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Daily Bears Report 10/6

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Four Lady Bears Garner Pre-Season Big XII Recognition. Volleyball Stays Hot.

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NCAA Womens Basketball: Grambling State at Baylor
Nina, use the force.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s Events

Softball, vs Temple College (Fall), 5:00 PM

Men's Tennis, vs ITA All-American Championships, All Day

Track & Field

Baylor track and field head coach Todd Harbour released his squad’s 2017 schedule Wednesday, which features six indoor meets and a total of nine outdoor competitions. From Baylor Bears dot com. Web Schedule | PDF Schedule

BU will open the indoor season with the first of three trips to College Station, Texas, for the Texas A&M Team Invitational on Jan. 13-14. That meet is followed by a trek north to Lexington, Ky., for the Rod McCravy Memorial, Jan. 20-21.

The Bears will be off the last weekend in January, before heading back to College Station for the Texas A&M Charlie Thomas Invitational on Feb. 3-4. The next weekend, Baylor will be in Fayetteville, Ark., for the Tyson Invitational, Feb. 10-11, in the final meet before postseason action.

The Big 12 Indoor Championship will be held on Feb. 24-25 in Ames, Iowa. Postseason action will continue for qualified athletes at the NCAA Indoor Championship in College, Texas, March 10-11.

Baylor's outdoor schedule opens with four-straight weeks of competition in Texas, starting with the TCU Invitational in Fort Worth, Texas, March 16-17. The Bears will then head south for the second-straight year to the Ricardo Romo Invitational in San Antonio, Texas, March 23-25. The next weekend, BU will be in Austin for the first of two meets in the state's capital as the Bears participate in the Texas Relays, March 29-April 1.

Baylor opens year three at Clyde Hart Track and Field Stadium by hosting the Baylor Invitational on April 8. Two weeks later, Baylor again will welcome some of the nation’s top teams to Waco for the annual Michael Johnson Invitational on April 22.

For the final regular season meet of the year, BU competes at the Texas Tech Invitational on April 29 in Lubbock, Texas. The Bears will have a week off, before heading to Lawrence, Kan., for the Big 12 Outdoor Championship, May 12-14.

The 2017 slate wraps up with NCAA competition beginning with the NCAA West Preliminary Championships, May 25-27, in Lawrence, Kan. The NCAA Outdoor Championship will be held June 7-10 in Eugene, Ore.

Baylor Lady Bears

NCAA Womens Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Dallas Regional-Florida State vs Baylor Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

WacoTrib’s Brice Cherry say’s last years Elite Eight loss has left a sour taste for the Lady Bears.

It was something between a wince and a smirk.

When asked how long it took her to get over Baylor’s loss to Oregon State in the Elite Eight, Nina Davis cocked her head to the side and revealed an expression of both pain and bemusement.

“When you say get over it ...” Davis said, politely.

“Are you even over it yet?” the reporter rephrased.

“I guess that’s a better question. No. I’m not over it yet,” Davis said. “My teammates aren’t over it, Coach (Kim Mulkey) isn’t over it. It’s something that is still in the back of our heads, just knowing that every year I’ve been here we’ve gotten so close just to lose by three. Just to be devastated again.

“But it’s a new year, a new team, and we have new faces. You sort of have to put that in the back of your memory, but you have to keep it close enough where you can use it as motivation to help us finally crack that and get past the Elite Eight.”

The Big 12 Conference announced preseason player, newcomer, and freshman of the year honors for the 2016-17 women's basketball season in addition to its Preseason All-Big 12 Team Wednesday afternoon. From Baylor Bears dot com.

For the second-straight season, senior Nina Davis was selected as the conference's Preseason Player of the Year. It is the seventh time a Baylor player has been named Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year (Nina Davis -- 2015-16, 2016-17; Odyssey Sims - 2013-14; Brittney Griner - 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13; Sophia Young - 2005-06).

Freshman Lauren Cox, who is rated No. 1 in her class by ESPN Hoopgurlz and All Star Girls Report (ASGR), was tabbed Preseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year. Along with Davis, senior Alexis Jones received Preseason All-Big 12 Team distinction. Sophomore Kalani Brown was also an Honorable Mention Big 12 selection.

Davis, a three-time All-Big 12 First Team selection and 2015 Big 12 Player of the Year, netted a team-best 16.3 points per game and was one of two to lead the Lady Bears in rebounding, averaging 6.1 boards per contest last season. The two-time All-American has been on three-straight Big 12 All-Tournament Teams and named Most Outstanding Player twice. Davis, who started all 38 games last year, has guided the Lady Bears to Big 12 regular season and tournament titles in three consecutive seasons.

