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Daily Bears Report 11/29

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Katie Steiger receives her sixth Player of the Week Award, Johnathan Motley gets his second and the Lady Bears sweep all the weekly conference awards. Weekly football press conference.

West Virginia v Baylor
Sic ‘em Bears!
Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Volleyball

The Baylor volleyball team placed three on the All-Big 12 postseason honors, announced Monday afternoon by the conference office. From Baylor Bears dot com.

Baylor tied for a program record, with three total selections, one unanimous first team and two on the second team.

Redshirt junior Katie Staiger was one of seven unanimous first team selections, leading the league in kills, kills/set, points, and points/set. She was among the top-four in the nation in all four categories, additionally leading the conference in offensive player of the week selections and double-doubles.

Staiger’s season was unlike anything seen in the conference in recent history, with the outside hitter breaking the Baylor single-season kills record and finishing the regular season with the second-most kills in a season in conference history.

Juniors Jana Brusek and Camryn Freiberg were both named to the ten-member All-Big 12 second team.

Brusek earned two defensive player of the week honors this season, while finishing third in digs/set and first in total digs.

Brusek’s 552 digs this season sits as the fourth-most digs in a single-season in program history, trailing Elisha Polk by just five for the No. 3 spot.

Freiberg showed immediate impact to help stem the tide of preseason injuries to Baylor’s middles, with the middle blocker finishing second in the conference in total blocks and sixth in blocks/set in her first season with the Bears.

With 139 blocks this season, Freiberg was the first Baylor blocker to eclipse the 100-block mark since Torri Campbell’s 108 in 2011.

Kansas nearly swept the conference postseason honors, with Ray Bechard (Coach of the Year), Kelsie Payne (Player of the Year), Cassie Wait (Libero of the Year), and Ainise Havili (Setter of the Year) all earning recognition. Texas outside hitter Micaya White was the only non-Jayhawk to take home honors, earning Freshman of the Year.

Baylor will begin its postseason run in Los Angeles, facing No. 14 San Diego to kick off the NCAA Tournament on Friday at 7:30 p.m. CT in a single elimination bracket, featuring San Diego, Murray State, and the host-school No. 8 UCLA, picked as the 10-seed. The winner of the weekend rounds will advance to the NCAA Regionals, hosted by the highest remaining seed from the bracket.

Baylor redshirt junior Katie Staiger was named the Big 12 Volleyball Offensive Player of the Week, announced by the conference office on Monday morning. Story from Baylor Bears dot com.

The award for Staiger, a Plano, Texas, native, marked her sixth of the season, extending her Baylor program record for season conference awards and most in a career.

The outside hitter becomes just the second player in conference history to win six weekly awards in the same season, tying Destinee Hooker’s total (Texas, 2009).

Staiger is also just the fifth player in Big 12 history to earn six or more Offensive POTW awards in a career.

Staiger closed the regular season as strong as ever, notching 32 kills in five sets vs. Iowa State and 22 in five vs. No. 4 Kansas.

After previously notching 31 vs. Texas Tech, Staiger becomes just the third player in program history to notch 30+ kills multiple times, the only one to do so in the rally scoring era. She was also the only Big 12 hitter to exceed the 30-kill mark in a match this season.

The Baylor squad improved its program-record ninth weekly honor of the season, including eight from the Big 12, with Staiger earning six conference and one national offensive POTW awards. Additionally, Jana Brusek has earned two Big 12 Defensive POTWs.

For Staiger, it is the sixth conference offensive award of her collegiate career and her seventh Big 12 weekly award overall, after earning Big 12 Rookie of the Week on Sept. 29, 2014.

Her seven career weekly awards snapped Anna Breyfogle’s mark of five for the Baylor record for career honors from the conference.

The Bears earned the program’s first NCAA tournament bid since 2011, set to face San Diego in the Los Angeles regional, hosted by UCLA, with BU’s first match against SD on Friday, Dec. 2, at 7:30 p.m. CT/5:30 p.m. PT.

Lady Bears Basketball

After playing to a 4-0 record and earning the 2016 Gulf Coast Showcase team title, No. 4/6 Baylor swept Big 12 Conference weekly awards. From Baylor Bears dot com.

Senior Alexis Jones earned the second Big 12 Player of the Week recognition of her career (Jan. 19, 2016), while freshman Lauren Cox picked up her first Big 12 Freshman of the Week honor.

Jones, a 2016 WBCA Honorable Mention All-American, averaged 17.8 points, 5.8 assists and 2.5 steals, leading the Lady Bears to four wins, including two against Top 25 programs. She shot 54.3 percent (25-46) from the floor and 60 percent (15-25) from beyond the arc in the four-game stretch.

The Irving, Texas, native, opened the week on a high note with a team-high 24 points against Southeastern Louisiana on Nov. 22, netting 7-of-8 field goal and 6-of-7 three-point field goal attempts. Her six three-pointers signaled a new career-high.

