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Radio: Baylor Sports Network IMG College, 1660 AM/92.9 FM in Waco
Talent: Rick May (pxp), Lori Fogleman (color)
Live Stats/In-Game: GameTracker
Twitter: @BaylorWBB | #SicEm
BAYLOR11-1, 1-0 Big 12
Ranking: 6 - AP, 6 - Coaches
Last Game: Dec. 28, 2017 win at Kansas State, 88-58
Head Coach: Kim Mulkey
Career Record: 517-96 (18th season)
BU Record: 517-96 (18th season)
Texas Tech6-6, 0-1 Big 12
Ranking: NR - AP, NR - Coaches
Last Game: Dec. 28, 2017 loss vs. Oklahoma State, 98-57
Head Coach: Candi Whitaker
Career Record: 130-175 (9th Season)
TTU Record: 53-82 (5th Season)
By Jerry Hill
Baylor Bear Foundation
Didi Richards is no longer Baylor's little "ragdoll."
That's how coach Kim Mulkey described the 6-foot-1 freshman a little over two weeks ago when she gave up an offensive rebound off a missed free throw at the end of a 95-34 win over McNeese State.
"You just get pushed around. You flop around. Be strong," Mulkey said, perhaps sending a challenge to the freshman from Cypress, Texas.
Now, going into Sunday's 1 p.m. matchup against Texas Tech (6-6, 0-1) Richards is one of the sixth-ranked Lady Bears' first options off the bench to spell starting post players Kalani Brown and Lauren Cox.
In the Lady Bears' last game before the Christmas break, Mulkey saw Richards "take a rebound from coast to coast and just have that look in her face like, `I'm going to make something happen.'''
"Throughout the break, I just thought, this kid's undersized, but I just feel like there's something there that could relieve Cox and Kalani a little bit," Mulkey said. "Even though she's undersized, she just has a way of making something happen. She has a little aggressiveness about her. When we came back from the break, I decided to go with it, and she's made me look good."
Playing her first extended minutes at one of the two inside spots, Richards was 4-of-7 from the floor and finished with eight points, six rebounds, three assists, two steals and a career high-tying three blocks in Thursday's 88-58 conference-opening win at Kansas State.
"In high school, I was the tallest player, so I've played the elbow, high-post area," Richards said. "I'm flashing and passing to Kalani and (Cox), so it's about the same."
In its conference home opener, Baylor (11-1, 1-0) faces a Tech team that is one of the few squads capable of matching the Lady Bears' size in the front court.
The Lady Raiders start 6-4 senior Jada Terry (11.1 ppg, 5.9 rebounds) and 6-5 sophomore Brittany Brewer (11.8 ppg, 6.0 rebounds) at the two inside spots and can bring size off the bench with 6-6 senior Erin DeGrate from La Vega High School, 6-1 senior Dayo Olabode and 6-2 senior Ionna McKenzie.
"It seems like they have more post players than they do perimeter players, so they're playing a lot more zone," Mulkey said. "The zone is something we're not used to seeing against Texas Tech, but I'm sure because of the number of post players they have, they're not comfortable putting them out on the perimeter defending."
Because of Tech's depth and size at post, it puts even more pressure on the 6-7 Brown and 6-4 Cox to stay out of foul trouble. In the win over K-State, Brown (3) and senior point guard Kristy Wallace (4) had seven of the team's 14 fouls.
"My team was able to pick up the slack," said Brown, who had 20 points and nine rebounds in only 27 minutes, "but you can't always get in foul trouble."
With a limited nine-player rotation, Mulkey said Brown and Wallace, in particular, have to "play smarter."
"Kalani and Kristy getting in foul trouble is why I was so proud of the team and how poised we were," Mulkey said, "because they weren't on the floor to be our leaders in a lot of situations the other night. I told them, when somebody's pounding right at you, trying to pick up that third and fourth foul early, sometimes you just have to concede a little bit and get out of the way and not try to win a battle there. Be smarter. In years past, I may not have told you that, but because of the depth issue you've got to be smarter than that."
Baylor has six of its nine players averaging nine points or better, led by Brown and Cox at 21.8 and 15.0, respectively. Wallace (11.0 ppg) and freshman guard Alexis Morris (10.2) also average double-digit points, with sophomore guard Natalie Chou (9.8) and senior forward Dekeiya Cohen (9.4) nipping at their heels.
Chou hit two 3-pointers in the first four minutes against K-State and scored eight of her 13 points in the first quarter.
"The whole complexion of the game was changed because of Natalie and how she stepped up and made the big 3 on the ball-reversal by Cox," Mulkey said. "When we can hit perimeter shots, it makes the post game a lot easier."
