- Women's Basketball, vs Ohio State, 6:30 PM, Listen, Watch Authorized YouTube Live Stream
- Volleyball, vs. NCAA Tournament Selection Show, 8 p.m. CT on ESPNU
- Fourth-ranked Kansas entered Saturday afternoon's regular-season finale against Baylor at the Ferrell Center playing with house money. Story by Baylor Bear Foundation’s Larry Little.
The Jayhawks already owned at least a tie for the Big 12 Conference title, but a win would give KU the outright league championship.
After Kansas (26-2, 15-1) flexed its muscle in the first two sets, Baylor (21-11, 9-7) made KU earn the outright crown. The Jayhawks used a 6-1 run to erase an early fifth-set deficit en route to their 13th consecutive win and eighth straight against the Bears (25-20, 25-15, 16-25, 22-25, 15-9).
"We didn't roll over," Baylor head coach Ryan McGuyre said. "We kept fighting, kept chipping away. I was discouraged by the number of hitting errors we had early in the match, not playing as cleanly as we can. But (setter) Morgan (Reed) did a good job getting us back into a rhythm offensively."
Kansas and Baylor entered the match as the two best teams in the conference, respectively, in opponents' hitting percentage. The Jayhawks proved that in the first two sets, holding the Bears to eight kills against eight errors in the opener and eight kills against nine errors in the second.
Katie Staiger led all players with 22 kills, eclipsing the 20-kill plateau for the 17th time this season and the fourth consecutive match. However, Kansas forced her into six attack errors with only eight kills in the first two sets.
"Kansas makes the lines really tight, and they're big," McGuyre said. "Katie has really improved and is playing so much more intelligent whether there's a big wall or not, moving her shots around. Sometimes, we have to remind her to just hit the snot out of it and blast the ball."
Staiger turned up her offensive efficiency in the third set, and her teammates followed suit. Baylor hit .355 (13 kills, 2 errors, 31 attempts) in the third set. Neither team led by more than two points until the Bears broke out of a 15-15 tie with a four-point run and 10 of the set's final 11 points.
The fourth set was another back-and-forth affair until a six-point Baylor run erased a three-point deficit and gave the Bears set point at 24-21. Kansas staved off one set point, but a Staiger kill sent the match to a fifth frame. Camryn Freiberg had three blocks in the six-point run, twice joining with Staiger, who tallied 14 kills against only four errors over the match's final three games.
However, Kansas recaptured its offensive spark in the fifth, registering kills on 12 of its 15 points in the set. Kelsie Payne had nine kills in the match's final nine points, including three straight as part of a 4-0 Kansas run midway through the fifth.
Staiger collected 14 digs for her 18th double-double of the season; she also contributed six blocks. Ashley Fritcher had 11 kills and four blocks, while Aniah Philo had nine kills and 14 digs. Freiberg struggled offensively, but she led the Bears with eight blocks and two service aces. Reed had 47 assists and 15 digs, while Jana Brusek posted a team-best 18 digs. Nicole Thomas finished with six kills and three blocks.
Four Jayhawks reached double figures in kills, led by Payne's 19; she also had 10 digs. Madison Rigdon also had a double-double with 11 kills and 13 digs.
Kansas, which reached the Final Four last season, ended Texas' five-year run as Big 12 champions and took a 23-22 edge in the all-time series against Baylor.
The Bears now turn their attention to Sunday's NCAA Tournament Selection Show, which airs at 8 p.m. CT on ESPNU. McGuyre said he is confident the Bears will receive their first NCAA Tournament bid since 2011.
"It would be a disappointing not to hear our name called," he said. "I've been on committees before, and it's always a tough process. I've been on the other end; if I'm still at Florida State, I don't want to play Baylor. We're a team that other teams don't want to see in the first round. That means we're competitive and playing hard. We know how to win, and we have some great wins on our résumé.
- The loss concludes a remarkable regular season, giving the Bears its best Big 12 finish since the 2009 season (.563). From Baylor Bears dot com.
The Bears finished the 2016 Big 12 double round-robin schedule with a 9-7 record (.563), the first time a Baylor team finished with a .500 or better conference performance since 2009 (.550), and just the third time in program history.
Morgan Reed finished with 47 assists and 15 digs for her 9th season double-double on Senior Day.
Baylor took Kansas to a fifth set for the first time since Oct. 6, 2012. BU lost 15-11 in the fifth set in Lawrence, Kan.
STAT OF THE DAY
.563 - the Big 12 win percentage by the 2016 squad, notching the best conference performance since the 2009 season.
"Morgan Reed did a great job of getting us back into a rhythm offensively. As we got better on offense, we started slowing them down. Katie Staiger's really improved and is playing much more intelligent. Big wall or not, she moved the shots around." -head coach Ryan McGuyre
"I'm just thankful for all the challenges and heartaches and disappointments in life. I'm thankful to be a Baylor Bear and to be a coach to these ladies. They're always going to inspire and encourage me. I've seen miracles happen, but it's fun when you get to live and be a part of what's unique and special. To lose all these starters and be in this position - if this would have happened to us last year, then we would have been devastated, we probably would not have won a match at all. That shows the character and resiliency of these ladies, and it makes the foundation for Baylor volleyball. When these things happen, then we can get better from it." -McGuyre on wrapping up two regular seasons at Baylor
Saturday's match closes out the 2016 regular season. Baylor looks for its first postseason berth since 2011 as the 2016 NCAA Women's Volleyball Selection Show starts Sunday, Nov. 27 at 8 p.m. CT on ESPNU.
