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Daily Bears Report 1/12/17 - Q&A With Coach Matt Rhule

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Texas Monthly Q&A with Coach Matt Rhule. Lady Bears had to flex their muscle a little in win over TCU. Tennis picked Big XII 4th.

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

Baylor Lady Bears Tennis

  • Baylor women's tennis is predicted to finish fourth in conference standings, according to the Big 12 Women's Tennis Preseason Poll released Wednesday afternoon. From Baylor Bears dot com.

Oklahoma State (81) was picked to defend its conference title, followed by Texas Tech (70) and Texas (63).

The Bears, which tied for second with a 6-3 record in the Big 12 regular season last year, have six letterwinners returning, including seventh-ranked singles player Blair Shankle. She compiled a 10-2 record this fall, playing her way to singles titles at the Bush's $50,000 Waco Showdown Wildcard and the ITA Texas Regional Championship Presented by Oracle. The senior has earned All-Big 12 recognition in both singles and doubles two years in a row. Shankle and her new doubles teammate sophomore Elizabeth Profit were rated No. 15 nationally in the preseason following a successful fall campaign in which they compiled a 7-2 record and claimed the ITA Texas Regional Championship Presented by Oracle.

Shankle provides valuable postseason experience for the duo, earning an invitation to compete in the 2016 NCAA Doubles Championship with then-partner Kiah Generette and advancing to the second round.Baylor head coach Joey Scrivano expanded his roster with three newcomers, one joining the team in the fall and two jumping in in January. After a strong 6-2 start in the fall, freshman Jessica Hinojosa was rated as the No. 117 singles player nationally.

Beverley, United Kingdom, native Jazzi Plews and Kiev, Ukraine, native Angelina Shakhraichuk joined the Bears in January as freshmen and will be eligible to compete right away.Baylor begins the regular season this weekend at the National Collegiate Tennis Classic hosted at the Sunrise Country Club from Jan. 13-16, in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Senior Rhiann Newborn, sophomore Karina Traxler and Shakhraichuk will compete in the singles bracket, and Newborn and Shakhraichuk will pair up for doubles action.

Baylor Lady Bears Basketball

  • The Baylor women were not going to beat every team in the Big 12 by 30 or more points this season, even if that’s what they did for the first four games of league play. Just wasn’t going to happen. Story by WacoTrib’s Tony Adame from Bears Extra.

So when a team plays them a little closer, like Baylor’s 77-54 win over TCU on Wednesday night, there’s a lot of different reasons why it’s not a good idea to nitpick on the particulars of how they won.

The main one being that they still won by 23 points.

“I thought it was a pretty good team we just played,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “I thought they battled, I thought they were physical and I thought they made sure we didn’t dominate the boards with that packed-in zone so the bigs couldn’t move and we had to take perimeter shots.

“And we still won by 23. I’ll take that any day.”

Even on a night when they split with TCU on the boards and hit just 21.7 percent from outside the 3-point arc, the second-ranked Baylor Lady Bears still coasted to a 23-point victory. Story by Jerry Hill of the Baylor Bear Foundation from Baylor Bears dot com.

The Lady Bears came in as the No. 1 rebounding team in the nation, grabbing right at 27 more boards per game than their opponents. But, the smaller TCU team actually outrebounded them for most of the night before Baylor got a few late ones to knot it, 48-48.

"They've outrebounded multiple teams by like 30," TCU coach Raegan Pebley said. "Sure, that shows growth. . . . Baylor's going to be a really tough team for anybody in conference to beat, but you throw the ball up for a reason. And you've got to believe."

Alexis Jones took advantage of TCU's packed-in zone early, knocking down three 3-pointers to give the Lady Bears a 13-6 lead. But, she finished just 3-of-13 from outside the arc and 5-of-20 overall. "They were giving us the outside shots," said Jones, who finished with 14 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and a steal. "Today, I shot very badly. You have bad games. I've just got to get back in the gym."

Football

  • Everyone has the same question. Why did one of the most talented young coaches in college football want to lead a Baylor program that has been rocked by a sexual assault scandal? From Texas Monthly dot com.

Matt Rhule, a 41-year-old pastor’s kid, says he felt called to Baylor. At the time he made the move, it was been widely reported that Rhule turned down an offer to Oregon to come to Waco.

Rhule grew up in New York City. His family moved to State College, Pennsylvania, and Rhule attended Penn State University, where he became a walk-on linebacker. His coaching stops included the University of Buffalo, Western Carolina, and the New York Giants before he became head coach at Temple University in late 2012.

When Rhule arrived in Waco late last year, he immediately started to rebuild a 2017 recruiting class that had been decimated after the firing of head coach Art Briles.

  • Former Baylor defensive coordinator Phil Bennett will take over the same position at Arizona State, head coach Todd Graham announced Wednesday. From BearsExtra.

Bennett, 62, became Baylor’s defensive coordinator in 2011 under Art Briles and helped guide the Bears to Big 12 championships in 2013-14. He led Baylor’s defense for six years including the 2016 season under Jim Grobe.

“Phil Bennett is a 39-year coaching veteran who brings a wealth of defensive knowledge to our staff,” Graham said. “With that amount of experience in conferences such as the SEC, the Big 12, the Big Ten and the Big East he has had to game plan to defend every offense imaginable. He has been associated with successful defenses everywhere he’s been. We are very fortunate to have him bring his level of experience to the Sun Devil program.”