The first of back-to-back home games, the New Year's Eve matchup against Tech will be televised by ESPNU, with Brenda Van Lengen and Carol Ross calling the action.
BACK HOME FOR BIG 12 PLAY
Following a conference-opening win at Kansas State, the No. 6/6 Baylor Lady Bears return to the Ferrell Center to challenge Texas Tech on Sunday, Dec. 31 inside the Ferrell Center. The game, which tips off at 1 p.m. (CT), will be broadcast on ESPNU.
Sunday's game will be broadcast live on ESPNU with Brenda Van Lengen (play-by-play) and Carol Ross (analyst) calling the action. Fans can also tune in to the Baylor Sports Network, IMG College and 1660AM and 99.1FM in Waco to hear Rick May (play-by-play) and Lori Fogleman (analyst) call the game.
WHAT'S IN A WIN
Baylor would have a 2-0 start in the Big 12 Conference for the seventh time in the last eight seasons.
The Lady Bears would be on a 16-game win streak against the Lady Raiders.
Baylor would have at least 12 wins in its first 13 games of the season for the 18th season in a row, all under the direction of head coach Kim Mulkey.
READY TO ROLL
With junior forward Kalani Brown and senior guard Kristy Wallace in foul trouble, freshmen Alexis Morris, Didi Richards and Moon Ursin were thrust into the fire in the conference-opener at Kansas State.
The group capitalized on its opportunity, netting a combined 23 points, pulling down 11 rebounds and distributing eight assists.
Morris led the way with 13 points in 29 minutes, registering her seventh double-figure scoring performance. She missed just one shot, nailing 6-of-7 field goal attempts and 1-of-1 three-point field goal attempts.
Richards recorded eight points, six rebounds, three assists, matched her career-high with three blocks and two steals. She made 4-of-7 shots from the floor in 20 minutes played.
Ursin came off the bench, making her lone field goal attempt, pulling down two rebounds and distributing three assists in her seven minutes.
Texas Tech leads Baylor, 47-40, in the all-time series.
Under head coach Kim Mulkey, the Lady Bears are 32-8 against the Lady Raiders.
Baylor has won 15 consecutive games against Texas Tech and 25 of the last 26 matchups.
At home, the Lady Bears trail the Lady Raiders, 20-17, all-time.
LOOKING AT THE LADY RAIDERS
Texas Tech enters Sunday's contest at 6-6 overall and 0-1 in Big 12 play after falling to Oklahoma State, 98-57, on Dec. 28.
The Lady Raiders return eight letterwinners from last season, including three starters, while adding seven newcomers.
The roster, comprised of two freshmen, six sophomores, three juniors and four seniors, is led by fifth-year head coach Candi Whitaker.
The Lady Raiders average 70.4 points, 35.3 rebounds, 14.3 assists, 8.8 steals and 1.6 blocks per game.
Before heading separate ways for the holidays, the Lady Bears made a trip to New Orleans to meet Nicholls State on Dec. 18. It was a homecoming for head coach Kim Mulkey (Hammond, La.), junior Kalani Brown (Slidell, La.) and freshman Moon Ursin (Destrehan, La.).
Brown paced the team with 18 points and added seven rebounds in front of family and friends, playing 28 minutes.
Ursin, who made the first start of her career in front of a crowd of supporters, scored a career-high 11 points and pulled down nine rebounds in a career-high 28 minutes.
Both players shot the ball well, as Brown went 6-for-9 (.667) from the floor and Ursin made 5-of-9 (.556) field goal attempts.
Mulkey had family in attendance to see her lead the Lady Bears to her 516 career victory.
BIG 12 HISTORY
Baylor women's basketball has won a league-leading 16 Big 12 Conference titles, eight regular season and eight tournament championships.
The Lady Bears claimed their seventh regular season conference championship in a row, finishing 17-1 last season. The lone loss came at home to Texas, 85-79.
Baylor advanced to the Big 12 Championship game for the seventh consecutive season and the 11th time in program history last year with a semifinal victory over Kansas State, 88-71.
The Lady Bears have won six of the last seven Big 12 Championship titles, falling to West Virginia last year to end their streak, 77-66.
BIG 12 STAT LEADERS
The Lady Bears stand at the top of several team and individual statistical categories heading into the Big 12 Conference season.
As a team, Baylor leads the way in 13 categories, including scoring offense (91.6), scoring margin (+36.1), field goal percentage (.528), field goal percentage defense (.307), three-point field goal percentage (.427), rebounding offense (49.7), rebounding margin (+18.1), blocked shots (6.6), assists (23.3), assist to turnover ratio (1.9), defensive rebounds (34.4), defensive rebounding percentage (.750) and offensive rebounding percentage (.432).
