How to Watch/Listen
Fans can watch this game online on Fox Sports Plus (watch here through Baylor premium) with John Morris (play-by-play) and Jim Haller (analyst) calling the action. Live audio is also available on the Baylor Sports Network (listen here free), IMG College and ESPN 1660 AM. Rick May (play-by-play) and Lori Fogelman (analyst) are on the call.
• Baylor leads Kansas State, 27-8, in the all-time series, including a 12-1 mark inside the Ferrell Center.
• Under head coach Kim Mulkey, the Lady Bears possess the edge, 25-4.
• Baylor is on a 23-game win streak against Kansas State and have not lost to the Wildcats since Jan. 27, 2004, 85-65, in Manhattan, Kan.
BIG 12 OPENERS...
• Since the 1982-83 season, the Lady Bears are 18-16 in conference openers.
• Baylor is 11-9 in conference-opening games all-time since joining the Big 12 Conference.
• Under head coach Kim Mulkey, Baylor has compiled an 11-5 record in Big 12 openers.
No. 3/4 Baylor (11-1, 0-0 Big 12) improved its winning streak to nine with the largest win in NCAA Division I history, 140-32, on Dec. 15 over Winthrop. This was the fifth time this season the Lady Bears scored 100 or more points. Alexis Jones, who is Baylor’s leading scorer didn’t even play in that game. • On the sideline, Baylor is led by 17th-year head coach Kim Mulkey. In her time with the Lady Bears, Mulkey has led the program to a 484-93 (.839) record. She has led Baylor to six straight Big 12 regular season titles, 15 NCAA Tournament appearances and a pair of NCAA titles (2005 and 2012). • Baylor leads the Big 12 in 14 categories, including scoring offense (95.2 ppg), scoring margin (+45.5), field goal percentage (.513), rebounding margin (+26.2) and assists (24.7 apg). • On the floor, the Lady Bears feature five players in double figures including reigning Big 12 Newcomer of the Year Alexis Jones and sophomore Kalani Brown. • Jones leads Baylor in points (16.6 ppg) and assists (5.3 apg). She ranks fifth in the Big 12 in scoring and third in assists. • Brown, a sophomore post from Slidell, Louisiana, paces the Lady Bears with 8.7 rebounds per game and is second in scoring (13.5 ppg) and blocks (1.9 bpg).
K-State made a one week appearance in the Associated Press top-25 before dropping its final non-conference game of 2016 with a 67-59 loss at Northern Iowa on Dec. 22. • Over the last four games, K-State is averaging 59.8 points per game and allowing 58.3 and have been outrebounded in three of the last four games. In the previous eight games to open the season, the Wildcats were averaging 71.4 points and allowing 50.6 and had the edge on the glass in all eight games. • The Wildcats had three players in double figures at Northern Iowa led by junior guard Karyla Middlebrook with a K-State career-best of 19 points. She also added six assists and three rebounds to her final line. • In her last three games, Middlebrook is averaging 12.7 points on a .458 field goal percentage and a .737 free throw percentage. She is also dishing out 4.0 assists per game during the last three games. • Joining Middlebrook’s scoring effort was senior guard Kindred Wesemann with 11 points. Wesemann has charted double figures in 11 games this season and is averaging 14.1 points per game. Wesemann needs 10 points to become the 40th player in program history with 1,000 or more career points. • Also in double figures was senior center and All-America candidate Breanna Lewis with 10 points and nine rebounds.
K-State Number to Know 9• #KStateWBB owns a 9-11 record in Big 12 openers.• The Wildcats have lost four straight Big 12 openers with the last win coming on Jan. 4, 2012 against (9) Texas A&M in Manhattan.• K-State has faced a foe ranked among the AP top-25 in 10 Big 12 openers (4-6).• Of the previous 20 league openers, K-State is 3-7 in road league openers with the last road win coming on Jan. 9, 2008 at (13) Texas A&M.• Head coach Jeff Mittie is 0-2 in Big 12 openers during his time with the Wildcats.
Magic Number is 70 Points for Wildcats• Since the 2001-02 season, K-State is 168-17 (.908) when scoring 70 or more points in a game including a 25-5 record in the last three seasons.• The Wildcats scored 75 or more points 10 times in the 2015-16 season, the most since the 2005-06 season (10).• Kansas State opened the season with 80 or more points scored in the first two games for the first time since the start of the 2007-08 season.K-State Strong in the Lane• Kansas State has opened the 2016-17 season with a 376-196 advantage in points in the paint. The 376 points (31.3 ppg) are 46.4 percent of the Wildcats’ overall point total this season.• The Wildcats recorded a 60-12 advantage in the lane against Tulsa on Nov. 14. The 60 points in the paint are the most by a K-State team since at least the 2006-07 season.• K-State has scored 30 or more points in the paint in seven of the first 12 games this season and have had the edge in the lane in 11 games.• In the previous two seasons under head coach Jeff Mittie, K-State has ended both seasons with the edge in the paint and have scored 900 or more points in the lane in both seasons.
