WACO — After a 76-44 win over Oklahoma State in Baylor's regular-season home finale, the Lady Bears have a chance to go undefeated in conference play for the second-straight year and for the fourth time in school history. The Big 12 has seen an undefeated regular season five times with Oklahoma going 16-0 in 2006 and Nebraska 16-0 in 2010. Baylor has accomplished the other three feats with 18-0 marks in 2012, 2013 and 2018.
BROWN ACHIEVES 2,000 CAREER POINTS & 1,000 CAREER REBOUNDS MILESTONES IN SAME GAME
Senior Kalani Brown entered Feb. 20's game with Kansas at 11 points shy of 2,000 career points and two rebounds short of 1,000. Brown grabbed No. 1,000 on a missed KU free throw in the first quarter and scored seven points in the fourth quarter to reach exactly 11 for the game and 2,000 for her career – she added 14 at ISU to bring her total to 2,014. Her rebound total is up to 1,019 after grabbing seven at ISU.
Brown became the seventh player to reach 2,000 points, and the seventh player to reach 1,000 rebounds in BU history, but is just the sixth to reach both milestones joining a distinguished class that includes Suzie Snider-Eppers, Brittney Griner, Sophia Young, Nina Davis and Maggie Davis-Stinnett. Against Texas Brown moved to sixth all-time on the career points list (2,047) and fifth all-time on the rebounds list (1,044).
BAYLOR LOOKS TO IMPROVE ON THREE IMPRESSIVE WIN STREAKS MONDAY
A Baylor win vs. West Virginia State Monday would mark the 41st-straight win over a Big 12 opponent in the regular season for the Lady Bears. The only streak longer in Big 12 history was when the Lady Bears won 44-straight from 2011-14. Baylor will also gun for its 35th-straight win vs. a Big 12 opponent on the road and will also look to extend the nation's longest active overall win streak at 20 games.
LADY BEARS ARE NO. 1 FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 2013, BUT BAYLOR HASN'T GONE ANYWHERE
Much was made when Baylor returned as No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25 Jan. 28. However, Baylor has ranked in the top 10 in the AP poll for 90 consecutive weeks with high-rankings of two with the lowest being 13 since the 2013-14 season prior to regaining the top spot. Those 90-straight weeks mark the third-longest active streak in the nation next to UConn and Notre Dame. In fact, Baylor holds the second-longest active streak of ranking in the AP Top 25 at 297 weeks.
COX & BROWN EACH NAMED FINALISTS FOR NATIONAL POSITION AWARDS; SEMIFINALIST FOR NATIONAL DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Feb. 14 Lauren Cox was named a finalist for the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame's Katrina McClain Award, honoring the nation's top power forward for the second-straight year, while Brown was named a finalist for the Lisa Leslie Award, honoring the nation's top center for the second-consecutive season Feb. 15.
In addition, both players were named semifinalist for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award, and the post duo is still up for consideration for the Wade Trophy and the John Wooden Award.
MULKEY NAMED TO NAISMITH WOMEN'S COACH OF THE YEAR LATE-SEASON WATCH LIST
Wednesday the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced the late-season candidates for the 2019 Werner Ladder Naismith Women's Coach of the Year Award, and Baylor's Kim Mulkey was named as one of the 15 coaches for consideration.
Entering into Saturday's home regular-season finale with Oklahoma State, Mulkey has a career record of 565-99, good for an .851 winning percentage.
This season, the Lady Bears are 7-1 vs. the AP Top 25, including a win over No. 1 UConn Jan. 3 in Waco. She's guided Baylor to a 26-1 overall record, and at 16-0 in the Big 12, the Lady Bears are threatening to run the table in the regular season for the fourth time in history. Baylor's win at Iowa State Feb. 23 clinched the Lady Bears' 10th overall regular-season Big 12 title and ninth straight.
