Lady Bears set for LSUNov. 12, 2004
By CATHERINE BROWN, sports editor
Coming off last year's historical season, the Lady Bears will face tough opponent in their season opener. They face No. 3 Louisiana State University at 12:30 p.m. Sunday in Austin at the Frank Erwin Center in game one of the State Farm Tip-off Classic.
"LSU is so talented," head Coach Kim Mulkey-Robertson said. "They have the best player in the country on their team, and they have the best point guard in the country. They've added a freshman class of recruits that rank very high. It's a tremendous challenge for us, and yet at the same time it's a great opportunity."
The Lady Bears return its top three scorers from last season, junior forward Sophia Young, senior post Steffanie Blackmon and sophomore forward Emily Niemann.
Blackmon said LSU's "offense runs through Seimone Augustus and Temeka Johnson, so those are going to be the anchors for them."
She also said the team is trying to make sure nobody else explodes out on them that night.
"They have role players on the team and just make sure don't let one get away from us," she said.
LSU head Coach Pokey Chatman said she thinks the match up is about each team finding its identity for this season.
"I think for the most part, it will be a chess match," she said. "I think early on, we'll both cater to our strengths and they're athletic, they're quick, they can shoot the three, they spread the floor. I don't think there will be any gimmes this early on in the season."
Chatman also has high praises for Mulkey.
"No one in the coaching profession is surprised at how fast Baylor has risen," Chatman said. "And that's Kim's personality in terms of getting players there, but on top of that her ability to get players to play for her in her system, trusting that system."
Blackmon said the team is very high energy this year.
"I think everybody is very focused and on a mission," she said. "I think that's good when you have your whole team on the same page."
Both Blackmon and Young said the Tennessee game from last year can be used as motivation for this season.
"We're going to use that as motivation to try to go out there and hopefully not let that even come down to a last call depending on somebody else for the outcome of the game," Blackmon said.
Young said she learned not only from the Tennessee game, but also the entire season.
"All through last year, I grew and became a better basketball player and developed stuff that I never had my freshman year," she said. "I try to use that [Tennessee] game as a motivation, but I also try to block it out of my head to not think about it a lot and to move on. Things happen in life, so you have to get up, bounce back and move on."
Young and Blackmon have also been named Naismith Trophy Preseason candidates.
"Sophia and Steffanie are both talented players, so we're very blessed to have them at Baylor, and they're very worthy of any recognition that comes their way," Mulkey said.