesday, February 3
Kansas at Baylor
Texas at Oklahoma
TCU at Oklahoma State
Iowa State at West Virginia
K-State at Texas Tech

Saturday, February 6
Texas Tech at Iowa State
TCU at Kansas
Oklahoma at Oklahoma State
West Virginia at Texas

Sunday, February 7
Baylor at K-State

Tuesday, February 9
Iowa State at Oklahoma

Wednesday, February 10
K-State at TCU
Oklahoma State at Texas
Baylor at Texas Tech
Kansas at West Virginia

Saturday, February 13
TCU at Iowa State
Kansas at K-State
Oklahoma State at Texas Tech

Sunday, February 14
Texas at Baylor
Oklahoma at West Virginia

Wednesday, February 17
West Virginia at Baylor
Iowa State at Kansas
K-State at Oklahoma State
Texas Tech at Oklahoma
Texas at TCU

Saturday, February 20
Baylor at Oklahoma
Iowa State at Oklahoma State
Kansas at Texas Tech
TCU at West Virginia

Sunday, February 21
K-State at Texas

Wednesday, February 24
Oklahoma State at Baylor
West Virginia at Iowa State
Texas at Kansas
Texas Tech at K-State
Oklahoma at TCU

Monday, March 1
Baylor at Texas

Baylor sweeps 2020-21 Big 12 preseason individual awards

For just the second time in Big 12 history, a team sweeps the preseason individual awards. Baylor dominates the accolades and lands three players on the Preseason All-Big 12 team.

Preseason Player of the Year
NaLyssa Smith, Baylor, F, 6-2, Jr., Converse, Texas

Preseason Newcomer of the Year
DiJonai Carrington, Baylor, G, 5-11, Gr., San Diego, Calif.

Preseason Freshman of the Year
Sarah Andrews, Baylor, G, 5-6, Irving, Texas

Preseason All-Big 12 Team

  • Queen Egbo, Baylor, C 6-3 Jr.
  • DiDi Richards, Baylor, G 6-1 Sr.
  • NaLyssa Smith*, Baylor, F 6-2 Jr.
  • Ashley Joens*, Iowa State, G/F 6-0 Jr.
  • Ayoka Lee*, Kansas State, C 6-6 So.
  • Taylor Robertson, Oklahoma, G 5-7 Jr.
  • Natasha Mack*, Oklahoma State, F 6-4 Sr.
  • Lauren Heard*, TCU, G 5-9 Sr.
  • Charli Collier*, Texas, F/C 6-5 Jr.
  • Vivian Gray, Texas Tech, G 6-1 Sr.

* – Unanimous Selection.
^ – Stats are from the 2019-20 season at Oklahoma State.
Honorable Mention (listed alphabetically by school)
Kristin Scott (Iowa State), Zakiyah Franklin (Kansas), Holly Kersgieter (Kansas), Rachel Ranke (Kansas State), Ana Llanusa (Oklahoma), Madi Williams (Oklahoma), Celeste Taylor (Texas), Chrislyn Carr (Texas Tech), Kysre Gondrezick (West Virginia) and Kari Niblack (West Virginia).

Baylor continues to load up on highly-touted transfers, adds Penn State leading scorer Kamaria McDaniel

Kamaria McDaniel

Kamaria McDaniel. Photo: Baylor Athletics.

Baylor added its third transfer in the offseason with the addition of former All-Big Ten guard, Kamaria McDaniel. She arrives from Penn State where she led the program in scoring last season and was second in scoring in the Big Ten.

McDaniel averaged 19.8 points per game and scored double figures in 28 of 30 games last season. She will have to sit the 2020-21 season before competing in her final season of eligibility in 2021-22.

The Inkster, Mich. native joins Jaden Owens (UCLA) and DiJonai Carrington (Stanford) as transfers. Owens and McDaniel will sit out the 2020-21 season due to NCAA transfer rules. However, Carrington is eligible immediately as a graduate transfer.

Baylor, the last team to win the NCAA Championship (2019), won the Big 12 regular-season championship last season, finished 28-2 overall record and ended the season at No. 3 in national polls.

Despite obstacles, Baylor’s Cox, Cooper and Landrum are primed and excited for WNBA draft

2020 WNBA Draft, Friday, April 17, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN App || Draft Order

It’s possible that Baylor will have three players selected in Friday’s WNBA draft: Lauren Cox, Te’a Cooper and Juicy Landrum.

Cox, a 6-4 forward, and the most decorated of the three, is certain to be a top-five pick. Cooper, a 5-8 guard who arrived at Baylor as a graduate transfer from South Carolina, is also predicted to go in the first round. Landrum, also a 5-8 guard, will most likely be selected in the second or third round.

While the trio has not been able to practice in a gym to hone their skills since the abrupt end to the NCAA season due to the coronavirus pandemic, they have kept their spirits up while working out at home. Unfortunately, they will not be able to attend an actual draft in person since it will be a virtual event, but they are still excited about it.

Initially, it was a hard transition from the sudden end of the season and not being able to play in the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments, to feeling optimistic about the draft.

“The hardest part about it was playing in my last game and not even knowing it,” Cox said. “When we found out that news, I cried for a couple of days, just trying to process everything it was a lot of different emotions. So, it was definitely hard.”

For Cooper, not being able to play in the postseason was hard to swallow given the promising prospects of the team.

“I believe we would have went very far,” she said.

In weeks after the canceled season, Cox, Cooper, and Landrum have done what they can to stay fit and prepare for getting selected, even in trying circumstances.

“For me, it’s hard to work on basketball skills, especially like shooting and stuff because you can’t really get in the gym,” Cox said. “And I mean, shooting outside is always good, but you have to factor in wind and sun in your eyes, that kind of thing. So, it’s hard to get some good quality shots up when you have factors like that. But I’ve been doing everything that I can to stay in shape. I’ve been lifting to keep my body strong.”

Cooper and Landrum spent their time in a similar manner.

“I’m the same as Lauren,” Cooper said. “I’ve been doing everything and I can to stay in shape and work out.”

With shelter-in-place orders all around the country, Landrum limits her workouts to bodyweight exercises and workouts on the web because “it’s kind of hard to go jogging.”

Since the Dallas Wings have the No. 2 pick in the draft, it’s highly likely that Cox could end up playing less than 30 miles from her hometown of Flower Mound.

No matter where they end up in the draft order, if all three Baylor players are picked, it would mark the first time in program history that Baylor had three selections in one draft. Previously, the Bears had two selections in 2002, 2013, 2017 and 2019.

Round 1

Pick Team
1 New York Liberty
2 Dallas Wings
3 Indiana Fever
4 Atlanta Dream
5 Dallas Wings (From Phoenix)
6 Minnesota Lynx
7 Dallas Wings (From Seattle – via Connecticut, Phoenix)
8 Chicago Sky
9 New York Liberty (From Dallas – via Las Vegas)
10 Phoenix Mercury (From Los Angeles – via Connecticut)
11 Seattle Storm (From Connecticut)
12 New York Liberty (From Washington)

Round 2

Pick Team
1 New York Liberty
2 Dallas Wings
3 Indiana Fever
4 Atlanta Dream
5 Dallas Wings (From Phoenix)
6 Minnesota Lynx
7 Dallas Wings (From Seattle – via Connecticut, Phoenix)
8 Chicago Sky
9 New York Liberty (From Dallas – via Las Vegas)
10 Phoenix Mercury (From Los Angeles – via Connecticut)
11 Seattle Storm (From Connecticut)
12 New York Liberty (From Washington)

Round 3

Pick Team
1 Atlanta Dream
2 New York Liberty
3 Atlanta Dream (From Dallas)
4 Indiana Fever
5 Phoenix Mercury
6 Chicago Sky (From Minnesota)
7 Seattle Storm
8 Chicago Sky
9 Las Vegas Aces
10 Los Angeles Sparks
11 Connecticut Sun
12 Washington Mystics


Dawn Staley, Kim Mulkey and Kelly Graves speak out on cancellation of the NCAA tournament

Video: Oregon head coach Kelly Graves’ reaction

South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley

“This is a difficult time with so many conflicting emotions. First and foremost, we have to recognize how important it is to do the right thing for our community. Sports is a big part of our lives, but just one part of how we are connected to each other. We need to step back and think about the larger good served by canceling events that put people at risk.

“As competitors, we are certainly disappointed that we will not have the opportunity to contend for a second National Championship. That said, it will not diminish the way we look at our season, how we value our body of work over the last few four months. We have measured ourselves against the best in the country over that time, and will embrace and relish that accomplishment.

“For our seniors and the others throughout the country, who will not have the chance to finish their careers the way they expected to – that’s a tougher, more emotional thing to process. Again, we have to lean on that this is the right thing for everyone’s health and safety.”

Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey

First, I recognize the potential health issues for the student-athletes and the public at large, and I am sensitive to making sure we do our part to ensure the safety of everyone. We were, however, disappointed to learn that we would not be able to have the opportunity to defend our national championship.

We were particularly saddened for our seniors, Lauren Cox and Juicy Landrum, as well as our graduate transfers Te’a Cooper and Erin DeGrate. They poured their heart and soul into our program, and without knowing it, they may have played their final game on March 8.

Yesterday, I was shocked to learn of the NCAA’s decision to cancel, rather than postpone the championship. It would be helpful to all of us to know what information the decision makers had that resulted in the outright cancellation of the championship, rather than an attempt to delay until the situation improves.

I am appreciative that the NCAA is now considering the impact on student-athletes not having a postseason in women’s basketball. It is still my hope that if the current situation improves, the NCAA will make every effort to revive the championship this year. If not, I hope they give serious consideration for seniors to have an additional year of eligibility.

Oregon head coach Kelly Graves

Big 12 coaches select Baylor as preseason fave to win conference title, Lauren Cox is Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year

Image: Big 12 Conference.

Big 12 coaches tabbed Baylor as the preseason favorite to win the conference’s regular-season title. The Lady Bears top the preseason poll for the ninth time in conference history. Overall, Baylor has won or tied 10 regular-season crowns, including the last nine. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own teams.

Baylor forward Lauren Cox is the Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year.  As the Preseason Freshman of the Year, Texas guard Celeste Taylor headlines the 2019-20 Preseason All-Big 12 Women’s Basketball Team. Baylor guard Te’a Cooper, a graduate transfer from South Carolina, is the league’s Newcomer of the Year.

The 2019-20 season opens on Tuesday, November 5 with three non-conference games. League action begins on Friday, January 3.