WEST VIRGINIA IN SHORT
If Iowa State beats Kansas Monday at 6:30 p.m., the Cyclones will ensure a second-place finish in the Big 12. However, if the Jayhawks pull off the upset, West Virginia could tie for second if the Mountaineers were to pull off an upset of Baylor. Prior to beating Kansas Saturday, WVU had dropped two-straight Big 12 games to Oklahoma and at Kansas State to keep them just behind pace of Iowa State for second place in the standings. West Virginia's Tynice Martin is averaging 18.2 points per contest entering into Monday's game while Naomi Davenport averages 14.9. Mike Carey is in his 18th season as head coach of the Mountaineers and has 679 career wins as a college coach.
INTERIOR DEFENSE DOMINANT
While some may look at the fact that Baylor has surrendered 210 3-point field goals this season (most by a Big 12 school) as a negative, take into account that only 600 of 1,518 points given up by Baylor this season have come on two-point field goals. That' s just 300 two-pointers in 28 games, which averages 10.7 2-point field goals per game or 21.4 points per game given up inside the 3-point arc this season.
DEFENSE BEGINS WITH DIDI
DiDi Richards, a sophomore guard/forward is consistently asked to guard the top perimeter player on Baylor's opposing team. For example, she held Katie Lou Samuelson of UConn to 12 points on 4-of-16 shooting Jan. 3, and she held OSU's Vivian Gray to a dozen on 5-of-16 from the floor Jan. 30. Both those players rank in the top 50 nationally in points per game. Richards' numbers aren't flashy, but respectable, she's averaging 1.3 steals per game for the year and 1.5 in Big 12 play, but she's anchoring the defensive unit that is leading the nation for the third-straight year in field goal percentage defense.
BALANCED EFFORT LEADING BAYLOR IN 2018-19
Despite having the No. 1 team in the country and in the Big 12, Baylor has taken home just one weekly Big 12 Player of the Week and Freshman of the Week award. Juicy Landrum and NaLyssa Smith earned those honors, respectively, sharing with another Big 12 player in each case. This result is partly due to the offensive balance that the Lady Bears have shown all season. Four players average in double figures for Baylor led by All-Americans Kalani Brown (15.7 ppg) and Lauren Cox's (12.1 ppg). The duo's numbers are down from a season ago, mostly due to the fact that freshmen posts Smith (8.5 ppg) and Queen Egbo (5.7 ppg) are able to spell the starters off the bench with offensive production. And, also
guards Chloe Jackson and Juicy Landrum are each sharing the scoring load at 11.3 per contest each.
POUND THE PAINT, CLEAN THE GLASS, D-UP: LADY BEARS AMONG NATION'S BEST IN REBOUNDING, SCORING EFFICIENCY, DEFENSE
In 14 statistical categories, the Lady Bears rank in the top 10 nationally. But, the Lady Bears (thru games March 1) rank tops in the nation in defensive rebounds per game (33.0), rebound margin (+16.7) and field goal percentage defense (.308) while ranking fourth in field goal percentage (.502). Kalani Brown ranks sixth in the nation in field goal percentage at a .625 clip. In addition to the nation's best defensive field goal percentage, the Lady Bears rank tops in the nation in blocked shots per game (7.2), led by Lauren Cox's 2.52 per contest. Baylor's rebounding is a staple of the program, and the Lady Bears have out-rebounded its opponents in 27 of 28 games this season, Baylor won the rebounding battle in 34 of 35 contests last year, and in 96 of the last 100 contests, BU has had the upper hand on the boards.
LADY BEARS ON THE RUN
Baylor has 28 runs this season of at least 10 unanswered points including at least one in 12 of the first 17 Big 12 contests. In 19 of 28 games this season, the Lady Bears have had at least one such run, and Baylor has also put together five runs of 20 or more points. In addition, Baylor is dominating opponents in transition, out-scoring opponents 307-73 on the fast break this season.