Junior All-American center Kalani Brown is leading the conference individually in field goal percentage (.726). She is also third in scoring (21.8), fourth in rebounding (8.8) and defensive rebounds (6.1) and fifth in offensive rebounds (2.8).
Sophomore forward Lauren Cox leads the Big 12 in defensive rebounds (6.8) and is second in rebounding (9.3) and blocked shots (2.6).
Sophomore guard Juicy Landrum paces the league in three-point field goal percentage (.563), netting 18 of her 32 attempts in 12 games played.
Senior guard Kristy Wallace leads the conference in assist to turnover ratio (3.0), is fifth in assists (5.3) and seventh in three-point field goal percentage (.432).
Senior forward Dekeiya Cohen leads the Big 12 in offensive rebounds (3.3) and is ninth in rebounding (7.2).
MILESTONE ON THE HORIZON
With 971 points, senior guard Kristy Wallace is 29 points away from reaching the 1,000-career points mark. Averaging 11.0 points per game so far this year, she is on track to join the club in the next three games. Only 34 players have scored more than 1,000 points in their Baylor careers, most recently junior Kalani Brown.
OWNING THE GLASS
Baylor has outrebounded all 12 of its opponents this season, boasting a rebounding margin of +18.1, which leads the nation.
In the last two seasons, the Lady Bears have outrebounded 47 of their last 49 opponents.
The last time an opponent outrebounded Baylor was on Feb. 6, 2017, when Texas edged the Lady Bears, 38-37, on the glass.
On Jan. 11, 2017, TCU matched Baylor's rebounding efforts as each team registered 38 boards.
RECORD BY STARTING LINEUP
With guard Kristy Wallace, guard Natalie Chou, forward Dekeiya Cohen, forward Lauren Cox and center Kalani Brown starting, Baylor is 9-0.
With guard Alexis Morris, guard Kristy Wallace, guard Natalie Chou, forward Lauren Cox and center Kalani Brown, Baylor is 1-0.
With guard Kristy Wallace, guard Moon Ursin, guard Natalie Chou, forward Lauren Cox and center Kalani Brown, Baylor is 1-0.
With guard Alexis Morris, guard Kristy Wallace, guard Natalie Chou, forward Dekeiya Cohen and center Kalani Brown starting, Baylor is 0-1.
CALL FROM THE HALL
For the second year in a row, 18th-year head coach Kim Mulkey is in consideration for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a player and coach.
She is the only female on the Women's Committee list of 15 as both a player and coach for the Class of 2018.
The only basketball coach to win national championships as a head coach, assistant coach and player, Mulkey has compiled a 517-97 (.843) record at Baylor.
Mulkey is No. 2 nationally among the winningest active Division I coaches and No. 3 all-time in winning percentage, surpassing the late Hall of Fame coach and her mentor Pat Summitt. She also owns the top win total in the Big 12 Conference.
Mulkey, a five-time Big 12 Coach of the Year, has led Baylor to national championships in 2005 and 2012 and a Big 12 Conference record 16 league titles, including the last seven regular season and six of the last seven tournament championships.
The Lady Bears, who have made 16 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, have advanced to the Elite Eight in each of the last four seasons.
In her collegiate career, Mulkey led Louisiana Tech to a 130-6 record, two national titles and four Final Fours from 1980-84. The two-time Academic All-American graduated summa cum laude from Louisiana Tech with a business degree.
The All-American won gold medals with the 1984 U.S. Olympic team and the 1983 Pan American Games team.
Mulkey led Hammond High School to four consecutive state championships, a 136-5 record and finished her career with a then-national record 4,075 points. She earned all-district, all-state and All-America accolades all four years, while also graduating as valedictorian with a perfect 4.0 grade point average.
Mulkey was the lone female named to the Louisiana Sports Writers top 25 athletes of the 20th century and listed by Sports Illustrated as one of the top 50 sports figures of Louisiana in the 20th century.
Mulkey has been inducted to the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame, Baylor Athletics Hall of Fame, Texas Sports Hall of Fame, National High School Hall of Fame, Louisiana High School Hall of Fame, Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Louisiana Tech Athletics Hall of Fame.
She was named consensus National Coach of the Year in 2012 (WBCA, Naismith, Associated Press and USBWA) and USBWA National Coach of the Year in 2011.
Through 12 games, six of nine available Lady Bears have registered at least one double-double.
Junior Kalani Brown leads the way with five double-doubles, and has a tallied 17 in her career.