Cox joins the Lady Bears following a successful prep career at Flower Mound High School, where she averaged 21.8 points and 12.7 rebounds per game and led the squad to a 23-7 record and the playoffs as a senior. She was named the 2016 Women's Basketball Coaches Association High School Player of the Year and lauded a first team Naismith and McDonald's All-American. Cox is also a two-time Texas Gatorade Player of the Year and USA Today's Texas Player of the Year. The Flower Mound, Texas, native won four gold medals with USA Basketball, earning Most Valuable Player recognition for the Red, White and Blue in the summer of 2016.

Jones had an impact in her first season at Baylor, earning Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, All-Big 12 First Team, and Big 12 Championship Most Outstanding Player accolades last year. Starting 34-of-38 games for the Lady Bears, she registered 30 double-digit scoring performances and averaged 15 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. The Irving, Texas, native continued to impress in the postseason, collecting NCAA Dallas Regional All-Tournament Team recognition.

With Davis and Jones's selection to the Preseason All-Big 12 Team, Baylor has had five duos honored, including Sheila Lambert and Danielle Crockrom (2001-02), Brittney Griner and Melissa Jones (2011-12, 2012-13), Brittney Griner and Odyssey Sims (2011-12, 2012-13), Davis and Niya Johnson (2014-15), and Davis and Jones (2016-17).

Brown appeared in all 38 games as a center last season and scored in double figures 19 times en route to Big 12 All-Freshman Team accolades. The Slidelle, Louisiana, native averaged 9.3 points and 4.3 rebounds in 14.4 minutes off the bench for the Lady Bears.

Volleyball

BearsExtra says Bears’ Volleyball stays hot with sweep of TCU.

The win was the third over a top-20 RPI opponent in the last four weeks.Since Sept. 17, the Bears (15-5, 3-1 Big 12) have topped Washington State (No. 9), Kansas State (No. 16) and TCU (No. 20).

Baylor volleyball (15-5, 3-1 Big 12) swept conference foe TCU (10-5, 3-2 Big 12), 25-19, 25-20, 25-19, Wednesday night at the Ferrell Center. From Baylor Bears Dot com.

The win was the third over a top-20 RPI opponent in the last four weeks.

Since Sept. 17, the Bears have topped Washington State (No. 9), Kansas State (No. 16) and TCU (No. 20).

The three-set sweep was also the first over the Frogs since Nov. 14, 2012 and first win over TCU for head coach Ryan McGuyre in his second season.

In the opening frame, the Bears jumped out to an 11-8 lead after junior Camryn Freiberg and sophomore Ashley Fritcher combined for one of five BU blocks in the first set. BU limited TCU to a .086 attack effort for the 25-19 victory.

The Bears and Horned Frogs traded points to open the second set, then BU rolled out a 13-9 lead to force a TCU timeout. Redshirt junior Katie Staiger added 10 kills to help Baylor earn the 25-20 second-set win.

An ace by senior Morgan Reed opened up a 21-15 advantage, allowing BU to run away with the 25-19 win and 3-0 sweep.

"TCU is a very, very good team and they're well-coached. They're not a team that's going to just roll over. Deep down you always want to just win all the matches, however the wins come. Our focus is just that we're going to play hard and let the outcomes take care of themselves. Washington State was a grind and we know every set we play is going to be a grind, win or lose. We just want to make sure we're grinding it out every time. Fortunate and glad we got it done in three." --Baylor head coach Ryan McGuyre.

Football

Baylor Offense vs. Iowa State in just 13 minutes.

AP Sportswriter Jim Vertuno says the Big XII is a league with virtually no defense. WacoTrib has the complete story.

The worst job in football? Big 12 defensive coordinator.

Eight of the league's 10 teams rank No. 77 or lower nationally in total defense as the yards and points come in bunches. Six rank No. 67 or lower in scoring allowed. Four of those — Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas Tech and Texas — all surrender more than 35 points or more per game.

And it could get worse.

Most of those ugly stats were built against non-conference opponents. The league's high-powered offenses are just getting warmed up as only Baylor and Oklahoma State have played more than one conference game.

The outlier in all those missed tackles and wide open scoring passes is Kansas State, which ranks No. 4 in total defense but struggles to score. If the Wildcats can just figure out how to punch in a few touchdowns, they could run away with the league.

Defense in the Big XII? Surely not! But that’s what ProFootballFocus says has Baylor undefeated and leading the Big XII.

