Overall Rank: #1
Conference Rank: #1 Big 12
Baylor Team Page
The Baylor Bears are coming off of an epic 40-0 run to the national championship last season. They are back, loaded and ready to repeat. The team is led by the most intimidating player in the sport, Brittney Griner. She arguably can be viewed as the player that will end up changing the sport of women’s basketball forever with her ability to score, defend and block shots at a level that makes it nearly impossible for opponents to have any extended success down in the post against the Bears.
2011-12 Record: 40-0, 18-0
2011-12 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Kim Mulkey
Coach Record: 114-56 at Baylor, 144-85 overall
It starts with the combination of Griner and Odyssey Sims. This inside-out combination is arguably the best in all of women’s college basketball. Griner can do it all at both ends of the court. She shot over 60 percent from the floor and a very underrated part of her offensive game that doesn’t get enough credit is her ability to execute from the free throw line. Last season she shot just over 80 percent from the charity stripe. Sims had an excellent season from the perimeter and distributing the basketball last season. Sims shot 39.9 percent from three point range and did a nice job taking care of the basketball with a 1.75 to 1 assist to turnover ratio. Defensively, this team as a whole, just locks you down. Junior forward Destiny Williams, combined with Griner, averaged nearly double-figure rebound totals per game and they make life very difficult for opponents to get anything going offensively.
Last season the Bears starting five got a combined 183 starts and 197 games played out of a possible 200 and that starting five returns intact for the 2012-2013 season. That type of ability to stay injury free would be the only thing to truly concern the Baylor fan base. The challenge of getting through a season with that high a level of health for two seasons in a row is a very tall task. It is going to be very important for the incoming freshmen class to be able to compete for minutes and be ready to make an impact in the event of an injury to any of the starting five for the Bears. The other key for Baylor is just simply showing the ability to take the nation’s best shot as everyone is going to be gunning for them in 2012-13. If somebody beats the Bears this season, it won’t be from complacency as head coach Kim Mulkey will never ever allow that to happen to this team.
The Bears are much deserving of the pre-season number one accolades. The return of the entire starting five, the experiences gained of knowing what it takes to finish the job and a national championship are all hugely invaluable assets for the 2012-13 Baylor squad. The out-of conference schedule, as expected, is very loaded with games against the likes of Stanford in Honolulu, along with a trip to play Notre Dame and UConn in mid-February. The Big 12 slate is loaded as well with teams like Oklahoma, West Virginia, Kansas, and Iowa State. This team has all the pieces in place to run the table for a second consecutive undefeated season. However, I think in the end, they will head into the NCAA Tournament as the number one overall national seed with one regular season or conference tournament loss and should be the favorite to cut the nets down at the New Orleans Arena in April.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Odyssey Sims Sophomore, Guard, 14.9 points per game
Kimetria Hayden, Junior, Guard, 9.1points per game
Jordan Madden Junior, Guard, 4.3 points per game
Destiny Williams, Junior, Forward, 10.1 points per game
Brittney Griner, Senior, Center, 23.2 points per game
Madness 2012 WNBA Draft Rankings:
#1 Brittney Griner
#20 Destiny Williams
Madness 2012 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#24 Niya Johnson
#27 Alexis Prince
#45 Chardonae Fuqua
#67 Kristina Higgins
#121 Destiny Brown