2019-20 Big 12 Conference Women’s Basketball Preseason Poll

1. Baylor (9) 81
2. Texas (1) 71
3. West Virginia 66
4. Iowa State 49
5. K-State 47
6. Oklahoma State 39
7. Oklahoma 34
8. TCU 27
9. Texas Tech 26
10. Kansas 10

(first place votes in parentheses; coaches not allowed to vote for their own team)

2019-20 Big 12 Conference Women’s Basketball Preseason Awards
(coaches not allowed to vote for own players)

Preseason Player of the Year
Lauren Cox, Baylor, F, 6-4, Sr, Flower Mound, Texas

Preseason Newcomer of the Year
Te’a Cooper, Baylor, G, 5-8, Gr, Powder Springs, Ga.

Preseason Freshman of the Year
Celeste Taylor, Texas, G, 5-11, Valley Stream, N.Y.

Preseason All-Big 12 Team

Name School Pos Ht Cl-Exp PPG RPG Hometown
Lauren Cox Baylor F 6-4 Sr-3L 13.0 8.3 Flower Mound, Texas
Juicy Landrum Baylor G 5-8 Sr-3L 11.1 5.1 Waco, Texas
NaLyssa Smith Baylor F 6-2 So-1L 8.4 5.1 Converse, Texas
Kristin Scott Iowa State F/C 6-3 Jr-2L 12.8 7.1 Kasson, Minn.
Peyton Williams K-State F 6-4 Sr-3L 15.5 9.5 Topeka, Kan.
Ana Llanusa Oklahoma G 6-0 Jr-2L 18.3 3.4 Choctaw, Okla.
Vivian Gray Oklahoma State F 6-1 Jr-1L 20.0 5.5 Argyle, Texas
Joyner Holmes Texas F 6-3 Sr-3L 11.8 6.7 Cedar Hill, Texas
Sug Sutton Texas G 5-8 Sr-3L 12.7 5.4 St. Louis, Mo.
Brittany Brewer Texas Tech F 6-5 Sr-3L 13.9 7.3 Abilene, Texas
Tynice Martin West Virginia G 5-11 Sr-3L 18.0 5.8 Atlanta, Ga.

* – There was a tie, which included an 11th individual for the Preseason All-Big 12 Team. 

Honorable Mention (listed alphabetically by school)
Te’a Cooper (Baylor), DiDi Richards (Baylor), Ashley Joens (Iowa State), Rachel Ranke (K-State), Kianna Ray (TCU), Charli Collier (Texas), Lashann Higgs (Texas),  Chrislyn Carr (Texas Tech), Kari Niblack (West Virginia) and Madisen Smith (West Virginia).

Baylor accepts invitation to the White House

President Barack Obama welcomes Coach Kim Mulkey and the 2012 NCAA Women’s Basketball Champion Baylor Bears to the East Room of the White House, July 18, 2012, to congratulate them on their historic 40-0 season, and their NCAA Championship victory. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

From Baylor:

In the aftermath of Baylor University’s third NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball championship, the Baylor Lady Bears accepted an invitation to visit the White House Monday, which will include a visit from President Donald J. Trump.

April 7, Baylor defeated Notre Dame 82-81 for the program’s third national title, which put the program in elite company with UConn and Tennessee as the only institutions to have three national championships in women’s basketball.

Head Coach Kim Mulkey and the Lady Bears also visited the White House and met with President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama in 2005 and 2012 following their first two titles, respectively.

The visit is currently scheduled for Monday afternoon.

Baylor will be the first women’s basketball team to visit the White House during the Trump administration. Last season’s champions Notre Dame did not receive an invite. South Carolina received a call to attend a round-up of teams in a Collegiate National Champions Day months after they won the national championship in 2017. The Gamecocks were in the midst of a road trip during the regular season and did not attend the event.

Led by Chloe Jackson Baylor earns third national title, holds off Notre Dame 82-81

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TAMPA, Fla. – Just like in 2012, Baylor defeated Notre Dame to win the national title. However, this season, the game was a closer contested matchup with Notre Dame sharpshooter Arike Ogunbowale missing a potential game-tying free throw in the final second. The win marked the third championship for the Lady Bears adding to their titles in 2005 and 2012.

It was a hard-fought battle against Notre Dame as the Irish clawed back from a 17-point deficit to make the contest go down to the wire. Baylor seemed to be in complete control early on, end the first quarter with a 25-14 lead.

“Notre Dame, do I even need to tell you how good they are?” Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey asked postgame. They’re the defending national champions, can score at all positions, play the zone against us. I don’t think people thought we could score against the zone. We scored a lot of points.”

Heading into halftime, Baylor was still in the lead by double digits, 43-31.

While Baylor lost junior forward Lauren Cox, the team’s second leading scorer, to injury late in the third quarter and seemed rattled for several few minutes, they managed to hold off Notre Dame. The Irish went on a 19-11 run to tie the game at 5:18 in the fourth quarter and had the lead for 44 seconds in the last few minutes. However, Baylor quickly retaliated and closed out the game on a 6-4 run.

“The worst part of the game was Lauren Cox,” Mulkey said in talking about Cox’s injury. “We controlled that game from the start till the time she went off the floor. We had to regroup. For us to win probably was a miracle in itself when you lose a player of that caliber, not only the talent she has, but she’s our leader, people.”

Senior guard Chloe Jackson, the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player, led her team with a Baylor career-high of 26 points plus five assists. Jackson is a graduate transfer from LSU. This was her only year playing for the Lady Bears.

“My teammates and my coaches, they believe in me so much,” Jackson said about her performance and motivation. And for LC [Lauren Cox], she got us here and we had to finish the job for her.”

Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said she thought Jackson “really was the key to the game. We really couldn’t guard her. [Kalani] Brown gave us a lot of trouble, as well. Those two really played well.”

Brown, a senior center, earned a double-double for Baylor scoring 20 points and pulling down 13 rebounds. Freshman forward Nalyssa Smith was also in double figures with 14 points and six rebounds.

Irish senior guard Ogunbowale led all scorers with 31 points plus six rebounds. Fellow senior guard Marina Mabrey added 21 points. Grad student forward Brianna Turner and senior forward Jessica Shepard tallied a double-doubles. Turner finished with 12 points, 12 rebounds plus five assists. Shepard added 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Baylor moves to 5-2 all-time against Notre Dame and increased their overall win streak to 29 games.

All-Tournament Team

Chloe Jackson, Baylor – Most Outstanding Player
Kalani Brown, Baylor
Lauren Cox, Baylor
Marina Mabrey, Notre Dame
Arike Ogunbowale, Notre Dame

Postgame Notes

  • The Lady Bears have collected 50 NCAA Tournament wins.
  • Baylor is 6-1 all-time in Final Four games.
  • Baylor is 3-0 in national championship contests.
  • The Lady Bears are 50-15 in the NCAA Tournament.
  • The 25 points scored by Baylor in the first quarter rank as the third-highest output for a single quarter in an NCAA championship game.
  • Arike Ogunbowale finishes her career with a program record 2,626 points. Her 31 points in the championship game ranks second for points by an individual in a championship game. The record of 47 was set in 1993 by Sheryl Swoopes (Texas Tech).

Team Comparison Stats

Notre Dame adds a triumphant chapter to series vs. UConn, looks forward to Baylor challenge in title game

April 5, 2019 (Tampa, Fla.) - Notre Dame coach talks to media after the Irish defeated UConn in the Final Four.

April 5, 2019 (Tampa, Fla.) – Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw talks to media after the Irish defeated UConn in the Final Four.

Tampa, Fla. – Notre Dame’s return to the Final Four, this season as the reigning champion, also marked another chapter in the rivalry between the Fighting Irish and the UConn Huskies. While No. 2 seed UConn holds a significant lead in the overall series, 37-13, the No. 1-seeded Irish have the upper hand when it comes to NCAA contests, 4-3.

This past season, Notre Dame fell to UConn in early December, after starting the season 7-0. However, after the loss, the Irish recovered to go on a 12-game win streak. UConn suffered its first loss of the season to the Baylor Lady Bears on Jan. 3.

Baylor and Notre Dame will fight for the national title on Sunday while the Huskies head home after losing to the Irish Friday night, 81-76, in the national semifinals. It was the 50th matchup between the teams.

“They had more good players play better and contribute more than we did,” UConn head coach Geno Auriemma said postgame. “That’s just the way the world is. They deserved to win, and we didn’t do quite enough to win. That’s it.”

The series record between Notre Dame and UConn will mean nothing on Sunday. It does not matter that UConn has 11 national championships compared to two by Notre Dame. The Huskies will have to watch the game from home while the Irish compete for a consecutive championship.

The rivalry between the teams is now the hottest in women’s college basketball and gives fans and media plenty of fodder for conversation and content.

“I think it’s very competitive and intense,” Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said. “I think it is the best rivalry in women’s college basketball. I think it’s one the fans and teams all look forward to.”

Some notes on the series:

  • Notre Dame beat UConn nine times in the past 11 years. In contrast, all DI teams have combined for just eight wins over the Huskies in the same period.
  • The Huskies and Irish have faced each other in seven NCAA Final Fours with Notre Dame holding a 4-3 advantage.
  • UConn is 2-0 vs. Notre Dame in NCAA Championship games.
  • The teams have played four games in overtime.

Time for Baylor

With UConn in the rear-view mirror, the Irish turn their attention to Baylor. The Lady Bears lead the series, 4-2 (Home: 1-1, Away: 0-2, Neutral: 1-1). One of those wins for Baylor includes a national championship contest. The Lady Bears beat Notre Dame 80-61 to win the national title April 3, 2012 in Denver.

Baylor has two outstanding post players, senior center Kalani Brown and junior forward Lauren Cox, who will be a challenge for the Irish. Brown and Cox led the Lady Bears in toppling Oregon. Brown finished with 22 points plus seven rebounds. Cox earned a double-double of 21 points and 11 rebounds plus seven assists.

In addition, Baylor has a wily defensive specialist, sophomore guard DiDi Richards, who scored 15 points Friday night while limiting the production of Oregon’s triple-double threat and this year’s Wade Trophy winner, Sabrina Ionescu.

“This is the first time we’ve played a team that has two outstanding post players,” said McGraw. “We’ve generally thought we had an abnormal advantage in the post. That would be our game plan, to go inside. We do not feel that way. They have terrific players inside with Lauren Cox and Kalani.”

While Notre Dame will have their hands full, Baylor will also be challenged to find a way to stop Irish sharpshooter Arike Ogunbowale, a senior guard known for her game-winning daggers, not to mention senior forward Jessica Shepard and efficient junior guard Jackie Young. Also, the Irish has its own defensive specialist, forward Brianna Turner, who broke Ruth Riley’s program record for career blocks Friday night ending the game with a total of 371.

Baylor will face Notre Dame for the national title on Sunday at 6 p.m. ET. The championship will be televised on ESPN.

Close game no problem for Baylor as they beat Oregon to advance to national championship game

April 5, 2019 (Tampa, Fla.) – Baylor coach Kim Mulkey holds her grandson during the postgame presser after the Lady Bears defeated Oregon in the Final Four.