Jones began Gulf Coast Showcase play with 12 points, four assists and four steals against Kent State on Nov. 25, before registering her seventh career double-double against No. 18/17 DePaul with 15 points and a team-high 10 rebounds. She just missed a triple-double, tallying eight assists in the contest.

The 5-9 point guard concluded the week with another strong performance against No. 8/8 Ohio State on Nov. 27. Jones, a Preseason All-Big 12 first team selection, led the Lady Bears to a tournament title with a team-high 30 points, seven assists, five rebounds and two steals.

Cox, the Preseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year selection, averaged 10.8 points and 3.8 rebounds off the bench for Baylor last week. She connected on 59.1 percent (13-22) of her field goal attempts.

Against Southeastern Louisiana on Nov. 22, Cox poured in a career-high 21 points and pulled down a career-high nine rebounds. It was her first time scoring in double figures.

The Flower Mound, Texas, native compiled 15 points and four boards against Kent State on Nov. 25, before adding five points, two blocks and one board in 11 minutes played against No. 18/17 DePaul on Nov. 26. Cox, a 6-4 forward, closed the week with two points, one block and one rebound in seven minutes of action in the Lady Bears’ Gulf Coast Championship win over No. 8/8 Ohio State on Nov. 27.

Baylor is back in action inside the Ferrell Center on Thursday, Dec. 1, against Abilene Christian at 7 p.m. (CT), before traveling for the Big 12/SEC Challenge at Tennessee on Sunday, Dec. 4 at 1 p.m. Sunday’s game will air ESPN2.

Men’s Basketball

Baylor junior forward Johnathan Motley has been voted Phillips 66 Big 12 Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week for the second time in his career, the league office announced Monday. Story from Baylor Bears dot com.

Motley's award extends Baylor's streak to six straight seasons with a Big 12 Player of the Week honoree. He was previously honored on Feb. 20, 2016, after leading BU to a pair of wins over ranked opponents. The Bears have had 17 different players honored 30 total times, and half of those 30 awards have come in the last six seasons.

Motley was named 2016 Battle 4 Atlantis MVP after leading the Bears to the tournament title with wins over VCU, No. 24 Michigan State and No. 10 Louisville. He averaged 20.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 31.0 minutes per game.

The Houston native connected on 22-of-42 field goal attempts (52.4%) and 15-of-18 free throws (83.3%). His 60 points tied for fifth-most in tournament history, and his 22 field goals made tied for second-most in the six-year-old event.

Motley began the tournament with a double-double, posting 19 points, 10 rebounds, one assist and one block in Baylor's win over VCU. He scored 20 first-half points on his way to 26 points, six rebounds and three assists in the win over No. 24 Michigan State. Motley then helped the Bears rally from a 22-point deficit to knock off No. 10 Louisville in the championship game with 15 points, six rebounds, two assists and one block.

BU trailed at halftime in all three games at Atlantis. The Bears fell behind VCU 36-28 at the break, trailed Michigan State 33-30 and faced a 15-point halftime deficit at 39-24 against Louisville. Baylor out-scored all three opponents by at least 16 points in the second halves, with the Bears posting 43, 43 and 42 points, respectively, while limiting VCU to 27 points, Michigan State to 25 points and Louisville 24 points.

Baylor returns to action with a pair of home games this week. The Bears host Sam Houston State at 8 p.m. CT Wednesday on Fox Sports Southwest and host No. 7 Xavier at 2:30 p.m. Saturday on ESPN2.

Football

Player Quotes From Monday’s Press Conference

Patrick Levels, NB

On not giving up…

“We have an option. We can fold, or we can come out fighting, and right now I feel like we’re still swinging. We’re not done yet.”

On the importance of turnovers against West Virginia…

“Right now we need as many possessions as our offense can get, and we need as many stops on defense as we can get. Turnovers will be really big in this game. If we can get them to cough the ball up or can get an interception to get our offense great field position, that would be great.”

On staying focused and making improvements…

“This is still a resilient team, and we don’t let bad things affect us. We just have to keep pushing forward. It’s been frustrating, but each week you just have to come out and find a way to play better than last week.”

On graduating and getting his degree…

“That’s what I came here for. My degree is health kinesiology and leadership studies, and I would love to be a coach or an athletic director somewhere back in Dallas once my career is over.”

Ryan Reid, CB

On protecting the ball and forcing turnovers against West Virginia…

“With the offense, protecting the ball is going to be really important, because they have a great defense. And with us, they have a great offense, and the only way we can give our offense the ball is if we turn it over. So I feel like, on both ends, getting the ball and keeping the ball is going to be very important.”

On what Coach Jim Grobe has done for the program…

“Everything. He’s kept our heads level. He’s tried to push me and the other seniors to keep helping out the team and to stay positive. We just thank him for everything.”

On general sentiment after loss to Texas Tech…

“I came away angry. I gave up my first touchdown of the season, so I was pretty mad about it, but I feel like the defense as a whole was mad about the points we gave up, and how we didn’t execute. It’s very disturbing, but we have to keep moving forward and learn from it.”

