The Pounding Waves of Talent
To start the 2016/17 season, Baylor’s roster only had 13 players, yet the recurring praise from opposing coaches was about the waves of talent with which Baylor would drum opponents into complete submission.
Says Kansas Head Coach Brandon Schneider: "I think it's their depth. Their six through 12 (players) are as good as anybody else. I think you have to go to your bench and play so many different styles because of their personnel groupings.”
Says West Virginia Head Coach Mike Carey: “Give Baylor credit they just keep bringing players in, they have done a hell of a job recruiting. Give Baylor credit they're the real deal.”
Oklahoma State Head Coach Jim Lettell says: “No mystery, we can't throw the kind of talent level out there Baylor did and if that's the case, you better have a lot of fight in you.”
ISU Head Coach Bill Fennelly says: “You just walk in to a haymaker.”
Oklahoma Head Coach Sherri Coale says: “I just think you get hit with a punch, and when you're reeling a little bit, they've got another wave to send in and hit you with.”
The 2016/17 Baylor Lady Bears wrote NCAA history with the records set in a single game against Winthrop.
Says Winthrop Head Coach Kevin Cook after the 140-32 drubbing: “Well, what do you say after a game like that? Baylor has a phenomenal program. Kim (Mulkey) is an outstanding coach. She’s surrounded herself with an excellent staff. We’ve played some highly ranked teams this season, and by far Baylor is right at the top. You saw the game. You’ve seen the stats. They hurt us inside. They hurt us on the three-pointers. They’re awfully good.”
Now to start the 2017/2018 season that talent is condensed from 13 to 10 players.
NCAA Division I Basketball teams are allowed 15 scholarship players yet Baylor released two players just prior to the start of the 2016/17 season which reduced the roster to 13 players. McDonald’s All Star and IMG Academy player Justis Szczepanski-Beavers was dismissed from the team for violation of team rules. To start this season, Baylor has released three more players which further reduces the roster to 10 players.
Beatrice Mompremier has transferred to Miami. Alexandria Gulley is continuing her education at Baylor with a medical scholarship. Alyssa Dry has turned professional trainer this summer working with youths as a means to spread her faith.
Also not returning from last year’s squad were the four seniors who each completed their eligibility: Nina Davis, Khadijiah Cave, Alexis Jones and Alexis Prince. Four recruits have joined the team to replace them: Alexis Morris, Trinity Oliver, Didi Richards and Moon Ursin.
Baylor’s six returning players have all seen extensive playing time with the exception of LaVega High School standout “Juicy” Landrum, G, 5’9", So., who saw only 171 minutes over appearances in 30 games. We can look to “Juicy” this year to be one of Kristi Wallace’s understudies at point guard and a definite team leader in the coming years with her upbeat attitude.
Look for this season’s starting lineup to be: Dekeiya Cohen, F, 6’2", Sr.; Kristy Wallace, G, 5’11", Sr.; Kalani Brown, F, 6’7", Jr.; Lauren Cox, F, 6’4" So.; and, Natalie Chou, G, 6’1", So.
It might seem strange at first to see the Lady Bears without Nina Davis, and Kim Mulkey will be looking for a wing offense after the graduation of Alexis Jones and Alexis Prince. Inside strength, however, will not be a problem. Kalani Brown, who is 6-foot-7, looks like she is ready to be an All-American, and 6-foot-4 Lauren Cox could make a huge jump as a sophomore -- something that became a necessity with Wednesday's news that 6-foot-4 Beatrice Mompremier will transfer. Kristy Wallace gives Mulkey an experienced point guard, and Natalie Chou emerged as more of an outside shooting threat late in the season.
Aside from Baylor’s fast break, look to see all possessions going through Kalani Brown, Dekeiya Cohen and Lauren Cox, much like the Bears’ 2011/12 team that went a perfect 40-0, when all possessions went through Britney Griner’s touch on the ball.
With just 2 seniors and 1 junior, this will be a very young team, however, the four incoming freshmen are all like McDonald’s Allstars and champions in their league and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see them begin to compete for the starting jobs as the season goes along, which should prove to be both exciting and successful.
Two returning Lady Bears placed first and second with their respective national teams at the inaugural U24 Four Nations Tournament this summer. Junior Kalani Brown won the team title with the USA U23 Women’s National Team, helping the Red, White and Blue to a perfect 3-0 record, while senior Kristy Wallace led the Australian U23 Women’s National Team to a runner-up result (2-1). Kristy Wallace went on to win Gold with the Australians in the World University Games this summer.
