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Daily Bears Report 9\28

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This time nationally, Katie Staiger and Travon Blanchard continue capturing Player of the Week honors.

NCAA Football: Oklahoma State at Baylor Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s Event

Volleyball, vs. Texas Tech, 7:00 p.m. CT

Come on down to the Ferrell Center and watch something special.

Athletics Update

Volleyball

Baylor volleyball’s redshirt junior outside hitter Katie Staiger was picked as the Sports Imports/American Volleyball Coaches Association Player of the Week. Full story at Baylor Bears dot com.

Staiger becomes just the second AVCA national player of the week selection in program history, the first since Tatiana Kenon earned the honor on Nov. 1, 1999.

The Plano, Texas native has maintained one of the nation’s highest offensive productions, currently sitting at second in total kills and third in kills/set, leading the Big 12 by wide margins in both categories.

Baylor volleyball (13-4, 1-0) hosts the Texas Tech Red Raiders (10-7, 0-2) tonight at 7 p.m. at the Ferrell Center. Baylor Bears dot com has more.

BU is coming off a strong opening weekend to conference competition, downing No. 23 Kansas State in a sweep on Sunday afternoon.

Baylor extended its Big 12-leading consecutive wins to nine, with a chance to push the mark to 10 with a win over the Red Raiders, which would be the first double-digit streak for the program since 2009.

Bryce Cherry of the WacoTrib says that Volleyball is still sailing smoothly despite injuries. BearsExtra has the full story.

The Bears are playing some high-level volleyball heading into their second Big 12 match on Wednesday against Texas Tech. Yet they’ve been able to float to that rarefied air despite several injuries to starters, the latest a season-ending knee injury suffered by freshman middle hitter Jaelyn Jackson.

Jackson became the third middle hitter to head to the trainer’s room this season, following senior Tola Itiola and sophomore Shelly Fanning.

“They’re tough,” McGuyre said. “It just means that God is doing some great things with this team. I’ve said it before, there’s something special with them. The plans I had are not being put in place, because all those injured players I expected to be out on the court. So as a result, we’re really benefiting from qualities that these girls have that I didn’t even foresee early on.”

McGuyre has learned that he – much like an industrious deli chef – has a bunch of grinders on his hands. They buckle down, they keep fighting, they dig out balls even when circumstances haven’t gone their way.

“I think that’s nothing but God’s hand on our team, honestly,” junior hitter Camryn Freiberg said. “It’s been really hard on our team, but I think even if we continue to have injuries, we trust the girls on the bench to come in and do just as good of a job.”

Baylor Hall of Fame

Aundre Branch to be inducted into the Baylor Athletics Hall of Fame next month. Baylor Bear Foundation’s Jerry Hill brings us this story.

Looking around the NBA, other than Golden State’s Steph Curry, Aundre Branch sees a serious dearth of pure shooters.

“What I did in college, if I was coming out now, oh my god,” Branch said. “Even when I was 38, I’m playing with Sam Cassell and Moochie Norris and all these big-time players. And they’re like, ‘Man, you’re supposed to be in the league. I know some people that you shoot way better than them, and they’re making millions.’ You hear that, and it crushes you.”

Branch, who turns 43 later this month, got nothing more than a token tryout with the Houston Rockets for his one shot at the NBA. But, the former Baylor standout played five years of pro basketball overseas and another eight years with the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters.

“I got the chance to play basketball till I was 38 years old, so that was a blessing,” said Branch, part of the 2016 Baylor Athletics Hall of Fame class that will be inducted next month. “I remember my first overseas trip, this lady walked up to me and said, ‘Globetrotters, I love y’all.’ She didn’t care who I was, what my name was, she just knew what I represented. I was like, ‘Wait a minute, this is something big here.’’’

Known as “Hot Shot” during his Globetrotter days, Branch was actually recruited as a point guard out of Kingwood High School.

“I liked to pass,” he said. “I could shoot in high school, I could score whenever I wanted to, but I liked Magic Johnson and Isaiah Thomas. I grew up watching those guys. . . . The no-look passes, that was my thing. I used to love doing that.”

Football

Baylor football junior NB Travon Blanchard was chosen as the FWAA/Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week, the Football Writers Association of America announced Tuesday. From Baylor Bears dot com.

Blanchard had 11 tackles (8 solo), including a career-high 4.5 TFLs in Baylor’s victory over Oklahoma State. He also had one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, one PBU and one QB hurry.

The Orange, Texas, product’s biggest play in the game came with OSU driving with under 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter and Baylor leading 28-24. The junior was able to punch the ball loose from OSU RB Justice Hill at the BU 2-yard line as the Cowboys were on the verge of taking the lead. Blanchard then pounced on the ball at the BU 1-yard line for a forced fumble and recovery. Hill was originally ruled down, but replay overturned that call to give the Bears the ball at their own 1-yard line. After Blanchard’s recovery, the BU offense sealed the game with a 99-yard TD drive.

Blanchard will now be added to the Bronko Nagurski Watch List. The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce five finalists for the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which is given National Defensive Player of the Year, on Nov. 17. The winner will be chosen from those five finalists who are part of the 2016 FWAA All-America Team.

Slo Mo Highlights of Baylor vs. Oklahoma State

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Mack Rhodes on Title IX

Baylor University Athletics Director Mack Rhoades said Monday the university’s efforts to implement Title IX are “absolutely” moving in the right direction. WacoTrib has the full story.

“I can only control (what has happened) since I’ve been here. There’s expectation on how we’re going to behave, how we’re going to act, in terms of being a member of this family. We’ll hold people accountable for that.”

“There’s some things you can anticipate and some things you can’t,” Rhoades said. “So the ones you can anticipate, we have to make sure we do a great job of handling them. The ones you can’t, and happen unexpectedly, you’ve got to deal with them genuinely and head-on and understand that’s just part of the process. For me, personally, I’m not going to jump on this roller-coaster ride of going up and down, up and down. We’re going to deal with each one as they happen.”

“I think we’ve got to do a great job of educating our coaches, our staff, our student-athletes, as to how you deal with it,” Rhoades said. “How you respond if it does happen, the obligation to respond and to respond immediately, all of those things. But I think the biggest thing — not so much as I’ve learned here, but I just think anywhere I’ve been — is that everybody has to understand that.”

“It can’t be 50 percent of your athletic department,” Rhoades said. “Everybody. Everybody in this athletic department, I don’t care who you are, has a responsibility to Title IX and making sure we do what we can, and everything we can to prevent it. But then, in the really, really unfortunate circumstances that it does happen, that we handle it appropriately.”