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Daily Bears Report 3/5/2017

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WBB @ Big XII Tourney, MBB @ Texas. Softball and Baseball off to excellent starts.

NCAA Basketball: West Virginia at Baylor Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s Events

Baylor Track & Field: Reflections On Winning the Big 12 Indoor Team Title

Baylor’s Todd Harbour was named the Big 12 Indoor Women’s Track and Field Coach of the Year on Thursday, while BU freshman sprinter Max Willis won the league’s Freshman of the Year honor.

Tennis

Complete Results vs Incarnate Word | Complete Results vs Old Dominion

The No. 13 Baylor women's tennis team added to its resume with back-to-back matches on Thursday, March 2, at Hurd Tennis Center. From Baylor Bears dot com.

After notching a 6-1 victory against Incarnate Word (3-8) in the morning, the Lady Bears (9-2) recorded a 4-0 triumph over Old Dominion (6-4) in the nightcap for the sweep.

The No. 13 Lady Bears host No. 21 UCLA today. First serve is set for 1 p.m. (CT) at Hurd Tennis Center in Waco, Texas.

"UCLA is a really tough team and a great program, every time we play them it's really tough. It's going to be a battle, but it's a great opportunity. That's what this is about, getting out of your comfort zone and playing teams that are ranked high. Our players are up for the challenge and it's going to be a great match on Saturday." -- Head coach Joey Scrivano. "Our girls are willing to put in the work every day, and it's amazing when you put in the work on a daily basis you improve a lot. That's what's happening with our team. I am really proud of them."

Golf

  • Baylor women’s golf is at Hilton Head Island, S.C., playng in the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate at Long Cove Club. From Baylor Bears dot com.

The three-day, 54-hole tournament runs Friday through Sunday on the par-71, 6,218-yard course.

The 17-team field includes 10 teams ranked among the nation’s top 20 in the latest GolfStat rankings. No. 19 Baylor is joined by No. 5 Alabama, No. 6 Furman, No. 8 Georgia, No. 10 Arizona State, No. 11 Wake Forest, No. 12 Arkansas, No. 14 South Carolina, No. 16 Oklahoma State, No. 18 Duke, No. 32 Tennessee, No. 40 Auburn, LSU, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and Virginia.

The Lady Bears’ lineup features sophomore Maria Vesga, junior Amy Lee, redshirt sophomore Dylan Kim, freshman Fiona Liddell and senior Maggie Beth Byers.

BU players are paired with golfers from Mississippi State and individuals from Virginia, South Carolina and North Carolina, and those pairings will begin Friday’s first round from the 10th tee at 7:30 a.m. CT. Byers has the first tee time at 7:30 a.m., and she’ll be followed in 10-minute intervals by Liddell, Kim, Lee and Vesga, respectively.

  • Baylor women’s golf is in fifth place after shooting 7-over-par 291 in Friday’s first round at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate at Long Cove Club. BU recovered from a slow start sitting at 7-over through five holes to shoot even-par over the final 13 holes. From Baylor Bears dot com.

All four teams in front of No. 19 Baylor (+7) are ranked higher in the latest GolfStat rankings. BU trails No. 5 Alabama (-2), No. 18 Duke (+2), No. 10 Arizona State (+4) and No. 14 South Carolina (+5). The Lady Bears lead No. 8 Georgia (+8), No. 32 Tennessee (+9), Vanderbilt (+10), No. 34 North Carolina (+12), No. 16 Oklahoma State (+12), No. 11 Wake Forest (+12), LSU (+12), No. 6 Furman (+13), No. 40 Auburn (+15), No. 12 Arkansas (+18), Mississippi State (+22) and Virginia (+36).

BU is led by Amy Lee, who recovered from being 3-over through four holes to finish the day at even-par 71, good for a tie for ninth place. She made eagle on the 520-yard, par-5 15th hole, becoming the only golfer in the 90-player field to make an eagle in the first round.

Dylan Kim and Maggie Beth Byers are tied for 21st place after both shot 2-over 73, with Byers making birdies on three of her final five holes. Maria Vesga is tied for 36th place at 3-over 74, and Fiona Liddell is tied for 76th at 9-over 80.

