Winning WaysMarch 23, 2010
Head coach Scott Drew's men began the postseason with the possibility of capping off the best season in program history. At press time, the Bears had already tied the school record for wins in a season (25) and had their sights set on adding to that total as they entered the NCAA Tournament.
Baylor's No. 3 seed in the South Region was the highest NCAA Tournament seed in program history. Since the NCAA began seeding the tournament in 1979, the Bears have been a No. 8 seed (1988) and a No. 11 seed (2008).
The 2009-10 season was certainly one for shattered records. In addition to the school wins record, Baylor also matched the school's high for conference wins in a season after going 11-5 to tie for second place in the Big 12 Conference, tying the program's best league finish since the 1940s. The men entered the NCAA tournament ranked 19th in the Associated Press poll, extending a program-record streak to 10 straight weeks in the AP Top 25. Last but not least, the Bears have now made three straight postseason appearances for the first time in program history.
Juniors Ekpe Udoh and LaceDarius Dunn each made the coaches' All-Big 12 Second Team, while senior Tweety Carter was a third team selection, giving the Bears three all-conference players (first, second or third team) for the first time ever. After setting Baylor and Big 12 records for blocks in a season, Udoh was also named Big 12 Newcomer of the Year--the first Bear so honored in the Big 12 era. Also worth noting: senior Josh Lomers became the first Bear to earn three straight Academic All-Big 12 first-team honors.
The headlines for Kim Mulkey's 2009-10 Lady Bears centered on freshman sensation Brittney Griner. The No. 1 high school prospect in the nation a year ago, Griner did not disappoint in her first season at Baylor, helping lead the Lady Bears to their seventh straight NCAA tournament selection and ninth in 10 years.
Despite returning just one starter from last year's Sweet 16 team, the Lady Bears entered the tournament at 23-9 and ranked 14th, earning a No. 4 seed in the Memphis region. Mulkey's squads have won 20-plus games in each of her 10 seasons at Baylor and made the NCAA tournament every year but 2003, when the Lady Bears advanced to the WNIT finals.
Griner averaged 18.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 6.1 blocks per game en route to five Big 12 Conference honors, including Freshman of the Year and Co-Defensive Player of the Year. The 6-8 freshman recorded the program's first-ever triple double in December, then repeated the feat in back-to-back conference games two months later. She also became just the seventh female ever to dunk in a regular-season NCAA contest, totaling four on the year; in the NCAA women's game, only former Tennessee star Candace Parker has ever recorded more dunks in her career. As the end of her freshman season approached, she had already set new Baylor and Big 12 records for blocks in a season and ranked second on the NCAA Division I single-season list.