On mood in locker room and trying to end season on high note…

“That’s what I keep pushing for. Sometimes I get down on myself and wonder if I’m not saying enough or if I’m saying too much and not letting my actions speak for my teammates. I wouldn’t say it gets harder, but I just try to keep these guys going with a winning mentality.”

On if it’s simplified this week since it’s the last game before bowl game…

“Well, we tried to simplify things last week. I feel like Coach (Phil) Bennett came up with a great game plan for the defense, and we feel like if we keep everything simple with the young guys we have, and we still play hard, we just have to execute everything.”

On if the coaches are still coaching their butts off…

“Yes, they’re still up here at 5:30 or 5:00 every morning. They still have a whole game plan ready for us to go every time we’re meeting. They still have the same attitude. They haven’t changed at all.”

On why it’s tough to play in Morgantown…

“The atmosphere is just crazy. The fans are into the game, and they’re going to try to get in your head every chance they get. It’s cold. The weather is definitely going to play a part. I feel like they really play well off of their fans. Their student section is rocking. They’re hard to beat at home, but Oklahoma did it, so I know we can.”

Jordan Feuerbacher, TE

On mindset going into game against West Virginia…

“As a team we are still hopeful and we are still fighting. We really want to get this win; it would be a big win. We are all still focused and I think we are a really hungry football team right now.”

On improvement in QB Zach Smith…

“He improved a great deal I thought. The kid is tough as anything out there. I mean he took his fair share of shots all day and he got right back up and that’s what you want to see from a quarterback, especially a young quarterback. He’s starting to be a great leader now and I think he’s going to be a great leader for the program for the rest of his time here. I think Baylor, as a school, is lucky to have him.”

On level of effort that the team is giving…

“These five losses have nothing to do with a lack of effort. It’s little things that are completely fixable and I think that’s one of the more frustrating parts about it is we know that we’re giving our all. We just have to play a little smarter and clean things up and we’ll be right back on track.”

Ian McCaw

Former Baylor University Athletic Director Ian McCaw, who resigned after he was suspended following a scathing report about the sexual assault scandal that engulfed the school’s football program has landed a new job as athletic director at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. From KWTX TV.

The university announced Monday that it has hired McCaw to succeed Jeff Barber, who announced on Nov. 17 that he was resigning effective immediately.

Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., describes itself as the nation’s fifth largest university and the world’s largest Christian university with more than 15,000 residential students and more than 94,000 online students.

The university has 16 colleges and schools including a law school, medical school and school of divinity.

The university is a little more than four decades old.

The school was founded after Pastor Jerry Falwell, Sr., challenged his congregation at Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg to establish a Christian school to prepare students to “go out in all walks of life to impact this world for God.”

He was suspended on May 26 after Baylor regents heard the scathing Pepper Hamilton law firm’s report of its review of the sexual assault scandal, and then resigned on May 30.

Ian McCaw "incredibly excited" to be named Athletic Director at Liberty University. From Liberty dot edu.

Ian McCaw has a vision for Liberty University athletics, and he is very eager to see it through.

“My vision for Liberty is to position it as a pre-eminent Christian athletic program in America and garner the same type of appeal among the Christian community as Notre Dame achieves among the Catholic community and BYU garners from the Mormons,” McCaw said.

McCaw comes to Liberty after spending the last 13 years as athletic director at Baylor University. During that time, Baylor captured five national team championships and 58 Big 12 Conference titles. Baylor’s football team reached bowl games in six consecutive years for the first time in school history, winning the 2013 and 2014 Big 12 championships, and the school’s combined record in football and men’s and women’s basketball of 350-84 over the last five years is best in the nation.

Now, he says, he’s ready to oversee big growth at Liberty: “Liberty to me represents a pinnacle of professional and personal opportunity where we’re going to be able to develop champions for Christ, develop a world-class student athlete experience, and achieve victory with integrity. We certainly want Christian student athletes to grow up dreaming of competing for Liberty University.”

Jerry Falwell, President, Liberty University, is confident McCaw’s experience and past success make him an ideal candidate for the job.

“Ian’s success really speaks for itself,” Falwell said. “You look at what Baylor was able to do during his tenure, it fits perfectly with where we see our sports programs going. This is an exciting time for us.”

McCaw agrees, and he’s ready to get to work. One of his top priorities is to move Liberty football to a top-tier division and compete regularly against the elite teams in the nation: “While we’re proud members of the Big South, we want to build this program to compete at the highest level nationally and the goal of FBS football is very much at the forefront.”

Jim Grobe

Baylor acting head coach Jim Grobe says he has no plans to coach after this season. From Yahoo Sports.

The 64-year-old coach said Monday that he told new Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades early in the season that he didn't want to be a candidate to be the full-time coach. Grobe says his mindset has always been to help the Bears get through this season, including their bowl game.

Despite some rocky times, Grobe says he has no regrets about coming out of semi retirement after Baylor suddenly dismissed Art Briles last May after a report alleging that the university mishandled complaints of sexual assault.

The Bears play their regular-season finale Saturday at West Virginia. Baylor has a five-game losing streak since starting 6-0 to get bowl eligible.