Saturday’s second round begins at 7:30 a.m. CT with tee times from both the first and 10th holes. Baylor players are paired with golfers from South Carolina and Georgia and will begin on the first tee. Liddell is up first at 8:20 a.m., and she’ll be followed in 10-minute intervals by Vesga, Byers, Kim and Lee, respectively. Live scoring is available at www.GolfStat.com. Follow @BaylorWGolf for updates throughout the season.

Extra Curricular Activities

Softball

With an eight-game winning streak, Coach Glenn Moore said he feels "the best I've felt this year" about his 22nd-ranked Baylor softball team. Story by Baylor Bear Foundation’s Jerry Hill from Baylor Bears dot com.

Those feelings will be tested over the next six days, when the Lady Bears (14-3) play six ranked teams in nine games. They open against 20th-ranked Arizona State (13-4) at noon CDT Friday in the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif., where they will also get No. 14 Michigan (10-5-1), No. 7 UCLA (14-3), eighth-ranked Washington (11-2) and Cal State Fullerton (8-9).

"We don't have to be in postseason form right now, but we've got to be headed in that direction," Moore said. "I don't think we'll face too many teams that are in postseason form, either, so this will be a great measuring stick for us and we'll be better at the end of it, regardless of the outcome."

Through the first three weeks of the season, the Lady Bears are hitting .337 with eight homers and 42 stolen bases. Even the power numbers are starting to come around, with junior first baseman Shelby Friudenberg getting her swing back and hitting three homers in one day at the Baylor Invitational.

"Getting that first home run out of the way at the start of the year is really nice," said Friudenberg, who is hitting .340 with a team-best three homers and 14 RBI. "I was kind of waiting on it, like, `Where is it at?' But, it finally happened, so I think we're ready to go."

Moore says he had hoped to "have a few more answers before we head out to this tournament, but I think we're in a good place mentally and we're seeing good things from our pitching staff, which is going to control the games, basically."

Continue Reading . . .

Baylor softball (16-3) took a clean sweep of the opening day of competition in the Judi Garman Classic, taking down Arizona State (13-5), 4-2, and No. 14 Michigan (10-6-1), 4-0, on Friday afternoon at the Titan Softball Complex.

“We had two great, all-around performances today. Neither starting pitcher allowed a run, and our offense was big with 20 hits and eight runs. We played like an elite team today.” – Baylor head coach Glenn Moore.

Baseball

Baylor's actually the only unranked team in a World Series-worthy field that includes top-ranked TCU, No. 4 LSU, No. 10 Texas Tech, No. 11 Ole Miss and No. 15 Texas A&M. Between them, the six teams are a combined 47-5.

"It's like I explained to them, if you're expecting to get to Omaha, this is exactly what you're going to see," Baylor coach Steve Rodriguez said, referring to the host site for the College World Series. "What a great opportunity. . . . You're playing against a bunch of SEC schools who have great traditions of winning and getting to Omaha. So, if you want to challenge yourself, what a great way to do it."

"It's something special to take (batting practice) at a professional baseball field and to line up against . . . some of the best teams in the nation and tee it up against them," said Baylor senior DH Matt Menard, who is hitting .333.

Junior shortstop Tucker Cascadden, who's hitting .269 with five doubles and 10 RBI, said "the biggest thing for us is to play our game."

"Not worry about what they're doing, worry about what we're doing," Cascadden said. "We've got a chip on our shoulder, we're hungry. And these guys (Ole Miss, LSU and A&M) probably think they're going to come out and they're going to win. And that whole bus over there thinks differently. I think we've got just as good a chance to win as they do."

Continue Reading . . .

  • Baylor baseball posted a 4-0 shutout of No. 9 Ole Miss to begin the 2017 Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic on Friday afternoon at Minute Maid Park. From Baylor Bears dot com.

The Bears (10-0) used timely hitting and outstanding pitching to upset the Rebels (7-2).

Continue Reading . . .

"I'm so proud of the effort [Nick Lewis] has given. The effort he and Coach [Jon] Strauss put together in the offseason and this season has been really awesome. It's taken us a while to learn who these kids are and their strengths. You come in as a new staff and try to coach, we are learning who they are and they are learning who we are, and now that we have a little bit of time underneath us we're really gelling very well." -- Head Coach Steve Rodriguez.

