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Daily Bears Report 10/19

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NCAA says Lady Bears vs. UConn will be the game to watch this year.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Southern Miss at Baylor
Kristy Wallace
Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s Events

Volleyball

  • Baylor volleyball (16-6, 4-2) opens up the final week of the first half of Big 12 play, facing the Iowa State Cyclones (10-8, 2-4), this evening at 6 p.m. in Hilton Coliseum. From Baylor Bears dot com.

Coming off a win over West Virginia in Morgantown, the Bears can pick up the fifth Big 12 win this season, matching last season’s year-end conference total.

Iowa State holds a narrow advantage in the all-time series, leading 23-19 overall, including a 12-8 mark in Ames.

The Wednesday match is the second of BU’s two nationally televised matches, airing on ESPNU with Sam Gore and Laura Bush providing on-air talent.

For this and all other Baylor road matches, fans can tune into the live internet radio broadcast on BaylorBears.com/allaccess.

Kennedy Dendy and the Golden Wave Marching Band

Baylor Athletics Update

Cross Country

  • With another solid performance at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational, the Baylor women's cross country team moved up nine spots to No. 12 in the week five edition of the National Coaches Poll released Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). From Baylor Bears dot com.

The ranking is BU's highest since being ranked No. 12 in both week two and three of the 2009 season.

The Lady Bears were among teams receiving votes for the first three polls of 2016, before debuting at No. 21 two weeks ago. On Monday, Baylor also moved up to No. 2 in the USTFCCCA's South Central region rankings, which is its highest ranking since also being No. 2 in the fifth week of the 2015 season.

Over the weekend, Baylor placed fifth in a field of 31 teams at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational. BU beat seven teams that were at the time ranked ahead of it in the USTFCCCA coaches rankings, including No. 6 Michigan State, No. 10 Boise State, No. 15 BYU, No. 17 Yale, No. 18 Georgetown, No. 19 San Francisco and No. 20 Syracuse.

On the season, the Lady Bears boast a 59-12 record and a 17-8 mark against ranked teams. There are only seven teams in the country with a better win percentage against ranked foes than Baylor.

BU is the now the highest ranked Big 12 team, ahead of Iowa State (No. 15) and Oklahoma State (No. 18).

Women’s Golf

  • Baylor women’s golf finished in fourth place at the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational after shooting 2-under-par 286 in Tuesday’s final round at University of Texas Golf Club. The Bears shot 13-over 877 over the 54-hole tournament. KXXV has the story, stat and highlights.

Kent State (-2) won the tournament, followed by Miami (-1) and Texas (+2). The Bears (+13) recorded wins over Texas Tech (+17), SMU (+21), UNLV (+22), Minnesota (+33), Texas State (+36), Notre Dame (+36), Tulane (+41), Tulsa (+46), New Mexico (+56) and North Florida (+61).

BU improved its team score in each of the three rounds. The Bears shot 11-over 299 in Monday’s first round, then improved by seven strokes to 4-over 291 in the second round later in the day. Tuesday’s final round with another six-stroke improvement at 2-under 286.

Junior Amy Lee finished tied for sixth place at 3-under 213 following a final round of 5-under 67. Freshman Evelyn Arguelles shot 3-under 69 in the final round to finished tied for 10th place at 1-over 217. Sophomore Maria Vesga carded a final-round 1-over 73 to tie for 17th place at 4-over 220. Sophomore Dylan Kim and senior Maggie Beth Byers both shot 5-over 77 in the final round, with Kim finishing tied for 35th at 10-over 226 and Byers tied for 46th at 12-over 228.

“It’s nice to end an event on a high note, and I’m proud of how the team fought back today and posted our best score of the tournament,” head coach Jay Goble said. “Amy Lee is improving all the time, and I’m very proud of her this week. Evelyn Arguelles is really doing great for her first semester at Baylor. I love her tenacity and her desire to fight for every shot on the course.”

Soccer

  • Baylor soccer earned a No. 24 ranking in this week’s National Soccer Coaches Association of America top 25 poll that was released Tuesday. From Baylor Bears dot com.

The Bears (11-4-1, 4-1-1) have won three straight matches and are coming off a 2-1 win last Friday at home over TCU to give BU 11 wins for the fifth time in the last seven seasons and first time since 2013 (11-6-3). The last time Baylor was in the NSCAA poll was a run from Aug. 23-Oct. 4, 2013, when BU was as high as No. 9 and as low as No. 20.

