#5 Baylor Women's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Baylor Lady Bears

Overall Rank: #5
Conference Rank: #1 Big 12
#5 Baylor Women's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview
Baylor Team Page


Despite the 30-3 record heading into the NCAA Tournament, this was not the dominating Baylor team we have come to expect. The Lady Bears did what they were supposed to do in the NCAA Tournament, reaching the Elite Eight before falling to top seeded Notre Dame. This group does lose a couple starters from last year’s team, but overall this could be a more talented team.

2014-15 Record: 33-4, 16-2
2014-15 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Kim Mulkey
Coach Record: 437-90 at Baylor, 437-90 overall

Nina Davis and Niya Johnson form one of the best inside/outside tandems in the country. Davis, a 5-11 forward, easily led the team with 21.1 points and 8.3 rebounds. She can attack the basket and score in the post and few teams have found an effective way of stopping her. Johnson is not much of a scorer, but she did manage to average 7.3 points per game. The complete lack of an outside shot does limit her offensively, but Johnson is still one of the best point guards in the country. She dished out an amazing 8.9 assists per game, while committing just 2.2 turnovers. That is just a ridiculous assist-to-turnover ratio. The team as a whole ranked second in the nation with 20.9 assists per game and 35th in turnovers per game with 13.6. Johnson deserves almost all of the credit for those impressive numbers. With Johnson sharing getting her teammates involved, expect quick involvement from newcomers like Kalani Brown, Beatrice Mompremier and Alexis Jones. Brown and Mompremier are the big post presences that this team needs. Brown, at 6-7, could step right into a starting spot beside Davis. Jones is a point guard who has transferred in from Duke. Two years ago with the Blue Devils she averaged 13.1 points, 5.3 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 2.1 steals before suffering a late season injury. She is a capable shooter and knocked down 38.8 percent of her long range attempts two years ago. That means Johnson can stay on the ball and Jones can be a secondary ball handler and the starting shooting guard.

The development of many of the returning players could be a key for this team. Khadijiah Cave had a very good sophomore season, averaging 9.3 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, and that was mostly off of the bench. But she is not a shot blocker like the departed Sune Agbuke. Is Cave ready to step into a full-time starting role, or will Brown take that away? Either way, Cave can provide an experienced post player off of the bench. Alexis Prince was an undervalued starter last year, averaging 8.6 points and 4.1 rebounds as a sophomore. She is a big guard and Baylor will need her outside shooting to help replace the departed Imani Wright. Kristy Wallace will be asked to do the same. In fact, Wallace and Prince are the only two returning players who hit a three-point shot last year. Surely Baylor is going to work through the post like they usually do, but there will be open looks on the perimeter. And somebody needs to step up and knock them down.

Final Projection:
If Brown lives up to her potential, this could be a Baylor team that looks like the Baylor teams of old. They have scorers like Davis and, presumably, Jones. They have a great point guard and they should have a couple players that can stretch the defense or at least be a threat to shoot the ball. All they need is a post player who can block some shots and score. Brown could do both of those things. Even if Brown needs some time to develop and get acclimated, Cave is at least a proven interior scorer and can help out on the glass. Without Brown adding another dimension to that frontcourt, this is still a team that should win the Big 12. But with Brown providing a dominating post presence, this could be a Final Four team.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Niya Johnson, Senior, Guard, 7.3 points per game
Alexis Jones, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Alexis Prince, Junior, Guard, 8.6 points per game
Nina Davis, Junior, Forward, 21.1 points per game
Kalani Brown, Freshman, Center, DNP last season

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 79.5 (7th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 59.0 (59, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.9 (5, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 34.7 (5, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 3.2 (312, 10)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.0 (74, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.4 (127, 4)
Rebound Margin: 11.6 (4, 1)
Assists Per Game: 20.9 (2, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.6 (35, 2)

Madness 2016 WNBA Draft Rankings:
#21 Niya Johnson

Madness 2015 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#10 Kalani Brown
#15 Beatrice Mompremier
#59 Alexandria Gulley


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