The Baylor Bears have jumped out to a 5-0 start, and despite some issues here and there, they look like the best team in the Big 12. Let’s take a look at how they got here and what they need to do to keep it going.

This is no joke. It’s almost shocking to discuss defense in the Big 12 as a reason for success but yet here we are. The Bears defense has been carrying the load for this team while the offense works to get back to the level of years past, and they are the biggest reason this team is unbeaten.

Looking at the stats on the surface, the 946 rushing yards allowed by Baylor in their five games seems like a lot. But the thing that Baylor has been doing best is limiting the big plays. They’ve seen 222 rushing attempts against them, and have allowed just nine of those runs to go for more than 15 yards. A big reason for that is the strong play of Baylor’s outside defenders. The easiest way to prevent big plays is to not let runners get to the edge, and Baylor has done that with players like Travon Blanchard and Patrick Levels. Both players are listed as nickelbacks on the Baylor defense, but they play all over the field. They’ve been the ultimate weapon for Baylor — guys who are big enough to make stops on the edge of the defense, but quick enough to drop into coverage as well. Blanchard ranks third among all secondary players in the country with an 8.4 run stop percentage and Levels isn’t far behind at 5.3 percent.

Trib sports guys Brice Cherry, John Werner and Brian Crownover return as the undefeated Bears take a Big 12 breather: One True Podcast: Oct. 5, 2016

Title IX

Baylor University officials are asking a judge to order six sexual assault victims identified in their lawsuit as Jane Doe to file separate lawsuits, saying their circumstances differed greatly. Full story at WacoTrib.

In a motion filed in Waco’s U.S. District Court, Houston attorney Lisa Brown, who represents Baylor, asks Judge Robert Pitman to sever the claims of the six plaintiffs who have filed a Title IX lawsuit against Baylor.

Two more women asked to join the lawsuit this week, but Baylor is opposing their addition to the suit, and Pitman has not ruled on whether they can be added.

Baylor University Interim President David E. Garland has appointed a new Title IX Coordinator. This comes less than 48 hours after former Title IX Coordinator Patty Crawford resigned. From KCEN TV 6.

Kristan Tucker will now be Baylor’s Title IX Coordinator, effective immediately.

According to a press release Ms. Tucker served as Senior Deputy Title IX Coordinator. In that role, Tucker helped direct the functions of the Title IX Office, as well as trained faculty, staff and students on Baylor’s Title IX policy and processes.

“Kristan Tucker is a capable and experienced Title IX professional, and I have full confidence in her ability to lead our Title IX Office,” Garland said. “Kristan has been an integral part of our efforts to build a strong and responsive Title IX Office, and she serves, alongside her staff members, on implementation teams focused on the recommendations from Pepper Hamilton. We have made rapid progress on these recommendations, which have improved the University’s processes and systems to ensure we respond effectively and compassionately when students report incidents of sexual violence and seek our help. We are resolutely committed to continuing our support for Kristan and her team in serving and caring for our students.”

Going forward, Tucker said the priority for the Title IX Office is educating and serving the Baylor community.

“The Title IX Office’s focus is on our students and the entire Baylor community, ensuring that we provide the resources, support and assistance they need. It is vital that our systems support a fair and equitable Title IX process,” Tucker said. “Although I may serve as the Title IX Coordinator, this is truly a team effort. We are a unified team, committed to the common goal of addressing the important issues of gender discrimination and interpersonal violence impacting the Baylor community. We remain committed to making progress and working with integrity to show leadership through our efforts.”

Prior to joining Baylor, Tucker served as the Lead Title IX Investigator for East Carolina University where her primary role included oversight of the student Title IX processes and training for students, faculty and staff in order to increase university compliance. Additionally, she gained experience as Senior Equity Compliance Officer within the University of Tennessee system, where she focused on faculty and staff discrimination issues. Tucker holds a Juris Doctorate, a master’s degree in Communication Studies, as well as a bachelor’s degree in Speech Communication.

Former Baylor University offensive lineman Rami Hammad was arrested on campus Wednesday afternoon on two counts of criminal trespassing. From WacoTrib.

(This arrest comes) about two months after he was arrested on a stalking charge and suspended from the university. Hammad, 21, was arrested and booked into McLennan County Jail shortly before 7 p.m. on two misdemeanor counts of criminal trespassing of a building, jail administrators said.

Hammad was arrested on one charge of criminal trespassing, and a second criminal trespassing charge was added to his arrest Wednesday evening. Details behind the arrest were not available Wednesday night.