Baylor’s win over TCU last Friday gave the Bears their first three-game winning streak in Big 12 play since Oct. 25-Nov. 6, 2013 and put BU at the four-win plateau in league play for the second straight season and fifth time in the last seven seasons.

Undefeated in 24 of their last 30 matches, the Bears finish Big 12 regular season play at home this weekend with matches on Friday at 7 p.m. CT vs. Iowa State and Sunday at 1 p.m. vs. Kansas.

Lady Bears

College basketball season is just weeks away, and as the air turns colder and leaves begin to fall, you may be wondering what 2016-17 has in store.

While much can, and is likely to, change as the season moves on, there are certain matchups on the women’s college basketball docket that look to spark some interest at the start of the season.

After dominating on the court last year, this looks to be one of the Huskies’ tougher games early on this season. While Baylor returns a handful of starters, 10 experienced players return to take the court in November alongside three solid newcomers.

UConn, on the other hand, lost a number of its leaders at the end of last year, and while five talented new women look to produce plenty for the team, the Huskies will look to players like Gabby Williams to pick up the slack early in the season.

RELATED: UConn faced with number of questions

Because of this, the Bears may be able to best the reigning champions in this early season matchup. However, it will likely be a tough-fought game for both teams and looks to be one of the more interesting to watch in the first month.

  • Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw believes parity might finally hit women's basketball after seeing Connecticut win an unprecedented fourth consecutive title last season. From NCAA dot com.

"I think we'll have a year where maybe we'll see a different No. 1 every other week like the men had last year, which I thought was really exciting — unless we're the ones that are not No. 1," she joked Monday.

The Fighting Irish, like Baylor, Tennessee, Stanford and several other teams, have most of their best players returning. The Huskies lost three-time AP Player of the Year Breanna Stewart, Morgan Tuck and Moriah Jefferson.

McGraw said she's hoping there is parity.

"I think it's going to be great for the game," she said. "This was the year nobody lost a lot of talent except for Connecticut. So I think that really evens things out."

BrilesBall

Art Briles, the 60-year-old architect of an improbable football rise at Baylor, has spent the 2016 season in exile. Baylor relieved Briles of his coaching duties on May 26 after Pepper Hamilton, a law firm hired by the school to investigate the program, found that "Baylor failed to take appropriate action to respond to reports of sexual assault and dating violence reportedly committed by football players. The choices made by football staff and athletics leadership, in some instances, posed a risk to campus safety and the integrity of the university." (Athletic director Ian McCaw was put on probation and later resigned, and university president Ken Starr was demoted to chancellor and also later resigned.)

While Briles has been removed from the scene, the instrument of his success, the Baylor offense, is more visible than ever. The system he devised as a coach at Stephenville (Texas) High and at the University of Houston calls for splitting the receivers as wide as possible and running at hyper­ tempo, a devastating combination of spread and speed that leaves defenses and fans gasping. In each of Briles's last five years at Baylor, the Bears finished in the top five in the country in scoring. They won two Big 12 titles and emerged as a national title contender at a place that had long been a football backwater. "It's literally unstoppable if you have the right pieces," says Bowling Green coach Mike Jinks, who faced the offense as an assistant at Texas Tech.

Yet for all the yards gained and points scored, the Baylor system had not spread far beyond Waco. That was intentional. Briles had made secrecy a priority. There's no written playbook: Players learn from video and during practice. Briles won't talk publicly about the offense's intricacies, and unlike most of his peers, he rarely appears at off­-season coaching clinics. Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville calls the system "very, very simple," but even in a copycat business, few have been able to mimic Briles's success.

Rock Chalk Talk

Progress? What progress?

A week after nearly knocking off TCU, Kansas went to Waco and just took a beating.

Even the defensive stats in this game have to be taken with a grain of salt, as Baylor basically didn’t try in the second half. Baylor had 284 of their 453 or 63% of their yards in the first half.

So yes, KU held Baylor under their season average of yards. Kansas forced three field goal attempts. Kansas held Baylor to only 21 points off of its 5(!!!) turnovers. Baylor converted just 7 of 17 third down attempts.

Seth Russell only completed 9-22 passes (41%) for 144 yards. That is a bit deceiving, as he missed several open receivers in the Kansas secondary. Baylor still averaged 5.0 yards per rush and 6.9 yards per pass attempt.