The Returning Lady Bears
A 2014 import from Australia, Kristy Wallace won two Australian school national championships under coach Peter Foster, sported an undefeated record both seasons... 2013 MVP of Australian School Championships... Named 2013 Female Player of the Year for Basketball Australia and Basketball Queensland... Played on the 2014 Australian Opals Squad... Played in the 2013 FIBA Pacific Games as part of Australia's 19 & Under team where she earned tournament MVP honors and leading Australia to the championship...
An under the radar 2014 prospect, Dekeiya Cohen was an all-state basketball and volleyball standout at Charleston's (S.C.) West Ashley High School... Tore right ACL during her senior season of basketball, but still earned district Player of the Year honors... South Carolina Player of the Year as a junior.
Ranked as the No. 9 Prospect, Kalani Brown was part of Baylor’s 2015 No. 5 National Recruiting Class
Members of Baylor’s 2016 No. 4 National Recruiting Class
Ranked No. 40 overall in her class by ESPN HoopGurlz... Two-time Waco Tribune-Herald Super Centex Player of the Year honoree (2014, 2016)... Four-time all-state selection and all-star game pick...
Led the Lady Bears and ranked sixth in the Big 12 in three-point field goal percentage (.423)... Appeared in all 37 games, averaging 4.7 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game off the bench... Rated as the No. 8 prospect in her class and No. 2 at her position by ESPN Hoopgurlz, No. 12 by All Star Girls Report, and No. 24 overall and No. 4 at her position by Prospects Nation...
Big 12 Sixth Man Award recipient... Big 12 All-Freshman Team unanimous selection after earning four Big 12 Freshman of the Week honors... The nation's No. 1-ranked player overall and at her position by ESPN HoopGurlz and All Star Girls Report (ASGR)... Also rated No. 2 overall and No. 1 at her position by Prospects Nation...
The Baylor Lady Bears 2017 recruiting class is ranked No. 2 according to Prospects Nation.
“Didi” Richards, 6’1”, G
All-time leading scorer, male or female at Cypress Ranch High School with 2,251 career points... Ranked No. 4 at guard and No. 16 overall in her class according to ESPN Hoopgurlz... Three-time All-District first team honoree... 2017 TABC 6A Girls High School Player of the Year... 2017 TABC 6A All-State selection... 2017 6A-III All-Region... 2016-17 All-USA Named a Jordan Brand Classic and McDonald's All-American in 2017... 2017 All-USA Texas Girls Basketball second team selection... Averaged 18.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.9 steals per game as a senior... As a junior, averaged 22.4 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game... Five-star recruit.
Alexis Morris, 5’6”, G
Named to the 2015 USA Basketball Women's U16 National Team... Averaged 13.6 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game in five starts at guard... Helped USA Basketball compile a 4-1 record to secure the bronze medal at the 2015 FIBA Americas U16 Championship.
Jordan Brand Classic, Naismith Trophy and McDonald's All-American led Legacy Christian Academy to four consecutive district titles and a Class 3A State Championship in 2017... The five-star recruit is the No. 6-ranked guard and No. 18-ranked player overall in her class according to ESPN Hoopgurlz... As a senior, she averaged 31.1 points, 6.3 rbounds, 4.9 assists and 4.8 steals per game and ended her high school career with 3,369 points... Four-time Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools 3A Player of the Year... 2017 Gatorade Player of the Year (Texas)... As a junior, she averaged 25.6 points, 9.0 rebounds and 8.4 assists per game... That year alone, she notched four 40-point performances and nine 30-point games... Named to the All-USA Texas Girls Basketball first team in 2017 and second team in 2016.
Trinity Oliver, 5’11’’, G
Three-time TGCA All-State and two-time TABC Girls' All-State 6A selection... Twice named first team All-District... Selected District 7-6A Most Valuable Player and Fort Worth Star Telegram Player of the Year in 2016... 2014 6-5A Newcomer of the Year... 2015 District 7-6A Defensive Player of the Year... Averaged 22 points and 8.3 rebounds per game as a senior... As a junior, averaged 25.2 points, 10.8 rebounds, 4.2 steals and 1.3 blocks per game... Four-year starter tallied more than 2,300 career points in high school... Ranked No. 30 at guard in her class according to ESPN Hoopgurlz... Three-star recruit.
