Oct. 14, 2006
WACO, Texas -
Baylor's women's basketball team began preparing for the 2006-07 season as the squad took to the floor for its first practice on Saturday morning at the Ferrell Center.
Head coach Kim Mulkey and her staff of Karen Aston, Jennifer Roberts and Damion McKinney welcomed 12 players to the court including five returnees, six freshmen and a transfer student. In addition to welcoming seven newcomers to the program, Coaches Aston and McKinney have joined the staff since the 2005-06 season concluded. Aston came on board as associate head coach and recruiting coordinator, while Damion McKinney, the most recent addition, joined the program in mid-August. Roberts and Johnny Derrick, Director of Basketball Operations, both begin their seventh year as a part of Coach Mulkey's staff.
"The effort today was outstanding. When you have six freshmen and three sophomores out there, you can only imagine that it's going to be chaotic at times but the effort was great," said Mulkey. "This is going to be exciting because it is going to be a challenge with such a young team. I just need to keep it in perspective and remember that you can't make them to mature overnight, it's going to take some time."
Headlining the Baylor returnees is Angela Tisdale, a two-year starter who enters her junior season as one of two returning starters off last year's NCAA Sweet 16 squad. The 5-5 point guard averaged 11.7 points and 5.8 assists a game last year. Her scoring average ranked No. 2 on the Baylor squad, behind two-time Kodak All-American Sophia Young. Tisdale's assist average also placed her among the Big 12 leaders.
Newcomer and All-America candidate Bernice Mosby, a senior transfer from the University of Florida, is expected to be a major contributor this season. The 6-1 forward was recently named Preseason Big 12 Newcomer of the Year by the league's coaches. Mosby has a season of Lady Bear practices under her belt and was introduced to the program's style of play by playing daily against former standouts Young and Abiola Wabara. As a junior at Florida, Mosby averaged a team-leading 15.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 30.3 minutes a game. During her two and a half seasons with the Gators she amassed 1,124 points and 625 rebounds en route to 2003 SEC All-Freshman team honors, 2004 SEC Sixth Woman of the Year kudos and 2005 second-team All-SEC recognition.
LaToya Wyatt, a 5-7 senior guard and an extremely quick, defensive specialist, is one of only two active players, Tisdale being the other, that own 2005 NCAA and Big 12 championship rings. Her experience and leadership will be valuable to the underclassmen.
Nine underclassmen make up over half of this season's roster. Three sophomores Jessica Morrow, Rachel Allison and Jhasmin Player all earned considerable playing time as rookies a year ago.
Morrow, a 6-2 forward, started 18 of Baylor's 33 games as a freshman. She logged over 20 minutes an outing and averaged 7.6 points and 3.1 rebounds a game.
Allison developed into an aggressive rebounder and will be looked upon to continue in that mode this season as well as increase her offensive output. She averaged 5.2 points and 4.7 rebounds in 17.6 minutes of action per contest.
Player, a 5-10 guard, averaged 12.1 minutes of action a game and appeared in 32 contests. She registered 43 assists and 42 steals while averaging 3.4 points a game.
Baylor's seven newcomers, who include six freshmen, were dubbed the nation's No. 1 recruiting class by the All Star Girls Report. Danielle Wilson (Bay Shore, N.Y.), Whitney Jones (West Monroe, La.), Jessika Bradley (Sacramento, Calif.), Latara Darrett (Chino, Calif.), Kaitlin Oberg (West Islip, N.Y.) and Haylee Abbe (Waco, Texas) all attended Baylor summer sessions and participated in the Lady Bears' strength and conditioning program.
Wilson, a 6-3 post, is the most decorated Lady Bear recruit. She is the program's first McDonald's All-American recruit and was a Parade Magazine All-American (fourth team) and Street & Smith All-American (fourth team). Wilson averaged 29.1 points, 20.2 rebounds, 5.5 blocks, 3.4 assists and 3.7 steals as a senior and tallied 2,058 points and more than 1,000 rebounds in three prep seasons. In addition, she was a member of the 2005 USA Youth Development Festival's White team that won the silver medal and was a 2006 USA U18 National Team alternate.
Jones comes to Baylor with impressive credentials as well. She was a two-time Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year, joining former LSU star Seimone Augustus as the only other two-time recipient in state history. The 5-5 point guard was a four-time all-state selection and was named Class 5A Most Outstanding Player three straight seasons. She averaged 21.3 points, 9.1 rebounds and four assists a game as a senior and was selected as a Nike High School All-American honorable mention honors.
Bradley, a 6-3 forward, enters Baylor after leading the Sacramento HS Lady Dragons to four league titles and a 2006 state runner-up finish. The four-time first-team All-Capitol League selection and 2006 MVP averaged 24 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks a game as a senior.
Darrett joins the Lady Bears after having played prep ball on both coasts. After playing at Don Lugo HS in Chino, Calif., she played two seasons at Florida's IMG Academy. The 5-10 guard was a two-time Street & Smith All-American and a member of the gold medal team at the 2005 USA Youth Development Festival. Throughout her prep career she totaled over 2,000 points, 500 rebounds, 300 steals and 100 assists.
Oberg, a 6-2 forward, is Baylor's second New York recruit, joining Wilson, a teammate at St. John the Baptist. She helped the Cougars, coached by her father Ted, to three league titles and was named all-league as a senior.
Abbe, a 5-10 guard/forward is a versatile athlete who played five sports -- basketball, track, cross country, soccer and volleyball, at nearby Robinson HS. She was named the Waco Tribune-Herald's 2006 CenTex Female Athlete of the Year.
The Lady Bears will play two exhibition games (Louisiana College, Nov. 2 and Houston Jaguars, Nov. 7) before opening the regular season hosting the University of North Texas in the first round of the Preseason Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) at 7 p.m. on Fri., Nov. 10.