Lady Bears at No. 4 in USA TODAY Coaches Poll - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Lady Bears at No. 4 in USA TODAY Coaches Poll

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WACO, TX (KXXV) -

The Baylor women’s basketball team is ranked fourth and received two first place votes in the USA TODAY Sports Preseason Coaches Poll, released Thursday.

Four-time defending national champion Connecticut was listed as the favorite with 18 first place votes, followed by Notre Dame (8) and South Carolina (3). The Lady Bears are the top-rated team in the Big 12 Conference at No. 4, followed by Texas, who received one first place vote and tied for No. 6 with Ohio State. Oklahoma and West Virginia check in at No. 18 and No. 25, respectively.

Entering her 17th season, head coach Kim Mulkey’s Baylor squad returns 10 letterwinners, including four starters, senior Nina Davis, redshirt senior Alexis Jones, junior Kristy Wallace and sophomore Beatrice Mompremier, from last year’s 36-2 team that reached the Elite Eight for the third consecutive year. The Lady Bears also played their way to their sixth consecutive Big 12 Conference title.

Davis, a two-time All-American, and Jones, an honorable mention All-American, lead Baylor. Davis, the 2017 Preseason All-Big 12 Player of the Year, averaged 16.3 points per game and 6.1 rebounds per game last year, while Jones averaged 15 points per game and 4.2 rebounds per game. The duo recorded 40 percent of the team’s total offense last season.

Davis and Jones were both named to the Preseason All-Big 12 Team, while sophomore Kalani Brown earned Preseason Honorable Mention All-Big 12 recognition. In 38 games played last season, Brown averaged 9.3 points and 4.3 rebounds off the bench.

The Lady Bears add the top-ranked recruiting class to its roster for the season in No. 1 Lauren Cox, No. 8 Natalie Chou and No. 40 Calveion Landrum. Cox, the 2016 WBCA High School Player of the Year, was recently named 2017 Preseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year.

Following exhibition games against Emporia State on Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. (CT) and Langston on Nov. 7 at 7 p.m., Baylor opens the regular season against Houston Baptist on Nov. 11 at 3:30 p.m.

USA TODAY Sports Preseason Coaches Poll (Oct. 7)

Rank      Team (First Place Votes) – Points; 2015-16 Record
1. Connecticut (18) – 755; 38-0
2. Notre Dame (8) – 739; 33-2
3. South Carolina (3) – 712; 33-2
4. Baylor (2) – 709; 36-2
5. Maryland – 603; 31-4
T6. Texas (1) – 594; 31-5
T6. Ohio State – 594; 26-8
8. Louisville – 586; 26-8
9. UCLA – 481; 26-9
10. Stanford – 467; 27-8
11. Mississippi State – 446; 28-8
12. Florida State – 431; 25-8
13. Syracuse – 394; 30-8
14. Tennessee – 360; 22-14
15. Washington – 352; 26-11
16. Arizona State – 321; 26-7
17. Oregon State – 255; 32-5
18. Oklahoma – 235; 22-11
19. Kentucky – 227; 25-8
20. Miami (FL) – 179; 24-9
21. DePaul – 173; 27-9
22. Michigan State – 167; 25-9
23. Texas A&M – 123; 22-10
24. Florida – 101; 22-9
25. West Virginia – 76; 25-10

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