An unprecedented era of Big 12 dominance for the Baylor Lady Bears basketball program continued this year with another regular-season championship.
When the Lady Bears defeated Texas Tech 86-48 Feb. 25 at the Ferrell Center, they secured the program’s seventh consecutive regular-season conference title and extended a streak that began in 2011—when this year’s seniors Nina Davis, Alexis Jones, Alexis Prince and Khadijah Cave were barely old enough to drive. It was the program’s eighth Big 12 regular-season title.
The 2016-17 Lady Bears began Big 12 play in impressive fashion, winning their first 12 conference games. However, they would have to overcome adversity to reach the top. A Feb. 6 home loss to Texas sparked a highly anticipated rematch in Austin two weeks later. There, the Lady Bears trailed the Longhorns by 11 points at halftime before surging in the game’s final minutes to a 70-67 win, setting up the opportunity to clinch the title at home against Texas Tech.
The Big 12 title-clinching victory over Texas Tech was also the 500th win of head coach Kim Mulkey’s career. She was honored with gifts from the university and friends as well as video messages from past players and coaches during a special presentation. She credited the players on this year’s team, which scored the most points (1,533) in conference games in Big 12 history, for displaying a blend of talent and toughness to take the already-decorated program to new heights.
“It’s because of these kids,” Mulkey said. “They understand when they come here, this program is about championships and maintaining a level of excellence that’s elite. It’s never easy. I know people think it is, but it’s not. There’s an expectation level that some kids can’t handle. These players come in here and buy into a system, and it’s all about what they do.”
After wrapping up the regular season, the Lady Bears reached the finals in the Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championship in Oklahoma City in early March with the anticipation of a high seed in the NCAA Tournament.