“Moon” Ursin, 5’7”, G
First player to ever secure three Gatorade Player of the Year awards (Louisiana)... Two-time Miss Basketball for Louisiana... Three-time District 7-5A MVP and Defensive Player of the Year... Three-time first team All-State first team selection and New Orleans Advocate Metro Team pick... All-USA Louisiana State Player of the Year and All-USA Girls Basketball third team selection in 2017... Led Destrehan High School to a Class 5A State Championship in 2017 with a 35-0 record in 2017... Averaged 27.6 points, 14.2 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 5.6 steals and 4.1 blocks per game as a senior... As a junior, averaged 25.0 points, 12.9 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 6.0 steals and 5.5 blocks per game... Four-star recruit was ranked No. 12 at guard and No. 64 overall in her class... Won three district championships, completing her high school career with 2,901 points and compiling a 121-8 record as a player... She recorded seven triple-doubles and one quadruple-double... Member of the Student Council, Beta, Rho Kappa and serves as a Wildcat Mentor... Earned Presidential List and Honor Roll recognition.
2018 Recruitment - The Nation’s No. 1 Recruiting Class
Twitter is going wild about Baylor Lady Bear Basketball - Our Daily Bears, Lady Bears Recruiting Class Crowned with Queen.
If you’ve been wondering why in the world Coach Kim Mulkey let her roster dwindle to 10? Now you know.
Baylor WBB Caps Fab 5 2018 Recruiting Class - Our Daily Bears, Mark Seymour, We’ve never seen anything like this.
Baylor’s Kim Mulkey has put together a recruiting class for the ages in 2018 with five top-30 players in the country, the last of which committed earlier this evening:
Baylor Lady Bears Land Two Elite Recruits - Our Daily Bears, Kendall Kaut, The Lady Bears have landed two of the country’s top recruits. For a program with two national championships, they’ve landed two great pieces to add another title.
First, the Lady Bears grabbed Aquira DeCosta. She’s a 6-foot-2 wing from California.
Dan Olson of ESPN has a great profile of her, including a look at one dominant performance: “DeCosta boasts the kind of game that holds up well on the world stage. This past summer she won a gold medal with USA Basketball and was named MVP of the FIBA 3x3 under-18 World Cup in China. Before that, she had won two bronze medals with USA Basketball, on the 2015 U16 national team and the 2016 U17 World Cup team.”
Second, Baylor secured the commitment of Honesty Scott-Grayson. She’s a point guard and ranked No. 18 on ESPN’s recruiting services. Scott-Grayson has also played on FIBA American teams.
Here’s what y’all been waiting for!!! pic.twitter.com/XOgeg2W9dc— ✨Honesty✨ (@The_Ma3stro) October 11, 2017
Lady Bears grab 5-star commit Caitlin Bickle for 2018 class | Lady Bears Basketball | wacotrib.com, Caitlin Bickle verbally committed to play basketball for Kim Mulkey and the Lady Bears Monday evening on Twitter.
Bickle, Cave Creek, Arizona, native, is the fourth-ranked wing in the country and five-star recruit by ESPN for the class of 2018.
Lady Bears nab key commit | Lady Bears Basketball | wacotrib.com, The Baylor Lady Bears picked up a big commitment on Friday, as Converse East Central’s NaLyssa Smith announced that she was headed to Waco.
Baylor Lady Bears get verbal commitment from No. 7 prospect NaLyssa Smith from San Antonio, NaLyssa Smith says she has wanted to go to Baylor since watching Brittney Griner.
Now the versatile forward from San Antonio has given a verbal commitment to the Lady Bears.
One of the most athletic forwards in any class, Smith can step out to the arc or drive to the basket. She's versatile enough to succeed everywhere on the court, but she's especially dangerous in the paint.
Sic ‘em Baylor alum
All four departing Baylor seniors have signed professional basketball contracts. We’ll miss you and wish you good luck.
Sic ‘em Lady Bears - A glimpse at Practice
Baylor Lady Bears Finalzie 2017-18 Non-Conferece Schedule - Story, The seven-time defending Big 12 regular season champion Baylor women's basketball program announced its nonconference schedule on Wednesday afternoon. The Lady bears will host eight home games inside the Ferrell Center, including two exhibition games and a marquee matchup against Kentucky for the annual Big 12/SEC Challenge.