TAMPA, Fla. — Baylor’s fourth-ever trip to the Final Four ended in victory as the overall top-seeded Lady Bears took down No. 2 seeded Oregon, 72-67, to earn a chance to play for the national title for the first time since 2012. With a strong presence in the paint and a strong defensive effort, Baylor (36-1) kept Oregon (33-5) at bay in the second half after the Ducks led by a slim one-point margin at the half. It was only the fourth time this season that Baylor trailed at the half. They only lost one of the games, a lone defeat at Stanford on Dec. 15.

I think they’re a real hard team to guard,” Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey said. “We stuck to our defense and came out with the win.” Mulkey who entered the postgame presser holding her infant grandson, let the media know that the Lady Bears had no issues with coming out on top in close games, giving credit to how hard her players prepare for games.

“Our practices prepare us for this moment.”

The first two quarters saw a topsy turvy matchup with Baylor leading 19-15 after the first quarter. Oregon caught up in the second period, outscoring the Lady Bears 19-14.

Baylor managed to hold the nation’s triple-double leader, junior guard Sabrina Ionescu, to zero points and just two rebounds in the first quarter. Ionescu recovered in the second period, leading her team in that stretch with 12 points.

Baylor’s impressive duo in the paint, senior center Kalani Brown and junior forward Lauren Cox, led the Lady Bears at the half. Brown had 10 points while Cox had nine plus five rebounds.

While Oregon’s momentum slowed in the third quarter, the Ducks traded the lead with the Lady Bears five times. At the end of the quarter Baylor had a one-point advantage.

The Lady Bears halted Oregon’s momentum in the fourth quarter, outscoring their opponent 16-12 to seal a win.

Oregon head coach Kelly Graves said his team never really got their game going, “was a little out of sync and ultimately that cost us.”

Overall, the Lady Bears shot 54.4 percent from the floor compared to 36.8 percent by Oregon. The largest disparity in field goal percentage came in the last quarter when Baylor shot 60 percent compared to a paltry 26.3 percent by the Ducks.

Brown led all scorers with 22 points plus seven rebounds. Cox earned a double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds plus seven assists. Sophomore guard DiDi Richards added 15 points.

Despite her shooting woes, Ionescu finished with 18 points (6-24 FG) plus four rebounds and six assists. Sophomore forward Satou Sabally contributed 16 and redshirt sophomore forward Erin Boley scored 14 points. Baylor held junior forward Ruthy Hebard to just four points, well below her season average of 16.4 points per game. She did manage to grab nine rebounds.

The game added to Baylor’s win streak, now at 28 games. The Lady Bears move to 4-0 all-time against the Ducks.

Baylor will face Notre Dame for the national title on Sunday at 6 p.m. ET. The Irish defeated UConn in the second semifinal of the evening. The championship will be televised on ESPN.

Both Baylor and Notre Dame have two national titles already.

2019 Final Four: What the teams are saying about each other ahead of the games

April 4, 2019 (Tampa, Fla.)- Oregon coach Kelly Graves, Satou Sabally, Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard.

April 4, 2019 (Tampa, Fla.) – Oregon coach Kelly Graves, Satou Sabally, Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard meet the media during an Amalie Arena presser.

TAMPA, Fla. – In the week of the Final Four, coaches participate in an NCAA media teleconference the morning after the last Elite Eight game.

A few days later, teams meet with members of the press at the Final Four venue. In fact, the day before the semifinals is a media whirlwind as players go from pressers to locker room interviews to radio interviews to TV appearances. It is a wonder that they have enough energy left to play after all the activities that include autograph sessions, scheduling time with family, a formal dinner and more.

Below are some interesting tidbits from the press conferences.

Baylor on Oregon

Kim Mulkey

Oregon is an unbelievably talented team.

On facing a team like Oregon that shoots a lot of threes

We actually have seen teams that shoot the three a lot. We see it in our league. We also have seen it because of our height advantage inside. We’ve seen teams change their approach when they play us that they do shoot more threes than they normally would. It’s not going to be uncommon or uncomfortable for us to expect that and to see that.

On Oregon’s offensive prowess

I will tell you that it all starts with Sabrina. What a talent. What a joy to watch. If you’re not having to play against her….The thing that I love more than her talent is I love the way she competes. She’s got that umph in her. She makes everybody around her better. She’s just a special, special talent….All those kids know she makes them better. She’ll get the ball to them in spots where it makes them look good. She certainly is not the only great player on that team but it starts and stops with her.

Oregon on Baylor

Satou Sabally

I just think that both teams are going to be really aggressive and appreciative of where they are. We’re not going to take it for granted that we made it to the Final Four. We’ve come a long way and worked all the season hard for it. The same thing applies to Baylor. They’re going to be thankful and aggressive in the game.

Kelly Graves

Well, I think they’re more than just the two [Kalani Brown and Lauren Cox]. Those two are very similar to Ruthy and Sabrina for us. There are other really good parts. I think Chloe Jackson, man, she is terrific. I remember watching her at LSU a few times.

But they’re long, they’re athletic, they can run a whole bunch of different players at you, change styles if they need to. They shoot it, they’re not a prolific three-point shooting team, but a really good shooting team, especially from the midrange.

I think defensively they create a lot. They’re so good in transition. I mean, if I keep talking like this, I’m going to psych myself out. There’s a reason they’re the No. 1 overall seed. They seem to be determined this year, as well. They’ve added that.

On the overall game plan to try and beat Baylor

Stanford is the only one that figured out that puzzle this year. We’re hoping to be the second.

UConn on Notre Dame

Geno Auriemma

I think mainly tomorrow’s game is more about two really good teams that are playing. I don’t think the other 49 times we played them really has any significance in tomorrow’s game. It’s just that in the last number of years, every time we’ve played them it’s been a lot at stake, even a stupid regular season game like in December, it’s 1 versus 2. One of us is 1, the other one is close to being 1. It’s a big game. That version of game of the year, game of the century.

I think that’s cool because, you know, sports needs that kind of rivalry. We used to have that with Tennessee. Now we have it with Notre Dame. I think it’s cool.

Of course, it’s exciting and it means a lot. But I don’t think tomorrow’s game has any more significance whether you want to win or not just because it’s Notre Dame. Just because we beat them in December doesn’t have anything to do with tomorrow night.

Same thing with Louisville beating us. It didn’t really affect the outcome of that game. I just think tomorrow’s game is a completely different game. I always tell our players whenever we win a big game in December, I say, Listen, we’re going to have to get a lot better fast. I’m assuming the teams we play against, they’re getting a lot better. And Notre Dame is a lot better today than they were in December, no doubt in my mind. I mean, I think they’re the best team in the country. I don’t think anybody else is even close. Baylor. But I don’t think anybody else, I think, can match Notre Dame when they’re playing their A game. They just overwhelm you, man, at every position.

Notre Dame on UConn

On lessons learned since facing UConn in December

Brianna Turner

For the first game, I think we just learned a lot about ourselves, how we need to focus on our defense, not get too riled up, making sure we’re staying focused throughout the 40 minutes, not letting up no matter who the opponent may be or what’s happening during the course of the game.

Arike Ogunbowale

I think definitely just after that game we really learned how to play with each other. Marina was injured for most of the games before that, that was our first game as a starting five. Definitely just it’s a process to be able to learn how to play with five All Americans.

I think over the course of the season, that game really helped us.

Jessica Shephard

Yeah, I agree. I think just developing team chemistry since that game’s happened. I think just kind of refocusing as a team

Muffet McGraw

I think any time you lose, you go back and you look at absolutely everything that went on in the game, offense, defense. What did we do wrong, substitutions, man, zone, what did we play. You break down the whole game, try to find some things.

That’s why you play those games early in the year, because you want to know what your weaknesses are, how teams are going to attack you. You learn a lot from them.

We did some good things. We did some good things at both ends of the floor. We just didn’t do enough good things. I think we didn’t take advantage sometimes of the mismatches that we had. So we were able to work on that. Our defense was not as good as I thought. We’ve actually been working on that for the rest of the year. I think you take away little things like that.

[Christyn] Williams had a huge game. We probably weren’t as prepared for that. So now we’re aware of what she can do. I think we learned a lot. Same as we did for the other two losses we had.

On the rivalry with UConn

I think it’s very competitive and intense. I think it is the best rivalry in women’s college basketball. I think it’s one the fans and teams all look forward to.

Big 12 Tournament highlights: Baylor does it again, wins 10th title in rout of Iowa State, 67-49

Baylor Ticket Punched 2019


OKLAHOMA CITY—The last time Iowa State (25-8) won a Big 12 tournament title, Destiny’s Child ruled the Billboard charts. The year 2001 is a distant memory with Baylor (21-3) dominating the conference with nine tournament titles in that time.

Monday night the Bears added a tenth trophy to their case after back-to-back titles. Fans in Oklahoma City did not leave disappointed as both teams fought to the end for the third time this season. ISU lost the previous contests for a combined 28 points. They lost for the third time by 18 points, 67-49.

Bears head coach Kim Mulkey now leads all Big 12 coaches for most games (51), most wins (42) and win percentage (.824) in the Championship. She has a 10-3 all-time record in the title game.

ISU swarmed junior forward Lauren Cox with a triple team, limiting her touches in the first quarter, until she picked up her first points from the line.

In the closing 1:46 of the first quarter, the Bears forged a 7-0 run before ISU charged back with a 7-0 run, cutting BU’s lead to 5 points, 18-13.

ISU senior guard Alexa Middleton played with ice in her veins draining a three to tie the game at 18 in the second quarter, inspiring a 16-4 Cyclones run.

A visibly frustrated Cox sat after missing an easy bucket down low, immediately picking up her first foul on a Meredith Burkhall defensive rebound. Burkhall, a senior forward, ended an 8-0 Baylor run after picking up an and-1 with a minute left in the half. ISU finished the quarter down five points, 30-25 and had eight points off eight Baylor turnovers.

Freshman forward NaLyssa Smith came off the bench giving the Bears the boost they needed with eight points and three rebounds in the first half.

“It’s not just tonight. NaLyssa Smith started the season,” Mulkey said. “We don’t win against Arizona State and Connecticut without NaLyssa Smith.”

Cox ended the night with 14 points, 8 rebounds, ISU making her fight for every point. Eventually she found her rhythm in the third quarter.

“I think we were missing easy shots,” Cox said. “We were letting them be physical with us, and I think that got us a little tired. But we pushed through that and our shots eventually started falling.”

Junior guard Juicy Landrum provided a spark offensively for Baylor. Her speed and vision allowed her to pick up easy buckets when ISU overplayed defensively.

“It’s a good feeling, because the momentum is with us,” said Brown, who was voted most outstanding player of the tournament. “We have all the energy and we play with high energy…You just start having fun with it after that and I think that’s what we did in the fourth quarter.”