Baylor continues the 2017 Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic at Minute Maid Park with games Saturday at 3:35 p.m. CT vs. No. 3 LSU and Sunday at 5:05 p.m. vs. No. 11 Texas A&M.

Lady Bears Basketball

The No. 2 Baylor Lady Bears open postseason play today at the 2017 Phillips 66 Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championships, which will be played inside Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla.

The No. 1 seed in the tournament, Baylor will meet the winner of No. 8 Texas Tech and No. 9 TCU in the quarterfinal at 1:30 p.m. (CT).

Today’s 1:30 p.m. quarterfinal game will be broadcast live on FSN with Ron Thulin (play-by-play) and Brenda VanLengen (analyst) calling the action. Live audio is also available on the Baylor Sports Network, IMG College and 92.9 FM in Waco, Texas. Rick May (play-by-play) and Lori Fogleman (analyst) will call the action.

With a quarterfinal win, Baylor would advance to play in the 1:30 p.m. (CT) semifinal game on Sunday, March 5. The Lady Bears would face the winner of the No. 4 Kansas State and No. 5 Iowa State quarterfinal. Two victories would earn Baylor its seventh consecutive appearance in the title game.

Men’s Basketball

No. 11 Baylor looks for its 25th win of the season at Texas at 3 p.m. CT Saturday on ESPN. BU needs one win to reach the 25-win mark for the 5th time in program history (1946, 2010, 2012, 2014). A win would tie BU’s most regular season wins in program history (25-6 in 2010), tie its most Big 12 wins in program history (12-6 in 2012) and potentially tie its best Big 12 finish (t-2nd in 2010). With a win, BU would be the No. 3 seed in the 2017 Big 12 Championship, tying its best seed (2010). Saturday is the 250th series meeting – the most-played rivalry in Baylor history dating back to 1905-06.

The Bears next play in the 2017 Big 12 Championship quarterfinals on Thursday in Kansas City. If BU wins in Austin, it will face the winner of Saturday’s Texas Tech at Kansas State game at 8 p.m. CT on ESPNU. If BU loses at Texas, the Bears will face Oklahoma State at 11:30 a.m. CT on ESPN2.

Baylor is a heavy favorite in this one. The Bears won the first matchup 74-64. Johnathan Motley had 32 points and 20 rebounds.

Baylor’s work on the glass overwhelmed a poor shooting day by Bears not named Johnathan Motley. Baylor only shot 4-of-17 from 3-point range against Texas, but the Bears nabbed 17 offensive rebounds. That number was a key factor in Baylor averaging 1.06 points per possession against Texas. The Longhorns have a pretty solid defense. They rank 25th on KenPom, and opponents normally score just .948 points per possession.

But the Longhorns rank 230th in defensive rebounding percentage. The Bears rank 3rd nationally in offensive rebounding percentage and have actually been better the last several weeks- ranking 1st in Big 12 play with an offensive rebound on 41.3% of possessions. The Bears should be able to control the glass once again.

Continue Reading . . .

  • Baylor men’s basketball head coach Scott Drew is one of 10 semifinalists for the 2017 Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year, as announced Friday by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. From Baylor Bears dot com.

This marks the second time in the last three seasons Drew has been recognized as a semifinalist for the honor, as he was one of 15 semifinalists in 2015.

Drew has guided a team that didn’t receive a single vote in either national preseason poll to a 24-6 record and its first-ever No. 1 ranking. The Bears have notched four top-10 wins with victories over No. 4 Oregon, No. 7 Xavier, No. 10 Louisville and No. 10 West Virginia, and they are 6-3 against top-25 opponents on the season.

Drew had the Bears ranked in the AP top 10 for a school record-tying 13 consecutive weeks. BU’s climb from unranked in the preseason to No. 1 nine weeks later was the fastest in AP Top 25 history.

BU started the season 15-0, including a tournament title at the Battle 4 Atlantis. The Bears overcame halftime deficits in all three games at Atlantis, and they capped the tournament with a comeback from 20 points down in the second half to defeat No. 10 Louisville in the title game. Baylor is now 8-2 on the season when facing a halftime deficit.

Continue Reading . . .

Equestrian

No. 1 Baylor equestrian (10-4, 3-1 Big 12) fell to No. 4 Auburn (7-3, 2-2 SEC), 9-9, on Friday in Waco. The meet was Baylor’s last regular season meet and Senior Day for the Bears. From Baylor Bears dot com.

