Lady Bears win Big 12, reach No. 1March 15, 2011
Lady Bears win Big 12, reach No. 1
The Baylor women's basketball team was preparing for another run at history in early March as this issue went to press.
Head coach Kim Mulkey's Lady Bears clinched the second Big 12 Conference regular season title in program history on March 2 and entered the conference tournament with a 28-2 record (15-1 in Big 12 play). Baylor led the Big 12 in 12 categories, including scoring offense and scoring defense, thanks in large part to all-America candidates Brittney Griner and Melissa Jones and National Freshman of the Year candidate Odyssey Sims.
In addition to the conference title, the regular season was highlighted by a seven-week stretch in which the Lady Bears ranked No. 1 in the nation in both the Associated Press Top 25 and ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. It marked the first time any BU team had ever held the top spot in the AP poll and the longest stretch at No. 1 in any poll for a Baylor team since men's tennis topped the ITA rankings for 16 straight weeks in 2005.
The Lady Bears' previous high in the AP poll was No. 2, which they reached for one week in January 2005. (Baylor went on to win the national championship that year, but the AP does not release a final poll after the tournament.) Baylor football has ranked as high as No. 3 in the AP poll, reaching that spot for two straight weeks in 1953. Men's basketball attained their program high this past December when they made it to No. 9 in the country.
The Lady Bears entered the postseason ranked No. 3 in the nation and were expected to be one of four national No. 1 seeds when the NCAA tournament bracket was released March 14.