Down the stretch, Baylor’s stifling defense, patience, and control of the clock took ISU out of the game. The Cyclones came into the contest averaging 84 points, Baylor held them to 49.

“Obviously their defense is really good,” ISU head coach Bill Fennelly said. “When Kristin Scott got in foul trouble, I knew we were in trouble. We had no spacing. We can’t create space against their big guys. They do such a good job of that.”

Middleton led all scorers with 18 points and 3 assists. Senior guard Bridget Carleton had 13 points including 25 career steals at the championship (fourth-most all-time).

“This is the best practice, obviously we’re disappointed we lost the game, but I can’t imagine anyone being that physical at both ends of the floor that we’re going to see,” Fennelly commented.

Highlights (Provided by Big 12)

This was the ninth time that the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds have met in the finals. No. 1 seeds have never lost to a No. 2 seed in the championship game.

No. 1 seeds are 15-3 all-time in the final game, while No. 2 seeds are 2-9.

Baylor is 10-0 in championship games when leading at the half. The team leading at the half is 20-3 all-time in the Big 12 Women’s Championship game.

Individual and Team Notes

  • The Lady Bears held the Cyclones to five points in the fourth quarter, the lowest-ever in a quarter in a championship game.
  • Baylor senior Kalani Brown was named Most Outstanding Player for the second-straight year. BU has had a player win the accolade 10 times, including six different players, and three Lady Bears have won it in back-to-back seasons.
  • Brown was the leading scorer at this year’s Championship with 55 points over three games, while Baylor’s Lauren Cox was this year’s leading rebounder with 29.
  • Brown has scored 213 career points at the Championship, securing sixth place all-time. She has also grabbed 91 career rebounds at the tournament and moved into sixth place on the all-time leaderboard.
  • Middleton tied for the most assists (17) at this year’s Championship (Kayla Goth, Kansas State).
  • Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly is 2-4 in the finals of the Big 12 Women’s Championship.
  • The Cyclones defense kept Baylor to 12 points in the second quarter, which tied for the lowest amount of points the Lady Bears scored in a quarter at the Big 12 Women’s Championship. They were also held to 12 points against Kansas State in the fourth quarter of this year’s semifinals in the fourth quarter.


Baylor and Iowa State survive Big 12 semifinals to meet for the title game


Baylor, Cox annihilate Kansas State in Big 12 semifinal, 88-60

Baylor’s (30-1) sluggish first half wasn’t enough for Kansas State (21-11) to pull off the upset against the top ranked team, losing 88-60.

K-State rattled Baylor sophomore guard Didi Richards early. She missed a jumper then one of her free throws in the first quarter. She proceeded to miss the ensuing shots, going 1 of 4 at the line.

After the first timeout the Bears dusted off the rust to go on a 6-0 run to tie the game, 16-16. KSU’s efforts against senior center Kalani Brown were futile as she collected 10 of Baylor’s 21 first quarter points. She picked up her second foul in the second quarter and sat the rest of the half.

Brown led all scorers with 24 points despite foul trouble. Her absence forced junior forward Lauren Cox to step up as she continues to be their greatest threat. Her court vision at 6’4” makes her a top three prospect in the upcoming WNBA draft. She led the Bears with 4 assists in the first half.

Sophomore guard Rachel Ranke and freshman guard Christianna Carr each scored 5 a piece to keep the Wildcats within reach in the first quarter. Carr and Peyton Williams led with a team high 12 points. KSU’s head coach Jeff Mittie picked up a technical foul with 37.2 left in the half but Cox didn’t sink any of the technical free throws for the Bears.

After the half, Baylor jumped out front going 6-of-8 from the field with Brown on the floor. Her contribution enabled Baylor to outscore KSU 23-4 in the paint in the the third quarter.

Baylor’s second half runs took the Wildcats completely out of the contest. The Bears ended the third quarter 6-of-7 from the field as KSU looked on at one of the best duo in college basketball. Cox finished with 18 points, 15 rebounds, 8 assists, two assists shy of a triple double. Brown finished with a game high 24 points and 9 rebounds.

“Cox took over down there and she made everybody around her better,” Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey said. “Freshmen came in, she would give them easy shoots. She would always defend the player where she could be the one helping the most.”

Coach Mittie shared his sentiment of their NCAA title hopes.

“That’s a team, I believe, that has a chance to win the national championship,” Mittie said. “It’s a team that has all the weapons…You have to pick your poison with them, and they’re very, very good.”

When asked about as few three teams representing the Big 12 in the NCAA tournament, Mulkey didn’t mince words.

“Did Baylor play South Carolina on their home floor earlier in the year?,” said Mulkey. “Look at that score and then look at the scores of Baylor and who they played in this league and see if they were tougher games. Those are things I would compare things to. I’m going to always promote the Big 12.”

Iowa State’s ’Splash Sisters’ dominate Texas in Big 12 semifinal win, 75-69

Iowa State (25-7) tore into Texas (23-9) early going 4-of-5 behind the arc before Texas called their first timeout.

“They really, really share the ball well,” Texas head coach Karen Aston said. “So, I think that’s always a big piece of good offensive flow is when the ball doesn’t stop in someone’s hands all the time and they have a good flow. They all share it together. They make the right plays at the right time, and they can all shoot it.”

The Cyclones knocked down 6-of-9 3-pointers by the end of the first quarter, led by Alexa Middleton who went 3 of 3.

“Alexa Middleton was really good tonight,” Aston said. “We gambled a little bit on not going under her early in the game and she made us pay for it.”

The Longhorns’ shooting heated up after the half, chipping away at the deficit to end the third quarter down 5 points, 58-53. They outscored ISU 12-6 in the paint.

Texas tied the game with 3:22 left in the fourth quarter at 64 all, courtesy of a 3-pointer from sophomore guard Destiny Littleton.

ISU senior guard Bridget Carleton had others plans, completing a clutch and-1 with less than two minutes left in the game to seal the Cyclones victory.

“That’s a great Texas team, similar to Austin when we got a lead and they came roaring back,” said ISU head coach Bill Fennelly. “The toughness and the resiliency of the last five minutes was very special and something that has kept us together. To be playing in the championship game tomorrow is a great honor for our kids.”

Baylor plays Iowa State Monday for the Big 12 Championship at 8 p.m. CST on FS1.

From losing to Stanford to taking down UConn: Baylor’s road to beating the No. 1 team

Baylor takes down a No. 1 for the first time in program history

January 3, 2019 - Baylor beats UConn.. Photo: Baylor Athletics.

Photo: Baylor Athletics.

Notes || Team Statistical Comparison

WACO, Texas – No. 8 Baylor’s hot shooting kept fans from freezing last night as the Bears dismantled No. 1 UConn, 68-57. The sold-out crowd braved near below freezing temperatures to witness a program first, defeating a No. 1-ranked opponent. Baylor accomplished what many before them couldn’t during the regular season against the Huskies: UConn’s astonishing 126-game regular season win streak came to an end, first regulation loss in 209 straight games, and first road loss in regulation since 2011.

“Our kids played so hard, they guarded, they defended, they listened to the scouting report,” Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey said. “The Stanford loss woke us up.”

Baylor’s lone loss against No. 6 Stanford in mid-December felt like a thing of the past after the upset. The Bears adjusted accordingly against UConn, scoring 52 points in the paint while limiting UConn to just 10. Against Stanford, Baylor had 22 points in the paint and allowed the Cardinal 18 points.

“Our defense was outstanding, our size affected their shots penetrating,” Baylor senior center Kalani Brown said. When a reporter complimented the Bears on their “block party”, Brown responded with a less than emphatic, “too bad they were all calls.”

Brown spoke about how the Stanford loss impacted their performance against UConn. “She (Mulkey) got on us. Me and Lauren [Cox] took it upon ourselves to respond. That’s what we did tonight. It’s not really normal for us both to have a bad game like that. We just wanted to redeem ourselves.”

Offensively Baylor drastically improved in second chance points with 14 points; Stanford held the Bears to a mere three second-chance points.

Brown lead all scorers with a double-double, 22 points and a whooping 17 rebounds. Three of her Baylor teammates also scored in double figures: freshman forward NaLyssa Smith (12), graduate student guard Chloe Jackson (11), and junior guard Juicy Landrum (11).

The balanced attack was necessary to conquer UConn given Baylor only had two players score in double figures against Stanford; Jackson (15) and Smith (15).

“I don’t think our transition game was any good,” UConn head coach Geno Auriemma said. “I thought we were too content to just come down and try to run our offense. When you don’t make shots, it exposes a lot of things.”

Against Stanford, Baylor and their opponent relied heavily on bench play, Stanford’s bench poured in 19 points while Baylor contributed 25 points. However, bench play went down drastically versus UConn, 12 points, while UConn had zero bench points for the contest.

Baylor knew they would have to would have to have a near perfect game defensively. Despite Brown and junior forward Cox picking up fouls quickly in the first half, the Bears adjusted to hold UConn to their lowest-in-20-seasons 29.4 percent shooting; Cox led with five blocks. Baylor sophomore guard DiDi Richards shut down UConn’s preseason player of the year, limiting senior guard/forward Katie Lou Samuelson to just 12 points for the night, below her average of 20 points per contest.

“That kid defended Samuelson with every ounce of energy she had,” Mulkey said. “She has the length, she’s active, she makes Samuelson work for every shot.”

The Bears also held UConn senior forward Napheesa Collier to 6-of-18 from the field. Defensively, Baylor improved in points off turnovers, 12 points versus nine points against Stanford.

As the Bears celebrated their win, Mulkey took in an ESPN interview while holding her newborn grandson as he attended his second game. Mulkey’s team now focuses on a Sunday matchup against Texas Tech as they continue to stay atop the Big 12 and improve in the polls.

Connecticut stays on the road, playing at Houston on the same day.


  • Baylor moved to 549-99 under 19th-year head coach Kim Mulkey, improving to 3-4 all-time vs. UConn and 43-61 vs. American Athletic Conference teams.
  • Baylor’s 30-29 halftime lead over the Huskies was the first time a Lady Bear team took a lead into the break over UConn and the first time in Mulkey’s tenure the Lady Bears led a No. 1 team at the first half intermission.
  • Baylor’s win over the Huskies marks the fourth time in Big 12 history that a conference team has topped a No. 1 opponent and just the second time vs. a non-conference No. 1 opponent.
  • The game marked the first home sellout for the program since Feb. 29, 2016 vs. Texas.

Team Statistical Comparison

No. 11 Stanford recovers to take down No. 3 Baylor 68-63

Notes  || Postgame Video || Team Statistical Comparison || Social Media Recap

STANFORD – No. 11 Stanford (7-1) handed Baylor (8-1) its first loss of the season in Maples Pavilion with a 68-63 victory in a battle between two celebrated Hall of Fame coaches. The game was the only matchup between two ranked programs this week.