Lady Bears Basketball
- The Baylor women’s basketball team continued its early-season onslaught on the scoreboard, cracking 100 points for the fourth time this year in a 104-72 win over No. 18 DePaul on Saturday in the semifinals of the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Fla. From BearsExtra.
Alexis Prince led No. 5 Baylor with 19 points and eight rebounds, while Kristy Wallace dished out 15 assists and grabbed eight rebounds.
Baylor (6-1) will face No. 8 Ohio State in the championship game on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. The Buckeyes defeated No. 11 Syracuse 77-72 in the other semifinal.
“In the second half, we buckled down on defense and our offense was pretty good,” Prince said. “We had the ball moving, and everybody touched it. Kristy was awesome moving the ball.”
Baylor led 37-26 at halftime and blew the game open in the second half, outscoring DePaul (4-1) 39-17 in the third quarter alone.
“I was extremely proud of Alexis Prince,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “I thought she guarded well, and used her length and height really well. Dekeiya Cohen also came in and gave us valuable minutes when I needed to rest Prince.”
OBF’s observations: Shortly after the start of the 3rd quarter, Coach Kim Mulkey put in Nina Davis who sat on the bench for the most of the 1st half. Baylor scored more points in the third quarter than they did in the entire first half. Once the spark had been given and the game blown wide open, Coach Mulkey sat Nina Davis back down on the bench with minutes still left in the 3rd. Coach Mulkey would continue to rotate Davis back into the game whenever the lead dropped much below 30 and when she recovered the cushion, she would take her back out again. Coach Mulkey regularly shuttled in and out players throughout the game but it was Davis on the floor that was the trans-warp drive difference maker.
- Baylor had 37 points at halftime. The Lady Bears topped that in the third quarter alone. From Baylor Bears dot com.
And a trip to the championship game of the Gulf Coast Showcase is their reward today at 6:30 p.m. CT. when they take on No. 8 Ohio State.
Alexis Prince scored 19 points and No. 5 Baylor used a huge third-quarter run to ease past No. 18 DePaul 104-72 on Saturday in the tournament semifinals. Nina Davis scored 16 points and Kristy Wallace handed out 15 assists for the Lady Bears (6-1), who will play in the tournament championship game on Sunday night.
"Kristy was awesome today," Prince said. "Running the point and on defense also. That's what it's going to take."
Alexis Jones had 15 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for Baylor, which outscored DePaul 39-17 in the third to turn what was an 11-point game at halftime into a rout. Beatrice Mompremieradded 14 points for Baylor.
"Once the second half came, we were ready to put it to them," Prince said.
Jacqui Grant scored 18 points for DePaul (4-1), which got 11 from Ashton Millender. The Blue Demons were 15 of 41 from 3-point range, getting the majority of their points from outside the arc. From 2-point range, DePaul was 10 for 29.
"I don't like giving up 72 points and I sure don't like giving up 15 3's," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said.
Baylor shot 60 percent and held a massive 55-24 edge in rebounding. The Lady Bears started the second half 21 for 26 from the floor, never missing consecutive shots after halftime until midway through the fourth quarter.
DePaul: The Blue Demons had four different stretches where they missed at least five consecutive shots. ... No DePaul player had more than three rebounds. Baylor had seven with at least that many.
Baylor: The Lady Bears started 2 for 10 from the field, and then made 40 of their final 60 shots. "It was a little up and down game. I give a lot of credit to DePaul for playing that style of play. They had us on our heels in the beginning," Prince said. ... Baylor outscored DePaul 64-16 in the paint and held a 35-24 edge in bench scoring.
This is the second time Baylor and DePaul played, the only other meeting coming last season. The Lady Bears won 86-72 at home on Nov. 22, 2015.
DEFENDING THE 3
DePaul's affinity for the 3-pointer tested Baylor -- both the guards and the bigs. And Mulkey lauded the way her post players were able at times to extend out to the 3-point line defensively. "That's difficult when you're a big," Mulkey said.
WacoTrib’s Brice Cherry calls the Baylor football assistant coaches on the carpet. For the full story and remaining four questions visit BearsExtra at this link.
Considering their season-long silence, it’s about dadgummed time that Baylor’s assistant coaches stepped up to the mike and answered some questions.
Baylor opted to muzzle its coaches from the media before the season ever started. The administration knew that those coaches would face a steady peppering of questions regarding the rampant sexual assault charges and allegations that poisoned the football program, and rightfully so. Not a one of those coaches has ever faced a single interview about the scandal.
But following Texas Tech’s 54-35 Black Friday bloodletting of Baylor, I’ve got a few questions that I’d love to ask the BU coaching staff. And they’re all football-related, to boot.
Since those guys have been permitted to hide out and duck any responsibility, I’ll just empty my notebook and pose my inquiries here in Newspaper Land.
Question 1 — At what point did you guys punch the time clock and check out on this season?
Was it before the Texas game or after? Lord knows that your 11th-hour, premeditated Twitter-fest on the eve of the TCU game served as nothing but a distraction for the team. You undermined your players’ gameday focus, and the byproduct was a 62-22 home loss to an average TCU team.
Do you feel any responsibility for that loss, or the downward spiraling flush that followed? If not, why not?
Which brings me to ...
WacoTrib’s John Werner says Baylor needs to act quickly in search for new coach. Read the full story at BearsExtra.
Texas moved remarkably fast when Houston’s Tom Herman was hired to replace fired Longhorns coach Charlie Strong on Saturday.Baylor needs to take a cue and move at lightning speed.
Considering Baylor’s current issues, landing a coach that quickly might not be as easy for athletic director Mack Rhoades. The program has been tarnished by the sexual assault scandal and the Bears will only have about 50 of the maximum 85 scholarship players on board after this year’s senior class leaves.
But the sooner, the better.