Sophomore Lauren Cox has recorded four this season, including one against No. 16/14 Stanford (15 points, 15 rebounds), to bring her career total to five.
Senior guard Kristy Wallace posted her second career double-double (15 points, 10 rebounds) against No. 16/14 Stanford.
Sophomore guard Natalie Chou recorded her first career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds against North Dakota on Dec. 5 in just 25 minutes played.
Freshman guard Didi Richards registered the first double-double of her career against McNeese State on Dec. 13 with a career-high 11 points and career-high 12 rebounds in a career-high 25 minutes played.
Sophomore Lauren Cox, a 6-4 forward, and junior Kalani Brown, a 6-7 center, were called `Double Trouble' by Hall of Famer and Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer and analyst LaChina Robinson posed the question, `are they the best 4/5 combination in women's basketball this year?, following Baylor's win over the No. 16/14 Cardinal.
The duo accounts for 38.9 percent of the Lady Bears' offensive output this season, netting 327 of the team's 1,099 points this season.
The pair has also recorded 34.9 percent of Baylor's rebounding efforts, pulling down 207 of the squad's 596 rebounds this year.
Against ranked opponents, Brown averages 24.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game, while shooting 76.9 percent from the floor.
Cox, who missed Baylor's game at No. 8/7 UCLA, averages a double-double (14.0 points, 12.0 rebounds) against two ranked opponents faced this season. She also averages 2.0 blocks and 4.5 assists, while shooting 43.3 percent from the floor against Top 25 foes.
`Double Trouble' is responsible for 42.7 percent of Baylor's scoring and 28.9 percent of Baylor's rebounding efforts against its three ranked opponents.
Cox and Brown were named to Preseason All-Big 12 Honorable Mention and Preseason All-Big 12 teams, respectively. Brown was tabbed Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year.
CLIMBING THE CAREER SCORING LADDER
Junior Kalani Brown surpassed the 1,000-career point mark with 33 points at No. 8/7 UCLA on Saturday, Nov. 18. The Slidell, La., native is the 34th player to score 1,000-plus points for Baylor women's basketball and the first to do so since Khadijiah Cave, who graduated last spring and is playing professionally overseas, on March 4, 2017, in the Big 12 Championship opening round win over Texas Tech.
Through 87 career games, Brown has scored 1,183 points, which ranks 24th all-time at Baylor. She is three points from surpassing Jackie Valentine (1979-82), who ranks 23rd with 1,185 career points.
THE MULKEY FILE
In her 18th season, Kim Mulkey has posted an impressive 517-96 (.843) record which ranks No. 2 nationally in winning percentage among active coaches behind Connecticut's Geno Auriemma (.881).
Kim Mulkey's 36 seasons as a player and coach have resulted in 36 postseason trips, including 35 to NCAA/AIAW Tournaments.
In 599 of 613 games under Mulkey, the Lady Bears have held their opponent at or below 50 percent field goal shooting with only six of those efforts coming in the last 14 years.
Mulkey has accounted for 56.8 percent (517) of the program's 911 all-time victories.
NATIONAL AWARDS RUNDOWN
Junior Kalani Brown is in consideration for three national player of the year awards and the nation's top center award.
The 6-7 center has been named to the 2018 Citizen Player of the Year Watch List (national player of the year), 2018 Wade Trophy Watch List (national player of the year), 2018 John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 30 (national player of the year) and the 2018 Lisa Leslie Award Watch List (nation's top center).
A WBCA All-American and Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American in 2017, Brown was tabbed Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year and named to the Preseason All-Big 12 First Team.
Brown, who leads the nation in field goal percentage (72.6) and is 13th in points per game (21.8) and field goals made (106). She averages just under a double-double, leading Baylor in points per game and field goal percentage, and is second in rebounds per game (8.8).
Sophomore Lauren Cox is in consideration for the 2018 Katrina McClain Award (nation's top power forward), presented by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the WBCA.
Cox, who has recorded four double-doubles, is averaging 15.0 points, a team-high 9.3 rebounds and a team-high 2.6 blocks per contest.
The 2017 Six Man Award recipient and Big 12 All Freshman Team honoree is shooting 52.2 percent from the floor and 25.0 percent from three-point range.
Against Lamar on Nov. 10, junior All-American Kalani Brown recorded the program's first 20-point, 20-rebound performance since March 26, 2013, when WNBA All-Star and Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner registered 33 points and 22 rebounds in the NCAA Tournament Second Round.
Brown accomplished the feat with 26 points (11-16 FG, 4-5 FT) and 21 rebounds (5 offensive, 16 defensive) in 32 minutes played.