After a slow start with both teams under 10 points at 3:45 in the first quarter, Stanford took over and never looked back. Sophomore guard Kiana Williams nailed a trey for the Cardinal at 3:27 to give her team a 10-9 lead late in the quarter. Stanford led 17-13 after the first period.

“This was a great win for our team,” said Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer on the triumph. “Baylor has an outstanding team. Kim [Mulkey] does a great job with her team.

“We had to make plays down the stretch,” she continued. “I thought our team worked really hard, especially defensively guarding their leading scorers [Kalani] Brown and [Lauren] Cox.”

The statement victory is the first game for the Cardinal after losing at Gonzaga on Dec. 2, a point that VanDerveer addressed.

“It gives us a good bounce back from two weeks ago,” she said about Saturday’s win, “and we’re real excited to keep it going.”

After the sluggish first ten minutes, the second quarter saw the Cardinal dominate their opponent, outscoring Baylor 24-11 led by Williams and Alanna Smith. At halftime, the Stanford lead had swelled to 41-24.

Baylor guards, junior Juicy Landrum and graduate student Chloe Jackson, helped their team begin to close the gap in the third quarter. In the last period, the Bears had help from freshman forward NaLyssa Smith to get within seven points with about four minutes left. However, key shots, including a three-point dagger from Stanford senior center Shannon Coffee kept the Bears at arm’s length.

Smith led Stanford with 21 points plus eight rebounds while Williams added 13 points plus five assists. Junior guard DiJonai Carrington scored 10 points and pulled down six rebounds.

Coffee’s season-high nine points came at crucial moments in the game to help Stanford stymy Baylor’s attempts at gaining momentum. Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey joked that Stanford should whisper “Baylor” into Coffee’s ear when she’s on the court to motivate her to hit big shots.

“You know Shannon made some really big plays,” VanDerveer said. “This has probably been the best game of her career and she couldn’t have picked a better time. There was plenty of time on that shot clock for that three.”

VanDerveer’s reference to a three-pointer and the clock was due to an official review of Coffee’s late-game trey that put Stanford back into a double-digit lead after Baylor’s run.

The freshman forward Smith paced Baylor with 15 points plus nine rebounds. Jackson added 15 points. Stanford held Baylor senior center Kalani Brown to just five points. Coming into the game, she averaged 16.4 points per contest. The game against Baylor broke her two-game streak of scoring at least 20 points.

In addition, Baylor junior forward Lauren Cox, who previously averaged 12.3 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per contest was held to just two points and one rebound.

“We were not very good today…we had a lot of players that didn’t show up,” Mulkey remarked about her team’s performance. “Unfortunately it was too deep a hole to overcome.”

She cited a lack of energy and effort as contributors to the team’s dismal outing. “We didn’t have a lot of energy and communication,” Mulkey added. “It was uncharacteristic of several of our players to play the way they did today.”

Stanford hits the road to face another ranked team, No. 9 Tennessee on Tues. Dec. 18. Baylor has a long holiday break before facing Texas-Rio Grande Valley on New Year’s Eve at noon.


  • Stanford shot 38.3 percent from the floor compared to 34.9 percent by Baylor
  • Baylor outrebounded Stanford 43-30, making it 78 out of the last 81 games that the bears have outrebounded their opponents.
  • Baylor still leads the all-time series between the two teams 4-3. The teams first met at Stanford in 1983 and the Bears won 63-59.

Team Stats

Social Media

Social media recap: 2018 Big 12 Women’s Basketball Media Day

Dallas, Texas (Oct. 16, 2018) — St. Philips School.

DALLAS – While it was a rainy day in Dallas on Tuesday, inside St. Philips School and Community Center in South Dallas, it was all smiles, giggles and sunshine as the Big 12 held their 2018 women’s basketball media day in partnership with the student journalists.

A media team consisting of youngsters from the school’s technology class, worked alongside sports writers in conducting interviews, video segments and more to preview the 2018-19 season. The Big 12 is a partner of the school in helping to renovate the St. Philips media center.

Earlier in the week, the conference announced the preseason awards with Baylor topping the preseason poll. Lady Bears senior center Kalani Brown was voted the Preseason Player of the Year.

Below is a social media recap of the fun day at St. Philips.

Baylor selected by coaches as preseason favorite to win the 2018-19 Big 12 regular season title

The Big 12’s head coaches selected Baylor as the preseason favorite to win the regular season title in 2018-19 for the eighth time in conference history.

Baylor received eight of 10 first-place votes (coaches are not allowed to vote for their own teams). Second-place Texas received the other two first-place votes, while West Virginia was chosen third. TCU and Oklahoma rounded out the top five. Iowa State was picked sixth, while Oklahoma State was seventh and K-State was eighth, followed by Kansas and Texas Tech.

The 2018-19 season gets underway on Tuesday, November 6 with three non-conference games. League action begins on Wednesday, January 2.

2018-19 Big 12 Conference Women’s Basketball Preseason Poll

1. Baylor (8) 80
2. Texas (2) 72
3. West Virginia 65
4. TCU 49
5. Oklahoma 47
6. Iowa State 44
7. Oklahoma State 34
8. K-State 29
9. Kansas 21
10. Texas Tech 9

(first place votes in parentheses; coaches not allowed to vote for their own team)

Notre Dame tops first-ever Hoopfeed NCAA Division I women’s basketball poll

Notre Dame won the 2016 Preseason WNIT Tournament. Photo: WNIT.

Notre Dame won the 2016 Preseason WNIT Tournament. Photo: WNIT.

Notre Dame (4-0) tops the first-ever Hoopfeed NCAA Division I women’s basketball poll. With the majority of first-place votes from a 12-member panel, the Irish lead the pack. Connecticut (3-0), South Carolina (3-0), Louisville (6-0) and Baylor (3-1) round out the top five. Connecticut also received four first-place votes.

Last week was a good one for Notre Dame as they won the preseason WNIT tournament on Sunday after topping this week’s No. 15 team, Washington (3-1), 71-60. The Irish play at Louisiana-Lafayette (1-0) Tuesday night as a homecoming game for junior forward Brianna Turner, native of nearby Pearland, Texas. The matchup marks the first-ever meeting between the two teams.

Connecticut hosts Dayton (2-1) tonight at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN 3 and regionally on SNY. The Huskies are 2-0 all-time vs. Dayton, including a 91-70 NCAA Albany Regional Final win over the Flyers on March 30, 2015.

South Carolina is coming off a 79-42 win over Maine (2-3) Monday night in the Basketball Hall of Fame Women’s Challenge. Five Gamecocks finished in double figures. Senior center Alaina Coates earned her third-straight double-double and was named the SEC Co-Player of the Week along with Mississippi State junior guard Morgan William. South Carolina faces Saint Peter’s (0-3) tonight at 7 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network Plus.

The teams that round out the top ten are Baylor (3-1), Maryland (4-0), Mississippi State (4-0), Ohio State (3-1) and Florida State (3-1).

Syracuse and Washington are tied at No. 13. Kentucky and West Virginia are in a tie for No. 19.

A few teams stumbled hard this week including Syracuse (3-1). The Orange lost last night to Drexel (3-1). No. 15 Texas fell to current No. 7 Mississippi State on Sunday, 79-68. Last week, the Longhorns fell on the road to Stanford.

No. 18 Tennessee lost to Penn State (3-1) on Sunday, 70-56, in University Park. Teniya Page led the Nittany Lions with 29 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter. Page is this week’s Big Ten Player of the Week.

Kentucky experienced a shocking defeat in Boulder against a Colorado team under a new head coach, JR Payne. Four Buffs scored in double figures led by Alexis Robinson’s 19 in the win for the Pac-12 underdog.

Many teams are headed to tropical locales during the Thanksgiving school break for tournaments in Mexico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Bahamas. Eighteen games are scheduled for the national holiday Stay tuned for next week’s Tuesday’s poll!

Hoopfeed Rankings as of 11/22/16
Rank Team Record Points First-place Votes
1 Notre Dame 4-0 294 8
2 Connecticut 3-0 291 4
3 South Carolina 3-0 276
4 Louisville 6-0 257
5 Baylor 3-1 253
6 Maryland 4-0 242
7 Mississippi State 4-0 231
8 Ohio State 3-1 216
9 Florida State 3-1 199
10 UCLA 3-1 189
11 Stanford 3-1 169
12 Oklahoma 3-0 164
13 Syracuse 3-1 133
13 Washington 3-1 133
15 Texas 1-2 129
16 Florida 3-0 126
17 DePaul 3-0 102
18 Tennessee 3-1 83
19 Kentucky 3-1 73
19 West Virginia 3-0 73
21 Miami 3-1 58
22 Oregon State 3-0 56
23 Arizona State 2-1 43
24 Gonzaga 3-0 41
25 Michigan State 4-0 15

Other teams that received votes: Colorado, Texas A&M, South Dakota State, Michigan, Indiana, Green Bay, California, Penn State.

This week’s AP Poll || USA Today Coaches Poll

Voting panel

  • Yvonne Sanchez
  • Viet Nguyen
  • Joan Bonvicini
  • Lisa Bodine
  • Kevin Danna
  • Kristopher Gardner
  • Brenda VanLengen
  • Cindy Brunson
  • Michael Roberson
  • Mel Greenberg
  • Bobbie Kelsey Grayson
  • Cheryl Coward
  • Ben Parker (did not vote this round)

Big 12 and SEC Announce 2016 Women’s Basketball Challenge Schedule


The Big 12 and Southeastern conferences announced the 2016 schedule for their Women’s Basketball Challenge which will feature every team from the Big 12 against 10 squads from the SEC. The games will be scheduled over the dates of Thursday-Sunday, December 1-4. Times and television broadcasts will be released when available.

  • This season marks the first in which 10 games will be played. The format consists of five home games on campus sites for each conference.
  • Two teams from each league participated in the past two years with the conferences splitting the games each season for an overall 2-2 series record.
  • Half of the contests feature at least one team that was ranked in the final 2015-16 USA Today coaches’ poll while three will highlight top 25 matchups.

“We look forward to all 10 of our women’s basketball teams competing in the 2016 SEC/Big 12 Challenge,” said Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. “These marquee non-conference matchups should provide four-consecutive days of quality competition and excitement for fans across the country.”

“The Southeastern Conference looks forward to the expansion of an enhanced competitive event with our Big 12 friends,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “The SEC/Big 12 Challenge in women’s basketball will showcase the strength and depth of our women’s basketball teams and provides fans from both conferences with exciting games.”