The meet was Baylor’s final regular season competition, with the Big 12 Championship (March 24-25) being hosted by Baylor at the Willis Family Equestrian Center, leading into the NCEA National Championship (April 12-15), also hosted by Baylor, at the Extraco Events Center in Waco.

Volleyball

USA Volleyball is holding its annual tryouts for the U.S. Women’s National Team, taking place March 3-5 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. From Baylor Bears dot com.

For the second-consecutive season, Shelly Fanning will represent Baylor on the national stage.

Fanning took a medical redshirt in her sophomore season, with a spot on one of the US Women’s National Teams offering a chance for the outside hitter to train with some of the nation’s best student-athletes.

244 athletes from 81 colleges and 10 high schools are participating in the Open Tryouts, which will place both members of the U.S. Women's National Team and the U.S. Collegiate National teams. Selected athletes will be notified in mid- March and USA Volleyball will announce the selections at the end of March.

Three-time Olympic gold medalist and U.S. Olympic Hall of Famer Karch Kiraly and the U.S. Women’s National Team staff will lead the tryout process.

News Clippings

New Mansfield Tiger safety offered by Baylor | The Star-Telegram, Jones transferred to Mansfield after earning first-team 5-6A honors at Euless Trinity in 2016.

No. 22 Baylor softball riding 8-game win streak heading into prestigious tourney - WacoTrib.com: Baylor Softball, Riding an eight-game winning streak, the Baylor softball team will play in its most prestigious tournament of the year in the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif.

This time around, Baylor is 'just another team' for a more wizened Kramer Robertson | LSU | theadvocate.com, HOUSTON — At one point, playing a game against a team in green from Waco, Texas, might’ve given LSU senior shortstop Kramer Robertson some added juice.

'Blueprint' RB from Florida gets Baylor offer, Baylor joins growing list of suitors for '19 prep star out of Fort Lauderdale.

Baylor men ready to face Texas in regular season finale - WacoTrib.com: Baylor Men's Basketball, When Baylor played Texas at the Ferrell Center, Johnathan Motley delivered the game of his life with a career-high 32 points and 20 rebounds in a 74-64 win.

Plenty still on the line for No. 11 Baylor, Texas (Mar 04, 2017) | FOX Sports, There will still be plenty on the line for No. 11 Baylor and reeling Texas when the two teams square off to end the regular season on Saturday afternoon at

Baylor baseball faces challenge with 3 ranked foes at Houston Classic - WacoTrib.com: Baylor Baseball, Each weekend thus far of the college baseball season, Baylor has seen an increase in the level of competition.

RebelGrove.com - Baylor starter baffles Rebels in shutout loss to Bears, Nick Lewis set a career high with seven strikeouts against South Alabama last Friday. That new standard didn’t even last a full week. The Baylor right-hander struck out nine Ole Miss hitters during a frustrating opener for the Rebels in the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic at Minute Maid Park. The Bears blanked the No. 11 Rebels, 4-0, behind Lewis’ effort of mixing in enough fastballs around 90 MPH and a lot of changeups through seven innings.

Rebel Bats Silenced By No. 17 Baylor - HottyToddy.com, Facing their fourth unbeaten team of the year, Ole Miss suffered its first loss against a ranked opponent this season (6-1).

Baylor baseball crushes 1st test against ranked opponent, 4-0 - WacoTrib.com: Baylor Baseball, HOUSTON – If Baylor’s baseball team needed a win over a ranked team to legitimize its undefeated record, it’s no longer a problem.

College baseball: Baylor opens Shriner's Classic with upset over No. 11 Ole Miss | NCAA.com, Behind a career-best performance from senior right-hander Nick Lewis, Baylor downed D1Baseball.com's No. 11-ranked team in the nation. The Bears extended its winning streak to 10 games, remaining one of six undefeated teams in the country.

No. 11 Ole Miss gets upstart Baylor in first game of 'mini Omaha', Ole Miss and Baylor start the Shriners College Classic at noon Friday.

Baylor Preview: Seniors have 'no regrets' despite rough season, Texas hosts its season finale Saturday against No. 11 Baylor.