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Daily Bears Report 12/15

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Brian Nance sighting. Lady Bears Basketball wraps up non-conference play today. Football getting ready for Cactus Bowl. Will Zach Smith stay? Man Bears Basketball goes 9-0.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Baylor at Tennessee
Two Time All American Nina Davis
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s Events

Women's Basketball, vs Winthrop, 12:00 Noon CT, Watch, Listen

Brian Nance Sighting ?!

Volleyball’s Katie Staiger

Baylor junior Katie Staiger became the first player in program history to make the America Volleyball Coaches Association All-America Team on Wednesday. From BearsExtra.

Staiger was honored as a second-team choice after leading the Big 12 in kills, kills per set, points and points per set, while also ranking in the top four nationally in all four categories. Staiger led the nation in total attacks with 1,773.

The only other Baylor players to gain recognition from the AVCA were setter Taylor Barnes and middle blocker Anna Breyfogle, who both were honorable mention choices in 2009.

Staiger’s 698 kills this year set a Baylor single-season record. She helped the Bears to a 22-12 record and the first NCAA tournament appearance since 2012. Baylor upset 14th-seeded San Diego in the first round before falling to 10th-seeded UCLA in the second.

The All-America honors will be presented at a Friday banquet in Columbus, Ohio.

Lady Bears Basketball

The unique thing isn’t that the Baylor women’s basketball team is about to get a break for Christmas – it’s something 17th year coach Kim Mulkey has always put a premium on, and promises her players as much when she’s recruiting them. Complete Story By WacoTrib’s Tony Adame is at BearsExtra.

What is unique, however, is that after No. 3 Baylor (10-1) plays Winthrop (1-8) on Thursday afternoon at the Ferrell Center – their 12th game of the season – that the Lady Bears will scatter across the country for a whopping 12 days of free time before they return on Dec. 26.

In big-time college basketball, that amount of time off is almost unheard of. Even over the holidays. Baylor opens Big 12 play at home against Kansas State on Dec. 29.

“I’m worried, somewhat, because 12 days is a long time, and we open up (Big 12 play) with Kansas State and they’re darn good,” Mulkey said. “I don’t necessarily like to have that many days off, but I think it’s important for them to be with their families. The 12 days, it just fell that way because we played games earlier in the non-conference season.”

So, in honor of the 12-day break, the 12th game, Big 12 play coming up and, of course, the 12 days of Christmas, here’s a half-dozen things we think we know about the Lady Bears as non-conference play wraps up: Continue Reading Click Here.

DBR Update: Lady Bears Rout Winthrop 140-32 in NCAA’s D1 biggest rout.

Man Bears Basketball

With its work in the classroom finished for the semester, No. 4 Baylor was ready to focus on basketball Wednesday night. From The Advocate.

The Bears had taken an 11-day break for final exams, but they didn’t show any rust with five players scoring in double figures, led by Johnathan Motley’s 20 points and 10 rebounds, in an 89-59 victory over Southern.

“Coming off finals, you’re always worried, Is the team going to be focused? Are they going to have their legs? Are they going to come out and not be ready to go?” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “And we got out to a great start and got separation early. And then, did a good job of maintaining that.”

The Bears (9-0) hadn’t played since a 76-61 win over then-No. 7 Xavier on Dec. 3, but opened on an 11-0 run and scored 15 of the game’s first 18 points. They turned 11 first-half Southern turnovers into 20 points on the other end.

Johnathan Motley pumped in the first seven points and notched his seventh career double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds as the Bears improved to 9-0 for the first time in five years.

"Especially coming off finals, you never what to expect," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "You're always worried, is the team going to be focused, are they going to have their legs, are they going to come out and not be ready to go? We got out to a great start and got separation early, and then did a good job of maintaining that."

Any questions about being ready were answered in the first three minutes, with Jo Lual-Acuil providing the exclamation point on an 11-0 start with a dunk off an assist from Al Freeman.

"It's tough going through stretches where you don't have a game and you're taking tests and studying," Motley said. "So, we were very eager to get out here and handle business. I know I had fun just getting out there and playing again. I was looking forward to it all week, and I know my teammates were doing the same thing. I was just glad to get out there and play again."

While Shawn Prudhomme and Jared Sam scored 24 points apiece for Southern (4-6), Baylor's better-balanced attack featured five double-figure scorers. Ishmail Wainright and Al Freemaneach had 14 points and Lual-Acuil and King McClure chipped in 10 points apiece for the Bears.

Making his Baylor debut, 6-9 junior forward Nuni Omot hit two 3-pointers and scored eight points off the bench.

"You knew when he got out there that there would be some jitters, there would be some excitement," Drew said. "And now, we've got 18 minutes of film to help him get better and help him relax a little bit. . . . . He's another guy that's a good teammate, makes the right plays, not a selfish player, a fundamentally sound player, and somebody that can definitely provide something for the team."

After the Bears blew it open, taking a 25-point lead on a Motley three-point play, Southern answered with an 8-0 run and closed the gap to 43-26 on a jumper by Prudhomme. But Omot and Jake Lindsey canned 3-pointers in a closing 9-0 run that had it back out to 52-26 at the break.

Baylor did struggle at the start of the second half, scoring just nine points in the first 11 minutes and seeing its lead whittled to 19. But then McClure and Wainright drained 3-pointers, followed by a McClure dunk off an assist from Lindsey and another McClure jumper.

Lindsey and Manu Lecomte both had eight assists, with the Bears assisting on 22 of their 36 made field goals.

"One good thing about Manu is eight assists, one turnover, so he impacts the game in a different way," Drew said of Lecomte, who was just 2-of-7 from the floor and 1-of-6 from 3-point range. "We know the shooting isn't always going to be there. But we do know that the assist-to-turnover ratio needs to be there, and the defense needs to be there. And he gives us that."