2016 SEC/Big 12 Women’s Basketball Challenge Schedule

Thursday, December 1
Oklahoma at Kentucky
South Carolina at Texas

Friday, December 2
Auburn at Kansas State

Saturday, December 3
Texas Tech at Arkansas
Georgia at Oklahoma State
Mississippi State at Iowa State

Sunday, December 4
Kansas at Alabama
Baylor at Tennessee
Ole Miss at West Virginia


Oregon State’s first-ever trip to the Final Four is “pinch me stuff,” Beavers top Baylor in Elite Eight and head to Indy

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Photos: © Lee Michaelson

DALLAS – “This is pinch me stuff; there are no other words for it,” said Oregon State head coach Scott Rueck as his second-seeded Beavers advanced to the first Final Four in school history after upsetting top-seeded Baylor, 60-57, to win the Elite Eight in the Dallas Regional on Monday night at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.

Someone had better notify the Indianapolis Newcomers Club:  The Beavers now head to Indiana, where they will join two other Final Four debutantes, fourth-seeded Syracuse and seventh-seeded Washington, along with the overwhelming favorite and overall top seed in the tournament, reigning champion University of Connecticut, in the national semifinals on Sunday, April 3.

Not since 2004, when Minnesota joined LSU, Tennessee and Connecticut in the Final Four has a seven-seed made it to the national semifinals. And not since 1994, when North Carolina, Alabama and Purdue made their first appearances alongside Louisiana Tech, a returning national champion, have three newcomers all made their initial appearances in the same Final Four (the previous season set the bar, as the 1993 Final Four featured four first-timers: Texas Tech, Ohio State, Iowa and Vanderbilt).

The journey to the top “has been incredible,” OSU’s Ruth Hamblin and Sydney Wiese agreed, but it has not been an easy one for the Beavers. Just five years ago, when Rueck returned to his alma mater to take the helm, Oregon State was a program locked in irons, picked to finish last in the then-Pac-10. With a 9-21 record for the 2010-11 season, an NCAA Tournament invitation was not even in the conversation for the program at that time.

The next two years saw some improvement, as OSU made its way to the WNIT. Still, Jamie Weisner, Ruth Hamblin and Deven Hunter, now seniors, remember their freshman season (2012-13) as another rough haul, losing 10 conference games in a row, and 12 of their final 13, to finish 10-21 overall and 4-14 in the Pac-12.

“When you think of our freshman year, you come in and win 10 games – there wasn’t a lot of hope in the room,” said Hamblin. “We knew what we’re capable of and I think our work ethic has just paid off, and all the hard lessons we learned, especially the losses down the stretch. We learned from those, and we built from there, and we never let our hope die.”

For Rueck, who had friends warn that they were “scared for him” and call his new job “the worst in America” at the time he signed on, the turning point came the following season (2013-14), after a couple of tough but close losses to nationally ranked Penn State and Florida, they took on Notre Dame at home in Corvallis. They lost that game too, by double digits (58-70).

“So Ruth [Hamblin] was a sophomore. Jamie [Weisner], a sophomore. Sydney [Wiese], a freshman,” Rueck recalled. “And we had lost a couple of really tough games that we thought, ‘Man, we were in it.’ We led, I think, Penn State. We were up 30 minutes in that game. Florida we were up 35 minutes and couldn’t close them. We go home for Christmas and come back and here is Notre Dame Coming in, and we had 5,000 people there that day, because we had hyped that game because everyone wanted to see Notre Dame coming off a Final Four.”

“And this team went toe-to-toe with them that day,” Rueck continued. “Ruth was two rebounds short of a triple-double that day in that game. We had the ball down four with two minutes to go. We turned it over. We ended up losing by 11, I believe. We didn’t know how to win yet, but that was the day that this team believed. From that day forward, there was a core belief that we could play with anyone.

Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw also added an important word of encouragement, said Rueck. “After the game, Muffet said, ‘That’s a tournament team.’ She is the first person to say it, ‘That’s a tournament team.’ We’re like, ‘Really? Maybe we are a tournament team!’”

That faith in themselves as contenders, capable of taking on anyone, served the Beavers well on Monday, as few besides themselves could envision the Beavers, playing in their first Elite Eight, upsetting Baylor, the lone remaining one-seed in this year’s tournament aside from the Connecticut Huskies. The Lady Bears, 36-1, coming into the night’s game, had lost just once all season, in their Big 12 Conference opener at Oklahoma State. Baylor was without its star point guard Niya Johnson, sidelined for that game with a bone bruise.

The Bears are used to winning. They have two national titles to their credit, one in 2005 and again in 2012, capping a perfect, 40-0 season. They’ve been to three Final Fours, five Elite Eights, nine Sweet 16s. They’ve won both the Big 12 regular-season and the Big 12 tournament championship for the last six years in a row.

They also, for all practical purposes, were playing at home. The American Airlines Center is just an hour-and-a-half drive away from the Bears’ campus in Waco, Texas, and even on a Monday evening, plenty of the team’s supporters made that drive, as evidenced by the sea of green and gold in the crowd of 6,050.

The Bears got off to a quick start, forcing back-to-back turnovers by the Beavers, dropping in two quick buckets to take the early lead (4-0), and holding OSU scoreless over the game’s first three-and-a-half minutes.

After raining down a hailstorm of treys against DePaul on Saturday to reach the Round of Eight, Sydney Weise’s first two attempts were off the mark. Meanwhile, Hamblin missed a couple of chippies.

But perhaps because of those years of hard times, because of all the narrow losses, the Beavers did not get rattled. Instead, Wiese hoisted another from downtown and this one was good. A minute later, Wiese drained another 3-ball, to put the Beavers on top by two (4-6) and Gabriella Hanson followed that up with another long-ball off a feed from Wiese on OSU’s next possession to make it a five-point edge for the visitors.

Five points is not much of a lead against an opponent who can score the ball as prolifically as Baylor, but from that point, roughly midway through the opening period, the Bears would lead most of the way. Despite poor shooting by both sides in the early going, with Oregon State netting only five of its 16 field-goal attempts (31.3 percent) and Baylor making only 4 of 15 (26.7 percent), the Beavers’ four treys in the opening period helped them sustain a five-point lead (16-11) by the end of the first period.

Interestingly, though to that point OSU was controlling the backboards to the tune of 15-8 overall and 6-3 on the offensive glass, the Beavers weren’t getting much out of it. Baylor led, 6-3, in second-chance points. Moreover, OSU coughed up four turnovers in the opening quarter, which Baylor translated into five points. Baylor turned it over just once in the opening stanza, and Oregon State was unable to convert.  Bottom line: The key stat in the early going was perimeter shooting, where the Beavers netted 12 of their 15 points on 4-8 from beyond the arc. In contrast, Baylor went 0-2 from long range in the opening period.

That trend continued, largely unabated, throughout the second quarter, in which Baylor repeatedly closed to within a single possession, only to see Oregon State knock down a clutch shut to keep its lead alive. A trio of OSU turnovers by Hanson, Weisner and Wiese led to back-to-back jumpers by Baylor’s Nina Davis and Alexis Jones, allowing the Bears to pull within two, 16-18, at the 6:10 mark of the second period.  But OSU’s Samantha Siegner stole the ball from Alexis Jones, and after Baylor’s Kristy Wallace fouled, Weisner dished to Marie Gulich, who was filling in for Hamblin after the latter picked up her second personal early in the second quarter. Gulich laid it in to put the lead back to four (16-20).

Baylor’s Kalani Brown put back her own miss at the other end, but Wiese responded with a trey, and Gulich blocked an attempted layup by Davis.

That’s when Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey, who had been vehemently complaining about the calls almost from the opening tip, went ballistic, drawing a technical foul.

The officiating had the fans in a lather, the crowd rising nearly as one to boo the referees as they left the court, with a police escort, at the half. But at least to this observer, the problem seemed to be that the crew was inconsistent among themselves, rather than that the calls favored one side more than the other. One member of the crew would call contact with a stationary defender while in route to the hoop a charge; another would call nearly identical contact as a blocking foul.  If anything, Oregon State seemed to have more to complain about than Baylor, with Hamlin having to sit out more than 11 minutes in the opening half thanks to two early fouls (one of which seemed to have been called on a clean block) and sharpshooter Sydney Wiese also operating with two fouls picked up early on.

After the game, Mulkey attributed the loss in large part to missed free throws, which plainly were a factor—Baylor made only five of its 12 first-half attempts from the charity stripe in the opening half and 6-14 for the game as a whole.

Mulkey explained that she had been doing everything she could think of to throw the Beavers off balance. She called for a press “just to keep them out of using up the 30-second clock in the half-court.” She used her timeouts quickly, “trying to make sure they didn’t stay in a flow.”

And, she added, “The technical, you bet I meant to get it!”

Still, when she has had time to do a thorough post-mortem, Mulkey might wish she’d thought better of engaging the refs. Weisner made only one of the two free throws off the technical, but Oregon State regained possession, and Hanson knocked down a jumper. That three-point swing from the technical is exactly the ultimate margin of victory, and it enabled OSU to extend its lead to eight points roughly four minutes before the half.

Over the next three minutes, OSU would go cold, while Baylor clawed its way back, with Johnson, Kalani Brown and Alexis Jones each contributing a layup and Alexis Prince adding a foul shot, to draw within a single point (25-26) with just under two minutes to go in the half.  But the Beavers responded with an 8-0 run, including a 3-point buzzer beater in the final second, to close out the half with their biggest lead of the night, nine points, 25-34.

OSU’s shooting in the second frame had improved to 60 percent (6-15), with the majority of their scoring still coming from beyond the arc, where their seven made 3s (in 13 attempts) supplied 21 of their 34 first-half points. With Hamblin riding the pines for so much of the second period, the Beavers’ rebounding suffered; they pulled down only six boards (to Baylor’s 11) in the second frame, none of them off the offensive glass. Meanwhile, Mulkey rotated her two freshman bigs, 6-4 Beatrice Mompremier and the 6-7 Brown, in and out of the game, periodically supplementing their efforts with brief appearances by 6-3 junior Khadijiah Cave. Brown’s performance, in particular, was impressive; the frosh accounted for four of Baylor’s seven offensive rebounds in the second quarter, helping the Bears to take a 13-3 advantage in second-chance points by the half.

Baylor seized the momentum coming out of the break, thanks in large part to the efforts of Duke transfer Alexis Jones. Jones got the party started with a trey, then picked Weisner’s pocket and dropped in a midrange jumper, to start the third quarter on a solo 5-0 run.

If that news weren’t bad enough for the Beavers, Hamblin picked up her third personal only a minute into the second half.  She remained on the floor for the time being, where she would contribute six of the next eight points—and five critical rebounds—over the next four minutes. Still, with both Hamblin and, by then, 6-3 forward Deven Hunter both playing with three fouls apiece, Rueck was forced to sub them both out midway through the third period.

