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Nov. 09, 2015
Nov. 09, 2015

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Nov. 9, 2015

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  • FOR THREE DECADES THE ROYALS WANDERED IN THE BASEBALL DESERT, LOSING MORE GAMES THAN ANY OTHER CLUB. THE DROUGHT IS OVER, THE RESULT OF A NEW MODEL FOR HOW THE GAME IS PLAYED, THOUGH ONE THAT IS NOT EASILY REPLICATED

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This is an article from the Nov. 9, 2015 issue

The Lady Bears are going to be big. How big? Coach Kim Mulkey says it's the tallest roster she's had in her 16 years in Waco, and she coached 6'8" Brittney Griner for four seasons. Even with all of that size, though, Baylor's two best players are on the shorter side. Senior 5'8" point guard Niya Johnson led the nation in assists (8.9 per game), while 5'11" junior forward and Big 12 player of the year Nina Davis is the country's best undersized post scorer. She led the conference in scoring (21.1 points) and double doubles (12). "You sit on the bench and think, How did she just hit that shot?" says Mulkey. "I know it doesn't always look pretty, but it goes in."

The infusion of height comes largely from the highly touted freshman class, which includes the top-rated center, 6'7" Kalani Brown; 6'4" Beatrice Mompremier; and 6'3" Justis Szczepanski. The Lady Bears' last two seasons have ended in the Elite Eight (both times with losses to Notre Dame), but Mulkey believes they now have Final Four talent. While she usually shortens her rotation during conference play and the NCAA tournament, Mulkey has visions of going nine deep this year. "If we end up with that kind of rotation," she says, "we are probably going to be pretty darn good."

TEAM STATS

SCORING OFFENSE 79.5 (7th)

SCORING DEFENSE 59.0 (59th)

BIG 12 RECORD 16--2 (1st)

X-FACTOR

As a Duke sophomore in 2013--14, 5'9" Alexis Jones averaged 13.1 points and 5.3 assists before tearing her left ACL in February. Now fully recovered, the junior will see time at both guard spots and on the wing.

LINEUP

With 2014--15 stats

Coach Kim Mulkey (16th season)

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

PPG RPG APG FG% FT%
PG Niya Johnson 5'8" Sr. 7.3 5.0 8.9 41.7 79.6
SG Kristy Wallace 5'11" Soph. 8.1 2.6 2.3 40.8 65.7
SG Alexis Prince 6'1" Jr. 8.6 4.1 1.7 42.0 63.6
F Nina Davis 5'11" Jr. 21.1 8.3 1.6 58.4 69.6
F Kristina Higgins 6'5" Sr. 3.3 3.3 0.5 50.5 42.1
C Beatrice Mompremier* 6'4" Fr. 25.5 15.2 2.6 63.2 69.9

*High school stats

TOURNAMENT TRACKER

[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]

NCAA CHAMPS

TITLE GAME

FINAL FOUR

ELITE EIGHT

SWEET 16

ROUND OF 32

ROUND OF 64

'11--12

'12--13

'13--14

'14--15

'15--16

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