HOME SWEET HOME
Baylor has won 65 of its last 66 games played inside the Ferrell Center, including 10 in a row.
Baylor has won 183 consecutive home games vs. non-ranked opponents, dating back to an April 4, 2003, homecourt loss to Auburn in the WNIT finals. BU is 221-4 (.982) in non-league home games under Kim Mulkey.
Before its defeat by No. 11/13 Texas, 85-79, on Feb. 6, 2017, Baylor owned a 54-game home win streak overall dating back to March 2, 2014, when it lost to 11th-ranked West Virginia, 71-70.
A CHALLENGING SLATE
Baylor will face nine programs this season, Central Arkansas, UCLA, Kentucky, Stanford, Kansas State, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia, that made the NCAA Tournament in 2016-17.
All nine were represented in the preseason Top 25 polls, including No. 2/6 Texas, No. 7/8 UCLA, No. 10/9 Stanford, No. 13/15 West Virginia, No. 22/21 Oklahoma, rv/rv Georgia Tech, rv/rv Kansas State, rv/rv Kentucky and rv/nr Oklahoma State.
BIG 12 PRESEASON AWARDS
For the eighth time in program history and the third year in a row, league coaches selected a Baylor women's basketball player Preseason Player of the Year, junior All-American center Kalani Brown.
Brown earned WBCA All-American and Associated Press honorable mention All-American accolades in addition to being named unanimously to the All-Big 12 first team in 2017.
The Slidell, La., native led Baylor in scoring (15.4), rebounding (8.2), shot blocking (2.0) and field goal percentage (.679), despite averaging just 21.4 minutes per game last season.
Sophomore forward Lauren Cox and senior guard Kristy Wallace were named to the Preseason All-Big 12 honorable mention team.
Cox, the reigning Big 12 Sixth Man Award winner, was named to the All-Freshman team after averaging 7.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game last year.
Wallace, who started every game for the Lady Bears last season, led the team in assists (208) and was second in the Big 12 in assists (5.6) and steals (1.3).
The Lady Bears have made 12 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and 16 overall. Those appearances have resulted in two national championships (2005, 2012), three Final Fours (2005, 2010, 2012), eight Elite Eights and 12 Sweet Sixteens.
Baylor has won seven consecutive Big 12 regular season and six of the last seven tournament titles. Overall the program has won eight regular season and eight tournament conference championships, most among all Big 12 programs.
Baylor is 252-21 (.923) over the past eight seasons, 34-3 in 2010-11, 40-0 in 2011-12, 34-2 in 2012-13, 32-5 in 2013-14, 33-4 in 2014-15, 36-2 in 2015-16, 33-4 in 2016-17, and 11-1 in 2017-18.
In that same span, BU is 137-8 (.945) in Big 12 play -- 119-7 (.944) in the regular season and 20-1 in Big 12 Tournament play.
221 of Baylor's 252 wins since 2010-11 have been by 10 or more points, and only 14 times in that span has its winning margin been five or fewer points (most recently three, 70-67, at No. 6/8 Texas, Feb. 20, 2017).
In Baylor's last 414 games, only three opponents (Texas, .516; Stanford, .509; West Virginia, .500) have shot 50 percent or above.
Baylor's current string of holding its opponent to .500 or less from the field is 23 games.
BU's string is 103-straight games holding its foe to .500 or below from the field was halted by No. 11/13 Texas, which shot .516 for a win on Feb. 6, 2017.
In the 2012-13 season, the Cardinal broke BU's 217-game streak of holding an opponent to 50 percent or less shooting from the floor.
MULKEY SIGNS TOP RECRUITING CLASS
The Lady Bear 2018 class, comprised of forward Caitlin Bickle (Cave Creek, Ariz.), forward Aquira DeCosta (Sacramento, Calif.), forward Queen Egbo (Houston, Texas), guard Honesty Scott-Grayson (Brick, N.J.) and forward NaLyssa Smith (Converse, Texas), is ranked No. 1 nationally by ESPN Hoopgurlz and Prospects Nation.
Each player owns a five-star rating and is ranked in the Top 30 overall by ESPN Hoopgurlz, solidifying Baylor's most talented class to date. The only other consensus top-ranked class in program history came in 2008-09, when Brittney Griner (No. 1 by ESPN Hoopgurlz), Mariah Chandler (No. 16), Jordan Madden (No. 58), Shanay Washington (No. 64) and Kimetria Hayden (unranked) signed NLIs.
Baylor meets Iowa State on Wednesday, Jan. 3 at 7 p.m. (CT) inside the Ferrell Center.