Middlebrook Not Middle of the Road• Karyla Middlebrook went through an adjustment period with her new teammates but has picked up her performances over the last three games. • In her last three games, Middlebrook is averaging 12.7 points on a .458 field goal percentage. She is also dishing out 4.0 assists per game. Overall this season, Middlebrook is averaging 6.7 points and handing out 3.5 assists. She has led K-State in assists seven times.• At Northern Iowa, the product of Blue Springs, Missouri, tallied a personal K-State high of 19 points and dished out six assists.• For the season, Middlebrook is averaging 6.7 points, 2.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists. She ranks 10th in the Big 12 in assists.
Famous OBF Quote
“Looks like another opportunity for Coach Kim Mulkey to continue her tinkering in chemistry experiments.”
Game Preview by Baylor Bear Foundation’s Jerry Hill
After playing just one game in the last 22 days, the third-ranked Baylor Lady Bears (11-1) could be a little rusty for Thursday's Big 12 opener against Kansas State (10-2).
Head coach Kim Mulkey gave the players 12 days off after a 140-32 win over Winthrop that set a record for the most lopsided margin in NCAA history.
"I love giving them some time off (for Christmas)," Mulkey said. "But at the same time, I don't know that 12 days is an ideal amount. It's just kind of the way it happened this year. . . . You know you're going to look rusty and you're not going to be in sync. But, the schedule we played in non-conference, I think, has prepared us for conference. We wanted to go on the road, we wanted to play at neutral sites. I think we accomplished a lot in those games."
The Lady Bears beat four ranked opponents and have won nine in a row since a 72-61 loss at four-time defending national champion Connecticut.
When the players returned from the break, "some of them had lost weight, but I wasn't totally disappointed," Mulkey said.
"When you have as much depth as we do, it's kind of next man up," she said. "That's the way I'll approach these first couple weeks of conference. If you're doing OK while you're out there, just stay out there. If not, I'll give somebody an opportunity until you get your legs back under you and you get back in the shape you need to be. . . . The tell-tale sign will be in the next week when their legs start getting heavy on them. We'll just have to fight through it."
Baylor has five players averaging double figures, led by 5-9 senior guard Alexis Jones with 16.6 points, 5.3 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game. Sophomore post Kalani Brown, who's averaging 13.5 points and a team-high 8.7 rebounds, made her first start of the season against Winthrop and posted her third double-double with 17 points and 12 boards.
Nina Davis (11.8 ppg), Alexis Prince (11.5 ppg) and Beatrice Mompremier (10.1 ppg, 8.1 rebounds) round out the double-figure scorers, while 6-4 freshman Lauren Cox has chipped in with 8.4 points, 4.2 and 1.3 blocks per game.
Jones will be back for the K-State game after sitting out the last two to rest her surgically repaired knees.
"That was the plan all along," Mulkey said. "It's certainly not an injury or anything. It was just getting her to buy into it. The more rest your knees get, the healthier they stay."
Eleven of the 13 players have averaged double-digit minutes in non-conference play, but the rotation could get shorter with the start of league play.
"The games will certainly dictate it - the feel for the game and seeing if there's a place for that many players to play," Mulkey said. "If the game dictates, it will happen. If it doesn't, you're playing to win, and I can't tell you how many will play."
K-State won its first nine games and cracked the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time in almost five years at No. 24. But, the Wildcats have dropped two of their last three, falling at home to UConn (75-58) and on the road at Northern Iowa (67-59).
They have size inside with 6-5 senior center Breanna Lewis (14.1 ppg, 9.1 rebounds) and 6-3 freshman forward Peyton Williams, while 5-7 senior guard Kindred Wesemann averages 14.1 points and is 10 points shy of 1,000 career points.
"You're going to see a 3-2 zone and you're going to see a team that doesn't take bad shots," Mulkey said. "You'll see a team that uses up the shot clock. They've pressed a little in the past, like a 2-2-1; not that they're trying to steal it but shorten the game. We've seen everything in non-conference games that we'll see against them - zones and a disciplined team."
As the six-time defending conference champion and preseason favorites to win the league, Baylor has a big target on its back. The Lady Bears will play three games in the next day, hosting Kansas (6-5) at 2 p.m. Sunday and then facing No. 12 West Virginia (12-0) next Wednesday in Morgantown.
"The target won't be any bigger this year than it was last year and in the previous years," Mulkey said. "When you develop a level of tradition and consistency, that comes with it."