Baylor women’s basketball earned a No. 2 national ranking in the final release of the Associated Press Top 25 poll Monday afternoon.
It is the highest final ranking for the Lady Bears since earning the No. 1 spot in 2012 and 2013. Baylor has been included in the Top 5 nationally for eight-straight seasons and 10 times overall, all under the direction of 18th-year head coach Kim Mulkey.
The Lady Bears, who tallied 743 points in the poll second only to top-ranked UConn’s 800, have compiled a 31-1 record on the season, its lone loss coming on the road to then-ranked No. 8/7 UCLA without 2018 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and 2018 Big 12 Coach of the Year Mulkey present. Baylor swept the Big 12 regular season, registering an 18-0 record for the third time in program history and the fifth time in league history. The Lady Bear program is the only one to record a perfect regular season more than once in conference history.
Baylor continued its dominance against conference opponents winning three games in three days to claim the 2018 Big 12 Championship crown. The team registered a +27.7 scoring margin and +18.7 rebounding margin in the three-game stretch, averaging 84.7 points and 45.7 rebounds per contest.
Junior All-American Kalani Brown was named 2018 Most Outstanding Player after posting an average of 24.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per game, while shooting .744 from the floor. Sophomore Lauren Cox and freshman Alexis Morris joined Brown on the 2018 Big 12 All-Championship Team. Cox averaged 14.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per game, while Morris averaged 14.3 points, 4.0 assists and 3.7 rebounds per contest in the tournament.
Baylor cleaned up on conference awards, earning three major nods from the Big 12 coaches. Brown was unanimously named Big 12 Player of the Year, Mulkey was named Big 12 Coach of the Year for the sixth time and Cox earned Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors. Brown and senior Kristy Wallace were unanimous All-Big 12 first team selections, Cox earned first team accolades and senior Dekeiya Cohen received honorable mention accolades. The Big 12 All-Defensive Team included Cox and Wallace, while Morris was named to the Big 12 All-Freshman Team.
Cox Brown are being considered for national position awards, including the Katrina McClain Award (top power forward) and Lisa Leslie Award (top center), respectively. Brown has secured three All-America awards so far this season (Sports Illustrated All-American first team, espnW All-America second team, USA Today Sports Women’s Basketball All-America second team), is a finalist for the John R. Wooden Award, a semifinalist for the Citizen Naismith Trophy Women’s College Player of the Year award and a midseason watch list selection for the Wade Trophy.
Baylor, who earned the confernence’s automatic bid with a Big 12 Championship victory over No. 8/7 Texas, will learn its NCAA Tournament seed on tonight’s NCAA Women’s Basketball Selection Show, which begins on ESPN at 6 p.m. (CT). Fans and media are welcome to join the Lady Bears’ watch party, beginning at 5:30 p.m. inside the Stone Room at the Ferrell Center.