Baylor took advantage of their absence to launch a 6-0 run in the form of back-to-back-to-back layups by Cave, and with 3:17 to go and the Beavers once again clinging to a one-point lead (41-42) and Baylor enjoying all the momentum, Rueck was forced to call timeout, and send Hamblin and Hunter back into the fray.  Hamblin immediately put in a layup (off a feed from Hunter) but Jones answered in kind at the other end.

Weisner knocked down back-to-back jumpers, and Hamblin swatted away a Davis layup to make it a five-point OSU lead (43-48) with under a minute remaining in the period.

Brown dropped in a layup for Baylor, and was fouled by Hamblin in the process. Though Brown failed to convert the conventional three-point play, that made four personals for Hamblin, who quickly headed to the sidelines.

Finishing out the period, Wallace stole the rock from Hunter and fed it to Johnson, who without Hamblin to contend with was good for a layup. That made it a one-point game, 47-48, with OSU still on top by a nose, heading into the final frame.

Hamblin cooled her heels on the bench while the two sides traded buckets, and Baylor briefly took the lead (51-50) on a layup by Davis. Weisner knotted the score on a foul shot (one of a pair), and from there the score would be tied three more times.

Baylor’s Jones tied the score for the final time at 57 apiece with 2:19 to go. The scoreboard did not budge again until the clock wound down to the final 33 seconds.

Baylor finished the night with only eight turnovers, while forcing 19 by the Beavers, but Oregon State was helped by the fact that two of the Bears’ eight miscues occurred during the game’s final minutes, as Jones stepped out of bounds at the baseline, and as the game entered the final minute, Hamblin stole the ball from Johnson. After a timeout, Jones fouled while attempting to get it back, sending Wiese to the line, where she made one of the pair, to restore Oregon State to a one-point (57-58) edge.

Baylor allowed the clock to run down to 11 seconds before Jones hoisted the potential game-winner, a midrange jumper that skimmed the rim but rolled out. Hamblin grabbed the board, and now Baylor had no choice but to foul, sending Wiese back to the line. This time, Wiese made both to fix the final score, and after Johnson’s 3-point Hail Mary failed to find the net, the celebration began.

Four Beavers finished in double figures: Wiese posted 18 points, while handing out six assists but giving up an equal number of turnovers; Weisner contributed 16 points, plus eight rebounds and two assists, but seven turnovers; Hamblin and Hanson finished with 10 points each, while Hamblin made it a double-double with 12 rebounds, plus four blocks and a steal.  Though Hunter netted only two points, she contributed seven rebounds, plus two assists and a steal, and helped keep the Beavers in the game during some of the stretches when Hamblin was forced to the sidelines.

Baylor’s Jones led all scorers with 19 points, to which she added four boards, six assists and three steals. Brown finished with 12 points and six boards, plus an assist, a block and a steal, in just 19 minutes on the floor. Davis, who often faced double teams, rounded out the double-digit scoring for Baylor with 11 points.

Niya Johnson had an uncharacteristically poor shooting night, notching just six points on 3-10 from the field, but in the final game of her career as a Lady Bear, the plucky 5-8 point guard led all of her teammates with seven rebounds. Cave’s play is also worthy of mention. The 6-3 junior forward stood in tears, comforted by her teammates, as they stood at the baseline, hands extended in the shape of a bear claw, to thank their fans and sing the school song, but she had nothing to regret in her performance. In just 10 minutes on the floor, she posted six points on 3-6 shooting, to which she added four rebounds and three steals.

Remarkably, though 3-pointers had been the Beavers bread and butter throughout the game’s first half, Oregon State did not net another long-ball after the intermission. Mulkey credited halftime adjustments and better communication for the staunching the hemorrhaging on the perimeter:

“You knew they were going to make threes,” said Mulkey. “I thought in the first half, inexperience on the defensive end in communicating when they hit some of those threes was a big factor. … We made adjustments [at halftime]. A lot of it was communication with inexperienced post players, because it’s the posts, you know, that were setting the screens.”

One of those screeners was Hamblin, and when that big girl sets a screen, the opponent knows it. The foul trouble suffered by Hamblin, who played only 23 minutes, as well as Hunter, who tallied just 28 minutes of playing time, and their need to play with greater caution as the game progressed may have accounted for at least part of the downturn in the Beavers’ perimeter shooting.

Whatever the cause, the Beavers sent up 13 long-balls in the opening half, netting seven of them, to account for more than 60 percent of their first-half scoring. In the second half, they attempted only five more shots from beyond the arc, making none of them.

They made up the difference at the foul line, where they notched 15 points on 18 trips to the line (83.3 percent). Wiese, in particular, was a near-perfect 7-8 from the charity stripe, making 3-4 in the game’s final minute with a trip to the Final Four on the line.

Baylor, while prevailing in most other statistical categories, including points in the paint (42-18), points off turnovers (24-8), offensive rebounding (17-12), second-chance points (19-11) and bench points (18-4), shot a woeful 6-14 at the line.

“You cannot miss that many free throws and win a ball game at this level,” Mulkey observed. “We missed eight free throws, and … lost by three.”

Mulkey also noted that in a contest between “two of the best defensive teams in women’s basketball just battl[ing] their butts off,” the Beavers, a team packed with seniors and juniors, enjoyed greater experience and were able to come up with clutch plays at critical moments in the game.

“[I]n places, we’re extremely inexperienced, and I thought we got exposed. They did hit clutch shots, and we didn’t. I mean, there was how many times we had a tie ball game at the end, and we didn’t get a good shot? We either turned it over or … dribble[ed] too much, didn’t share the ball. You know, it wasn’t that [the Baylor players] didn’t want to do good. But I just thought the one that made the clutch shot was going to win there at the end.”

Though the Beavers are the highest-seeded of the three “upstart” teams to win trips to the Final Four, their bracket position places them on a collision course with the dominant UConn Huskies in the national semifinal on Sunday. If that’s causing them any anxiety, you couldn’t tell it on Monday night. Though Hamblin described the Huskies as “obviously a formidable opponent,” Wiese described the challenge ahead as “fun.”

“We’re excited for the opportunity to continue the season,” said Wiese. “We’re exactly where we want to be. To go against UConn, it will be a fun challenge for us. I know that our coaching staff is going to have a good game plan and it’s all about going out there and executing.”

“It’s fun to have UConn,” Weisner added. “That’s always been my dream. You know, to be the best, you have to beat the best, and that’s what’s next for us. I think all year we’ve prepared very well, and we’ll prepare for them. And we’ve been in this position, we’ve been doubted before. So we will just prepare and be ready for them.”


EIGHT WILL HAVE TO BE ENOUGH, AT LEAST FOR NOW: Despite impressive records and high tournament seeds, Baylor has exited the NCAA Tournament at the Elite Eight or sooner for the past three years, now four.  After winning the national championship and logging an unprecedented 40-0 season in 2012, Baylor (34-2), led by Brittney Griner, was the odds-on favorite to defend its title the following year, when the top-seeded (and No. 1-ranked) Bears were upset in the Sweet 16 by the Louisville Cardinals. In 2014, Baylor, that year a two-seed and the No. 5-ranked team in the AP poll, made it to the Elite Eight, before being sent home by No. 2 ranked and top-seeded Notre Dame and finishing the season 32-5. Last year, the Bears were again ranked No. 5 in the country and seeded at No. 2, when they ran up against the Irish in the Elite Eight, where, once again, they fell short of their goals.

In hopes of motivating themselves to break through the barriers and reach their goal of a return trip to the Final Four, the Lady Bears have been wearing bracelets all season bearing the slogan, “Eight is not enough.”

Junior forward Nina Davis tried to put this year’s loss in perspective. “It’s been a great season, you know. It’s been a long one. I couldn’t be more proud of this team. We didn’t reach our goal of making it to the Final Four, but a lot of teams don’t make it to the Elite Eight. It was only eight teams and we was (sic) one of those, and we will never take that for granted. We are going to get back in the gym and get over this eventually and try and get ready for next year.”

Kristina Higgins, a 6-5 post and a senior, added, “It was a great experience to get this far again. Most teams aren’t this lucky. I know it sounds kind of selfish for our motto to be, ‘Eight is not enough,’ but I think this team was good enough to get to the Final Four. Next year they’re going to be just as good and maybe even better. They’ve got the bigs inside still next year, still got Nina Davis, still got KK (Khadijah Cave) coming off the bench, still got Alexis Prince. This team is going to be awesome next year.”

ALL IN THE ANGLES:  As Coach Mulkey observed, this match-up featured two of the best defensive teams in women’s college basketball this season. To cite just one statistic, Oregon State is No. 1 in the nation in field-goal percentage defense, holding opponents to 31.5 percent from the field; Baylor is No. 3, holding opponents to 33-percent field-goal shooting. (Weighing in at No. 2: University of Connecticut who allows 32.9-percent shooting by opponents.) But watching them play, it’s hard to say just why and how they are so successful defensively.

For example, Beavers seemed to play Davis, the Bears’ leading scorer, averaging 16.3 points per game, too loosely, allowing the speedy and agile small forward what looked like too much room in which to operate. Still, at the end of the day, what they did, worked, as Davis came away with jut 11 points on the night, well below her average.

Mulkey herself acknowledged that she “tried to figure out” what made the Beavers so could defensively, “while watching film, and I couldn’t figure it out. It think part of it is angles. It think it’s physical play, just toughness, maybe. I don’t know that it’s height as much as it is [that] they’re in the right place at the right time and they play you pretty physical. Smart. We never – they’re not up in you defensively, like pressuring you or anything. I just think, you know, they just know how to compete.”

If playing the angles lies at the core of their effectiveness, then Ruth Hamblin, an Academic All-American who boasts a 3.84 grade-point average in her mechanical engineering major, has got to be a huge secret weapon for the Beavers. And, in fact, Hamblin believes her mathematical approach is a big help to her game.

“I think it’s huge,” said Hamblin, who notched four blocks and 12 rebounds in addition to her 10 points in the Beavers’ Elite Eight win. “It’s something that Coach Scott Rueck has taught me over the years is playing the angles to force them into a tough shot, because it’s kind of an art form down in the low post. And I don’t know if it is taught as much these days, but he’s emphasized it over the years and I think I’m a lot better at it now than I was before.”

ALL-REGIONAL TEAM:  Oregon State guard Jamie Weisner was named Most Outstanding Player of the Dallas Regional. Weisner was joined on the All-Tournament Team by her OSU teammate Sydney Wiese, Baylor’s Nina Davis and Alexis Jones, and DePaul’s Jessica January. Despite the heavy emphasis on size and post play, not only in the regional final but also in Saturday’s Sweet 16 games, all but Davis, an undersized forward at 5-11, are guards. 

Dishin & Swishin 3/24/16 Podcast: Stephanie White breaks down the Sweet 16

Indiana Fever head coach Stephanie White. Photo: Indiana Fever.