Junior forward Terry Maston served a one-game discipline for showing up to the game late, but he should return for Saturday's 5 p.m. game at Fort Hood against Jackson State. The Bears play four games in eight days, hosting John Brown at 3:30 p.m. Sunday and Texas Southern at 6:30 p.m. next Wednesday, Dec. 21.

Football

Baylor freshman quarterback Zach Smith said on his Twitter account that he’s all in with his Baylor teammates after saying earlier Wednesday that he’ll wait until after the Cactus Bowl game against Boise State to decide whether to return next season. Story by John Werner of WacoTrib.

In Baylor football’s first media availability since the Dec. 4 bowl announcement, Smith was asked if he’s considering transferring after this season. He said he wants to meet new Baylor coach Matt Rhule’s yet to be named offensive coordinator before making a decision.

“I’m just not sure,” Smith said. “It just depends on what kind of offensive coordinator he brings in. I’m not going to make a 100 percent decision right now. I’ll wait until after the bowl game. Obviously I wouldn’t really want to transfer.”

But after the press conference, Smith tweeted, “Answer didn’t quite come out like I wanted to. Not good at pressers, I’m 100% in with my brothers. I’m ready to get to work!”

While Rhule is getting his new staff together and focusing on recruiting the 2017 class, Baylor interim coach Jim Grobe is coaching in the Cactus Bowl in Phoenix. He said none of the members of his coaching staff have left and plan to coach in the bowl game.

After taking off for finals last week, the Bears returned for practice Monday. The Bears (6-6) ended the season with six straight losses, but played some of their best football in the last two months in a 24-21 loss to West Virginia in the Dec. 3 regular season finale in Morgantown.

“We had a good practice yesterday, it was good to get back,” Grobe said. “They had a lot of energy, and I think the coaches were as excited as the players were to be back at it.”

Grobe also said the break has allowed his team to get healthier. He said there’s even a chance to get wide receiver/running back Blake Lynch back after he broke his finger against Texas Tech on Nov. 25.

“We’ve got to get to where we can see if he can catch a football,” Grobe said. “But they’re going to try to figure out a way to get that fixed.”

Grobe said he’s talked to Rhule, but he wants to make sure the Bears are ready for a strong Boise State team that comes into the Cactus Bowl with a 10-2 record. Grobe believes Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades made the right decision to allow his staff to coach in the bowl game while Rhule’s staff recruits.

“It would have been tough for another staff to come in and change terminology, change schemes,” Grobe said. “I don’t think that would have been the best thing for the players.”

Boise State plays a physical style of football much like Kansas State which pulled off a 42-21 win over Baylor on Nov. 19 at McLane Stadium. Jeremy McNichols has rushed for 1,663 yards and 23 touchdowns while Brett Rypien has passed for 3,341 yards and 23 scores with just six interceptions.

“I don’t think there’s any question our guys want to play in the bowl game, but our biggest issue is Boise State is really good,” Grobe said. “They’re the most physical team we’ve played this year. They’re probably one of the more dangerous teams running the football although I think their quarterback is athletic and throws the ball really well.”

The players were encouraged by their effort against West Virginia and hope it carries over to the bowl game.

“We played really well but unfortunately we weren’t able to get the win,” said Baylor nickelback Travon Blanchard. “We played good defensively and we’ll have a good game plan going in against Boise State. We have to stop the run and explosive plays and get off the field on third down. In the past few games we haven’t been able to force takeaways, so that’s really important to get the ball back to our offense.”

  • Stay current with Baylor Sports by reading all John Werner’s stories.
  • Cedar Hill High School head coach Joey McGuire has been hired to Baylor’s new football staff, Matt Rhule announced Wednesday. His title and responsibilities will be specified at a later date. From Baylor Bears dot com.

McGuire is the sixth hire finalized on Rhule’s new staff, joining Francis Brown, Evan Cooper, Sean Padden, Mike Siravo and David Wetzel.

McGuire won three state championships in 14 seasons as head coach at CHHS in Cedar Hill, Texas, including back-to-back titles in 2013 and 2014. He took Cedar Hill to 12 straight playoff appearances, a program that hadn’t won a playoff game prior to his tenure.

Cedar Hill finished 11-3 in 2016, losing to DeSoto in the Class 6A DII state quarterfinals.

In 14 seasons at the helm of Cedar Hill, McGuire’s teams amassed a 141-42 record, won three state championships (2006, 2013, 2014) and made four title appearances (runner-up in 2012), won nine bi-district championships and seven district championships.

McGuire was named the 2013 Texas coach of the year by MaxPreps, Dallas Morning News SportsDayHS and Chevy Silverado after leading Cedar Hill to the Class 5A state title. He earned Class 5A coach of the year honors in 2013 by the TSWA, Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, NFF Dallas Club and the Padilla Poll, as well as in 2014 by Padilla Poll.

A two-time district coach of the year honoree (2005 and 2006), he has coached in all but two Under Armour All-American games and was a head coach of the 2013 Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl. He served as head coach for the north in the 2014 THSCA All-Star Football game.

McGuire was promoted to head coach at Cedar Hill prior to the 2003 season and took over a program that had gone eight years without a winning season. From 1997 to 2002 he served as an assistant at CHHS.

Prior to CHHS, McGuire began his coaching career at his alma mater, Crowley (Texas) High School, where he spent two seasons (1995 and 1996) as an assistant. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in 1995 from the University of Texas at Arlington.

McGuire and his wife Debbie have two children, daughter Raegan and son Garret. Garret was a quarterback at Cedar Hill from 2013 to 2016.