SHARING IS CARING: BAYLOR LEADS NATION IN ASSISTS PER GAME
Baylor's 23.0 assists per contest ranks best in the nation while the Lady Bears rank third in assists-to-turnover ratio at 1.76:1. Chloe Jackson's5.8 assists per contest (ranks 14th nationally) and 2.56:1 assists-to-turnover ratio (ranks 21st nationally) lead Baylor. DiDi Richards is averaging 4.1 assists per contest while ranking 17th nationally in assists-to-turnover ratio at 2.79:1 and post Lauren Cox ranks 18th in that category at 2.69:1. Juicy Landrum also ranks fifth in the Big 12 in assists-to-turnover ratio while third on the team at 4.0 assists per contest. As a team Baylor's ball distribution has been the hallmark of the offense in 2018-19. In fact out of Baylor's 899 made field goals this season, the Lady Bears have assisted on 644 marking 71.6 percent of the team's buckets coming on an assist from a teammate.
50 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER: BAYLOR NEARLY UNBEATABLE WHEN HITTING HALF ITS SHOTS
In just one occurrence since Kim Mulkey's arrival at Baylor in the 2000-01 season have the Lady Bears lost a game when shooting 50 percent or better. Baylor's record under Mulkey when shooting 50 percent or better is 214-1, and the Lady Bears are 36-0 when shooting 60 percent or better. The lone loss came in the 2017 NCAA Tournament when Baylor fell to Mississippi State in the Elite 8, 94-85 on March 26 despite shooting 53.3 percent from the floor.
ABOUT BAYLOR'S HISTORIC WIN OVER NO. 1 UCONN
Two elite programs met in Waco Jan. 3, and for the first time in school history (previously 0-14) the Baylor Lady Bears knocked off a No. 1-ranked team with UConn falling 68-57 at a sold-out Ferrell Center on ESPN. Not only did Baylor win the game, the Lady Bears put an end to a long line of streaks set by the Huskies, who are the standard for women's basketball with 11 NCAA Championships. Baylor's victory ended a streak of 126 consecutive regular season games for the Huskies and a streak of 55 consecutive regular season road wins. UConn had won 209 straight games in regulation; it's last loss in regulation also came to No. 1 Baylor Dec. 18, 2011.
The Lady Bears' 11-point win was the largest margin of victory for a team vs. UConn since Feb. 27, 2012 when UConn fell to Notre Dame 72-59. In addition, Baylor's defense held UConn to just a 29.4 shooting percentage, its lowest in any game the past 20 seasons.
Baylor became the third Big 12 school to ever defeat a No. 1 team joining Texas Tech who accomplished the feat twice and Texas, and just the second time that a Big 12 team has beaten a No. 1 in a non-conference matchup.
BU's big win kept an overall home win streak at the Ferrell Center alive at 28 games while extending its non-conference home win streak to 47 games.
BROWN PICKS UP ESPNW NATIONAL HONOR AFTER LEADING BAYLOR TO WIN OVER NO. 1 UCONN
Kalani Brown didn't shy away from the spotlight when the lights came on Jan. 3 vs. No. 1 UConn. In front of a sold-out crowd at the Ferrell Center and nationally televised on ESPN, the senior post put up 22 points and a season-high 17 rebounds. She was 11-for-17 from the floor in 36 minutes of play. Her games that week also included performances vs. UTRGV and at Texas Tech, but ESPNW.com singled out her performance against the No. 1 Huskies and tabbed her National Player of the Week on Jan. 7.
BAYLOR SIGNS TOP-10 PROSPECT OLIVER AS LONE ADDITION TO 2019 SIGNING CLASS
A year after signing five players and accepting a graduate transfer, Jordyn Oliver gets all the Lady Bears' attention this season as the No. 10-ranked national prospect (Collegiate Girls Basketball Report) signed with Baylor. Oliver, a Prosper, Texas native is a 3-time TABC All-State selection, and was also ranked No. 11 by ESPN Hoopgurlz.
Jan. 24, Oliver was named a McDonald's All-American and will participate in the McDonald's All-American Games in March.