Indiana Fever head coach Stephanie White. Photo: Indiana Fever.


Click here to subscribe to the podcast with your feed reader or podcast app: Available on iTunes, Google Play Music Podcasts, Player FM, Acast (iOS, Android) and Podcast Addict (Android).

The subregionals are complete and the Sweet 16 are in the regional locations for the next two rounds of the 2016 NCAA tournament.

Games are on Friday and Sunday in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Lexington, Kentucky. On Saturday and Monday, games will be in Bridgeport, Connecticut and Dallas, Texas. No seed below a seven-seed advanced to this round, but none of the rounds have the top four seeds left.

To break down the Sweet 16 and give some insight into what to look for this weekend, it is great to have ESPN analyst and Indiana Fever head coach Stephanie White back on Dishin & Swishin.

A former star player and now an outstanding coach, as well as one of college basketball’s top in-game commentator, White’s analysis brings that particular view to the game you can only have with experience of playing and coaching at the highest levels.

  • Will there be upsets?
  • Who should we look for to be a surprise?
  • Will the four number one seeds all advance?
  • What do teams need to do to advance?

White answers these questions and more, including analysis of the success of top seeds Connecticut, Baylor, South Carolina and Notre Dame, and what makes them so difficult to play against.

In 30 minutes, each team, each game is broken down and discussed so there is something for everyone!

Enjoy the podcast!

NCAA Tournament TV Schedule


Dishin & Swishin 02/04/16 Podcast: Talking with ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel about the latest in NCAA and WNBA news

Bristol, Conn. (March 18, 2013) - Mechelle Voepel during the NCAA Women's Basketball Selection Special Extended Coverage Presented. Photo: Rich Arden/ESPN Images.

ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel. Photo: Rich Arden/ESPN Images.


Click here to subscribe to the podcast with your feed reader or podcast app: Available on iTunes, Google Play Music Podcasts, Player FM, Acast (iOS, Android) and Podcast Addict (Android).

Every now and then it is nice to just get together with a friend and chat.

As we are nearing the end of the NCAA women’s basketball season and the start of WNBA free agency, it seems like a good time to catch up with friend of the podcast Mechelle Voepel of ESPN. There is a lot to talk about!

Some of the topics covered on the NCAA women’s basketball front:

  • UConn and South Carolina ahead of their game Monday night; does South Carolina have what it takes to beat UConn?
  • The differences between this year’s Huskies and prior years, including the approach Geno Auriemma seems to have toward playing time.
  • Who has the best chance at defeating UConn?  Baylor? Notre Dame? South Carolina? Someone else?
  • A look at the selection committee’s first top ten list, and with that the rise of the Pac -12. Can it last?
  • What is going in with Tennessee and the SEC as a whole? Can it be turned around and if so how?
  • Are the rule changes having an impact in what we are seeing this year? Especially the four quarters and the advancing the ball in the last two minutes on an out of bounds play.
  • If some of the high profiled coaching jobs open up, what will happen? Who would be willing to go where and the impact?

If that is not enough for you, then let us slide over to the WNBA and discuss:

  • Thoughts on the new schedule, seeding, and playoff formats the WNBA put into place; the good and the bad.
  • Free agency is in full swing; the importance of New York signing Shavonte Zellous and what it could mean for the franchise.
  • Will Indiana’s opponents need extra ice packs when they go against new teammates Erlana Larkins, Devereaux Peters, and Natalie Achonwa.
  • An early look at possible WNBA draft choices, including a couple of names you may not have considered before.

It is getting to be the most exciting time of the year for women’s basketball fans, and Hoopfeed and the Dishin & Swishin podcast is your source for information!

Enjoy the podcast!

2015 Preseason WNIT Championship game: DePaul at No. 5 Baylor

Full Preseason WNIT Schedule/Results

WNIT Release:

At a distance, the look of the 2015 Preseason WNIT bracket has clarity, with the highest ranked teams on either side of the draw — No. 5 Baylor and DePaul — emerging to face each other in Sunday’s championship game (3 p.m. ET at Baylor, televised by CBS Sports Network).

But there’s nothing automatic in the heat of competition, and both teams had to scale a hurdle or two to get through Thursday’s semifinals. The reward for managing the adversity is a chance to play another tough early-season game and learn more about their own internal makeup.

For the Lady Bears (3-0), it’s all about shifting roles and responsibilities around after the loss of guard Alexis Prince to a knee injury suffered Wednesday in practice. Prince scored 16 points in the team’s victory versus Southern Miss, indicating her ability to take some scoring pressure off Nina Davis, who leads the team in scoring.

Baylor definitely got tested Thursday in a 66-63 win against No. 17 South Florida, who trailed by just a point in a couple spots in the fourth quarter and showed a lot of tenacity despite shooting poorly.

“I thought we were tremendous on the defensive end, not just the first half. I thought we did okay the whole game,” said Baylor coach Kim Mulkey after the contest. “You just beat a team that has five returning starters and nine returning players. That was a very, very hard-fought win for us. I knew it was going to be. When (Alexis) Prince went out this week and had to have surgery, you have to adjust on the fly. We’re very talented, but we’re not anywhere near where we’re going to be. I have to figure out who to play and help on the perimeter.”

Baylor won the 2011 Preseason WNIT and is in the title game for the third time in four chances. The Lady Bears have now won 155 consecutive home games against non-conference foes, dating back to a loss to Auburn in the 2003 Postseason WNIT title game.

For the Blue Demons, their challenge Thursday was withstanding the scorching offense of visiting Indiana. The Hoosiers were at better than 65 percent from the field in the first half, but it was not a good sign to be actually trailing on the scoreboard (42-39).

The numbers began to balance in the second half, and DePaul’s seasoned lineup got its own rhythm solved on the way to a drama-free 84-69 victory.

“Indiana does a great job of not letting you get to the paint,” said DePaul coach Doug Bruno. “We ended up taking 34 three-pointers (making 11), because that’s what Indiana was giving us.

“Indiana forced us to take more time on offense. Brooke (Schulte) was good at picking her spots and patiently taking shots where there were openings. Eventually, our ball reversal and patience got us good looks at the rim.”

DePaul’s ability to cope with Baylor’s defense will be a key, as the Lady Bears force turnovers by the bunches. The Blue Demons should have confidence when they run their offense, with six players averaging in double figures in scoring.

Fans can watch the WNIT championship game live on CBS Sports Network. Thad Anderson (play-by-play) and Curt Miller will be calling the action from Waco, TX.  CLICK HERE to find the channel in your area.

Round 1 – Nov. 13
Southern Miss 65, Alabama State 44
Indiana 88, Tennessee State 56
St. Bonaventure 57, Siena 40
South Florida 74, Jacksonville 52
Chattanooga 68, McNeese State 53
Baylor 62, UT Arlington 20
Drexel 69, Dartmouth 53?
DePaul 105, Southern Illinois 61Round 2 
Nov. 15, 2015
South Florida 73, Drexel 58
DePaul 77, St. Bonaventure 54Nov. 16, 2015
Baylor 97, Southern Miss 42

Nov. 17, 2015
Indiana 54, Chattanooga 43

Nov. 19, 2015

Baylor 66, South Florida 63
DePaul 84, ?Indiana 69

?Nov. 22, 2015 

DePaul at Baylor, 3 p.m. ET?
?CBS Sports Network

Nov. 20, 2015
(Southern Illinois Host)

Alabama State at Tennessee State, 5 p.m. ET
Siena at Southern Illinois, 7:30 p.m. ET

(UT Arlington Host)
Dartmouth at McNeese State, 6 p.m. ET
Jacksonville at UT Arlington, 8:15 p.m. ET

Nov. 20, 2015
Southern Miss at Chattanooga, 6:30 p.m. ET

Nov. 21, 2015
St. Bonaventure at Drexel, 5 p.m. ET

Dishin & Swishin 11/12/15 Podcast: UConn or the field? The Roundtable looks at the NCAA season



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This weekend the NCAA women’s basketball season tips off. So Dishin & Swishin asks you, if you had to choose a national champion, and the choices were three-time defending champion UConn or the rest of the field, which would you choose? Not that easy to decide, is it?

As the action begins, it is the perfect time for Dishin & Swishin host David Siegel to convene another session of the Dishin & Swishin roundtable discussions, to preview the NCAA women’s basketball season. The esteemed panel this time around consists of:

  • Stephanie White, ESPN analyst and head coach of the WNBA’s Indiana Fever
  • Brenda VanLengen, analyst for numerous networks including ESPN, Pac-12 Network and Fox Sports
  • Debbie Antonelli, SEC Network analyst for men’s and women’s games
  • Mary Murphy, making her roundtable debut, Pac-12 network analyst

The podcast moves from topic to topic, team to team, conference to conference at a frantic pace, covering a wide range of subjects including (but not limited to):

  • The impact of the new rules on the NCAA season
  • If not Connecticut, then who?
  • A look at conferences throughout the country, the separation from top to bottom, which programs can impact the national scene
  • Breaking down the preseason top 25 rankings
  • The impact of this past summer’s international play on several schools
  • Players and teams that our experts think can surprise you or are worth looking at

A fast-paced hour plus with some of the best analysts in the business. Without a doubt, you will learn something you did not know before!

Enjoy the podcast, and enjoy the season!

Dishin & Swishin 3/20/15 Podcast: More of The Roundtable! NCAA Tournament Preview Part II

If today’s first round of the women’s tournament goes anything like the men’s games yesterday, it will be crazy!

Yesterday, in part one of the Dishin & Swishin Roundtable, three of the four regions were discussed. Today, we talk in-depth about the teams selected, the problems with the process and the committee choices and criteria and more.

As a reminder, we have an outstanding panel, with a slight twist. Not only is there the usual array of outstanding journalists, but we have added a legendary coach to give a different perspective of things. The participants are:

  • Doug Feinberg, Associated Press national women’s basketball writer
    LaChina Robinson, ESPN analyst
    Debbie Antonelli, ESPN analyst
    Lin Dunn, former NCAA and WNBA head coach

When this group got together, along with host and moderator David Siegel, the conversation was so enjoyable and informative that we need to break it into two parts! Part one aired yesterday, and today we bring you part two.

Topics include:

  • Breaking down each region
  • Upsets? Does the No. 5 vs. No. 12 matchup produce upsets on the women’s side too?
  • Underseeding! Princeton, DePaul, James Madison and more
  • Does Arkansas with their 6-10 conference record deserve to be in the tournament or someone else?
  • Who should you be looking for? Stories, upstarts, and unknowns
  • What wins in March and April? Styles, programs, positions and coaches

Plus of course a lot more! All of the insight you have come to look for in the Roundtable discussions.

So before you submit your brackets, check out both or Dishin & Swishin’s roundtable podcasts! Enjoy!